St. John's wort recommendations, please?
May 24, 2016 1:03 PM   Subscribe

In the past, I've had excellent results with Kira-brand St. John's wort for mild depression. It appears to have been discontinued since I last used it. Can anyone recommend a high quality replacement, hopefully one that undergoes a reputable third-party assay for active ingredients? I'm in the US.

Bonus point for anyone that can point me to a manufacturer that's using the LI 160* formula that Kira used.


*I have no idea what the deal is with LI 160/Kira, but it just worked in a way that others didn't. If any science-talking folks are in the mood to explain what makes the LI 160 formula different from most SJW, I'd consider that thoroughly on-topic.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
In addition to Kira, there is Remotiv (flordis - I think it's Australian) and Hyperforat (Klein - Germany). I'm not sure if those are exactly standardized the same way as Kira but they are pretty good too.
(Also, I sent you a memail.)
posted by bluebelle at 5:29 PM on May 24, 2016


Unfortunately for herbals, there's no required regulatory testing standard. You can make sure that any bottle you buy makes label claims that the product's identity has been verified according to USP-NF standards, but, again, USP-NF isn't FDA and FDA doesn't regulate herbals like it does other substances. Companies that misbrand are caught, constantly, for selling adulterated products (which is reflected in This means that you're more or less trusting a company to do something on a voluntary basis (you can read more about that here). USP is trying to encourage the use of genetic assays, which would be more specific but nevertheless still voluntary (not required).

FDA is in the process of trying to change the regulations that govern their oversight of supplements, too. DSHEA has been around since 1994 and is a firm barrier to FDA overseeing the supplement market in the same way it oversees the drug market. FDA is in the early stages of revising its Redbook, which mainly dictates the regulation of food and food-contact substances, but there's a twinkle of possibility that it would extend to supplements. This is because, since DSHEA, the supplement market has exploded and companies do very, very naughty things when there's money to be made (see here for examples of supplements contaminated with undisclosed active ingredients, which is the point at which FDA can intervene).

This is my preamble to a strong suggestion against presuming that commercially available herbal supplement products have reliable identity, purity, potency, and safety, as they are not required to be assessed for any of those points beyond, nominally, identity. This is in line with the current thinking on the topic in the medical establishment, in the form of systematic reviews of St. John's wort used as a depression therapy.

(btw I'm a regulatory toxicologist, not just hounding; feel free to PM if you have questions)
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 6:05 PM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm fully wary of the issues surrounding source-material identity/potency/etc (I was the regulatory guy in a food labeling/traceability department for a number of years). I was hoping that the supplement industry had at least a couple players doing real 3rd party testing and supply chain auditing, but it looks like the temptation of zero regulation is too much for companies to refuse.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:29 PM on May 24, 2016


I know someone who uses Nature's Herbs st John's power.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:08 PM on May 25, 2016


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