If you take St. John’s wort, here’s another potential side effect you need to know about

Alternative Medicine, General Health
My favorite natural medicines website is the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and the NMCD has a new warning about St. John's wort (SJW) and your eyesight: St. John’s wort  has now been linked to an increased risk of cataracts in new research. There have been concerns for years, based upon animal studies, that SJW might increase cataract risk. Why? The hypericin constituent of SJW is known to be photoactive. In the presence of light, hypericin might damage lens proteins and precipitate cataracts. However, this risk has never been studied in humans -- until now. A new population study shows that taking St. John's wort is associated with risk of developing cataracts. The researchers used self-reported data on SJW use in the past 12 months and cataracts that were obtained from the 2002 National…
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St. John’s wort may cool the hot flashes of menopause

Alternative Medicine, Woman's Health
Reuters Health has a nice report on the popular herbal remedy, St. John's wort, and some news from a small study that says it may help ease menopausal hot flashes. St. John's wort is probably best known as an herbal antidepressant, with some clinical trials suggesting that it can help relieve mild to moderate depression symptoms. A few studies have also investigated the herb's effects on menopausal symptoms, but have focused on its impact on mood -- and not the so-called vasomotor symptoms of menopause, which include hot flashes and night sweats. Here's the Reuter's report: "(The) findings of our study suggest that this herbal medicine can be used to treat hot flashes due to menopause, and it is a new finding about the usage of St. John's wort," Marjan Khajehei, of…
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Amberen a new supplement for hot flashes. Does it work?

Alternative Medicine, Woman's Health
According to a new report by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD), Amberen is a popular new dietary supplement used mainly for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. The manufacturer says the product is "Backed by published clinical, toxicology and safety studies, and over 30 years of research, Amberen is your best choice for a natural alternative to HRT." The NMCD say, of Amberen, "It contains unusual ingredients including ammonium succinate, calcium disuccinate, magnesium disuccinate hydrate, and others." But, does it work? The Database relates, "Although patient testimonials suggest that the product might help, there is NO reliable clinical research." To doctors NMCD says, “Don't recommend this product until there is reliable evidence of safety and effectiveness.” For menopausal women, this is one product I'd recommend you skip until there's…
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