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Are you considering St. John’s Wort {SJW} for postpartum depression?

It’s become the most popular alternative to pharmaceuticals for depression in Europe and the US, but is it safe while you breastfeeding?

By the end of this post, you’ll understand the risk/benefit ratio and determine if SJW is right for you and the ONE person who should not take St. john’s wort.

St. John’s Wort, What is it used for?

You can take SJW internally as a tincture or supplement for:

  • spinal injuries
  • sciatica
  • as an antiviral
  • for seasonal affective disorder
  • menopause
  • PMS
  • mild/moderate depression
  • and to decrease estrogen levels!

Of course, It takes a comprehensive approach to healing.  So, you may need more than just one herb to heal PPD.  Grab my freebie below to learn how!

Can you take St. John’s Wort for Postpartum depression?

Watch this video, then also check these 4 other things if you’re struggling with PPD or PPA. 

  1. vitamin levels.  Especially check your levels of Vitamin D & B12
  2. Have your thyroid checked
  3. Do you have “digestive issues”? Poor gut health has been associated with anxiety & depression 
  4. And, are you stressed out? You may want to add adaptogens to help with the adrenal overload

Breastfeeding Herbs

When considering adding botanicals while nursing, you’ll want to look at these four factors.

#1 Herbal Safety

The lactation risk set by the Complete German Commission E. Monographs. Is the herb safe while nursing. There are 5 Categories

  • L1 safest or compatible
  • L2 safer
  • L3 moderately safe
  • L4 possible risk
  • L5 contraindicated

 

breastfeeding safety

#2 Monitor your infant for adverse symptoms

Always look for drowsiness, insomnia, irritability dry mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation, and stop the botanical immediately when taking herbs while nursing. 

#3 Your child’s age

Plus, Consider the age of your child as well, before adding any medications and/or supplement

  • Babies are most vulnerable to chemicals ingested by the mother if they are premies
  • By the age of 2 weeks, however, the liver is able to metabolize ingested medications
  • But, they are fully capable of ingesting chemicals/botanicals by 4-5 months as their liver function is more ideal {keep in mind if your child was underweight or a premie}

1% of the maternal dose of any medication will enter the milk and with some exceptions up to 10% 

#4 Do you or your child’s father have allergies?

If you or your child’s father has allergies, you’ll want to avoid these botanicals until your child is older.  The most common allergen is Chamomile.

 

Is St. John’s Wort Safe While Breastfeeding?

  • St. John’s Wort is considered a Level 2/3 by the German Commission E.; which is Safer/Moderately safe
  • There are limited studies that show no increased risk in the child’s health.  Many studies have been flawed due to the poor use of extracts or questionable preparation of the product. 

:: In one study, women ingested 300 mg of St. John’s Wort a day and low levels of hyperforin were detected in breastmilk, however, no constitutes of the herbs was detectable in the babies plasma and no adverse effects were observed in either. Source

Lactation and medication expert Thomas Hale & Hilary Rowe authors of Medications and mothers milk suggest transfer to milk are minimal and it appears to be safe during lactation.

  • However, 1 intact in each group was reported to be colicky
  • But there was no change in milk production and weight of the infants

Who should avoid St. John’s Wort?

  • SJW is contraindicated if you’re taking SSRIs or MAOIs- a class of medication used to treat depression

Summarize

St. john’s wort can be used during breastfeeding when you purchase a standardized product from a reputable company. Standardization of the herb is to guarantee that the consumer is getting a product in which the chemistry is consistent from batch to batch.

  • Look for 300 mg 3x day to decrease postpartum depression and watch for adverse effects like colic. 
  • Keep in mind, it takes a comprehensive approach to overcome postpartum depression.

Ashwagandha vs St. John’s Wort

Can’t decide where to begin? Watch this video.

 

P.S.  Want to know how I recovered from PPD naturally? Grab your FREE roadmap

 

References:

  • ₁ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16566628/#:~:text=The%20only%20existing%20report%20on,John’s%20wort.
  • Romm, Aviva; Botanicals Medicine for Women’s Health pg 887
  • https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/meds/lactation_risk_cat/https://www.infantrisk.com/content/drug-entry-human-milk
St. John\'s Wort while Breastfeeding
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