Do you ever feel like you’re in a funk? Like, not strong enough to warrant a depression diagnosis, but enough to feel like you have to work to feel normal?
Since I quit drinking alcohol I’ve had my ups and downs. But see, I’ve always felt a bit low. Even before I picked up my first drink.
I compare myself to my husband. He’s always upbeat and never seems to have issues with his temperament. I, on the other hand, am always doing stuff to lift my mood.
Mood-lifting Activities That Help
For example, I journal daily and exercise as much as possible. I notice on gray days I feel a bit worse, so I intentionally go outside more on sunny days to soak in the light. I’ll also smile a lot even when I don’t want to, and try to speak in a more pleasant, upbeat tone. I laugh a lot just because, turn on music loud and sing in the car or shower, find little ways to be silly and goofy… things like that.
These things do help and because I do things happy people do, I consider myself a happy enough girl. At least outwardly. BUT I’ve always felt in the back of my mind that something was off. I don’t think happiness should be so much work.
I want to smile because I’m happy… not be happy because I’ve been smiling.
All About St. John’s Wort
I’ve gone to counseling a few times, and it never really helps. I’ve taken all the quizzes and tests they’ve given and never met criteria for any mood disorders. So, for many years I just accepted my fate. At least I COULD make myself feel okay. Some people weren’t as lucky.
Things changed when I quit drinking, though. I realized I had to work even harder because I couldn’t numb-out of boredom or anger or sadness the way I used to. I needed a little help. So, I took to my dear friend, Google, and stumbled upon St. John’s Wort.
While researching St. John’s Wort experiences and reviews, I found bits and pieces of scattered information. I never really found a single, in-depth explanation that answered all my questions. So, I’m writing this post as a super-detailed St. John’s Wort review to help others who might be as curious about it as I was. The plan is to continuously update as I gain more experience with it. So, if you have any questions, leave a comment! I’ll answer in the post and maybe more people can be helped.
*Nothing in this post is to be taken as medical advice. This is just my personal experience with St. John’s Wort. Please consult your medical professional to evaluate it’s appropriateness for your unique situation.
What Is St. John’s Wort?
According to WebMD, St. John’s Wort is a plant that mostly grows in the eastern parts of the world and is used to treat low mood and related issues. St. John’s Wort is commonly taken by mouth by pill or extract, or oil is applied to the skin.
What Does St. John’s Wort Do?
Extensive research has been conducted on St. John’s Wort, and it is widely accepted that it is at least mildly effective for depression.
According to WebMD, “taking St. John’s wort extracts by mouth improves mood and decreases nervousness and tiredness related to depression. It seems to be about as effective as many prescription drugs”.
While this is exciting news, there is a huge caveat due to St. John’s Wort interacting with so many other drugs (including contraception). It’s not advised to take St. John’s Wort without consulting with your doctor (ever), or at all if you are taking any prescription drugs.
How To Use St. John’s Wort
The only way I’ve ever taken St. John’s Wort is in pill form. Though oils and extracts appeal to me, I read that using it on skin is risky because it causes issues with photosensitivity. No thanks.
That said, I started by following the instructions on the bottle, which said to take 1 pill 3 times daily. Over time I did adjust this down a bit, which I’ll explain in detail in the next section, my official St. John’s Wort review.
St. John’s Wort Review
So, I started taking St. John’s Wort in mid-July of 2018. I went to my local CVS and purchased a bottle of Nature’s Bounty St. John’s Wort 300mg Standardized Extract. Eager to get results, I took one as soon as I got home. I didn’t want to wait at ALL!
How I Take St. John’s Wort
Each pill is 300mg. On the back of the bottle it says to take one pill three times a day. It also says the capsules can be opened and used as a tea. This is appealing because I love tea (who doesn’t like tea?), but I’m also a lazy girl and like the convenience of popping the pills.
The capsules are pretty average size. They’re not horse pills or anything… easy to swallow with water.
How Does St. John’s Wort Make You Feel?
Since starting St. John’s Wort, I feel like things have done a complete 180.
