Natural Supplements - New warnings are emerging about the use of Saint Johnís Wort,
the natural supplement that is now widely used in Canada to
alleviate mild depression. Although most experts agree that
Saint Johnís Wort is safe when taken on its own, some are
warning of its potential to interact with several drugs.
Research dating back to 1998 warned that Saint Johnís
Wort could interfere with a variety of medications, and last
spring, further evidence for such interactions was presented
at the Annual Congress for Clinical Pharmacology in Berlin.
This research indicated that Saint John's Wort interferes with
the heart drug digoxin and the blood-thinning drug warfarin
(Coumadin). Since even slight changes in the activity of
these two drugs could have serious health consequences,
potential interactions with Saint John's Wort are particularly
Other research indicates that Saint John's Wort can
interfere with the protease inhibitors used for treatment of
HIV infection, cyclosporine, and oral contraceptives.
"I recommend that individuals taking any medication
critical to their health should avoid using Saint John's Wort
except on physician advice," says Steven Bratman, M.D.,
Medical Director for The Natural Pharmacist, an
informational website. "This new information reminds us
that 'safe natural products' are not always entirely safe.
Harmful drug interactions are probably the most likely area
for problems to develop."
The doctor offers sage advice. If youíre taking Saint Johnís Wort along with other medications, itís best to
ask your own doctor for their advice on possible