I don’t want to sound like I’m over-hyping things, but I really feel good. My mood isn’t flat or low anymore ever, but it’s not like “omg I’m so overly happy for no reason” either. It’s like how I imagine people who feel “normal” feel. I just feel nice every day.
There are so many areas things feel better, I’m going to list them here with a brief explanation of each one:
- Mood elevation: Pretty much happy all the time with zero additional effort
- Appetite control: Completely stopped emotional eating and snacking. Able to stick to my intermittent fasting plan much easier. Zero food and sugar cravings.
- Increased focus: Able to find motivation to do my work and really zone in on even the most unpleasant work-related tasks.
- Less irritability: Things that really irritated me before don’t really bother me much anymore (like my husband smacking in my ear when he chews his food lol)!
- Better sleep: I wouldn’t say I had *trouble* sleeping before, but I do feel my sleep quality has improved.
- More energy: I feel less tired throughout the day. Even when I do get tired, it’s nothing like before. No crashing, even if I’ve stayed up late the night before.
- Consistent exercise: While I struggled to maintain consistency with working out before, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve done yoga literally every single day since starting with St. John’s Wort. I’ve tried to do yoga every day before, but it always fell apart. I’m really excited about this one.
- Better period: I don’t know if this is directly related to the St. John’s Wort, but my period this month was much less uncomfortable. I can’t say “more comfortable” because that’s not even a thing. Like, no period is “comfortable”… but you catch my drift.
All these improvements are really turning my world around. I feel like I’ve been missing out all these years just not feeling quite “right”. It’s kind of sad when I think about it. I don’t think anybody should have to go through life feeling so poorly without even knowing what they’re missing. Like, I never KNEW. I assumed it could BE this way, but never really experienced it for myself and it’s a lot better than I even thought.
How Long Did It Take St. John’s Wort To Work?
About three days after taking St. John’s Wort I began to feel slightly better. A week later, things were noticeably different. Two weeks later I felt the full effects and haven’t felt anything stronger or additional since.
So, I’d say officially about a week or two of consistent daily use was good enough to know it really worked for me.
Side-Effects Of St. John’s Wort
To date, I haven’t experienced any negative side-effects. No sensitivity to light or anything. I don’t currently take any other medications so there’s nothing to worry about it interacting with. Well, I do take a daily multivitamin but that’s about it.
I’m paying close attention to everything now, though. If any weird side-effects do pop up, I’m certainly going to update my review.
What Happens If You Stop Taking St. John’s Wort?
I’m a little worried that if I stop taking it completely I’ll go back to normal. I don’t like the idea of having to take anything every day, forever. But if I do wind up having to take this indefinitely I would, barring any side-effects.
I have dropped my dosage just to see the minimum I can get away with. I’m currently taking 2 per day most days. Some days I just take one. I have yet to skip a day, but I’m probably going to experiment with dropping to 1 a day, every day soon to see how that goes.
I’m more comfortable with just one pill a day, some days. If I could get it to that low and still experience most of the benefit I would be totally content.
Best Brands Of St John’s Wort
So far I’ve only tried one brand of St. John’s Wort, and that’s the Nature’s Bounty brand. I’ve seen other brands get better and worse reviews and I’m mildly curious about trying some out.
Part of me feels like “if it ain’t broke, why fix it”. The Nature’s Bounty brand is affordable and making me feel better than I ever have with just 1-2 pills per day, so why mess with that?
But the other part of me is like “what if I don’t know what I don’t know, again”? I think I’m going to try another highly-rated brand when this bottle runs out, but still keep this in mind.
I’ll be sure to let you know what I find out!
Yes, St. John’s Wort Works For Mild Depression
So, does St. John’s Wort really work? The answer is yes! For me, it worked really well to alleviate many problems of my self-diagnosed mild depression. I feel really good and am happy with the results!
I’ll probably mention it to my doctor at my next doctor’s visit, but other than that I don’t see myself going out of my way to do anything else about it. I know this is a pretty bold claim, but I feel like my long-standing mood issues are cured. It’s crazy. I never really thought that I could feel normal. But I do!
I hope my St. John’s Wort review was informative and helped you see what one person’s experience is like! If you have any questions or think something should be added to this review, leave a comment and I’ll update it!
Wishing you the very best.