Using Noni, Ginseng and St. John’s Wort
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Shah
Posted on: May 13, 1998

Are there any herb-to-herb interactions or negative interactions in taking the following three herbs: Noni juice, ginseng, and St. Johns wort.

Indian mulberry, or noni (Morinda citrifolia), is known to have compounds with anticancer, antidepressant and hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) properties. The dried root raises the white cell count and stimulates the endocrine system. It has long been used in Asia, Australasia, and the Pacific, where the tree grows. In Chinese medicine it is used to boost the yang of the kidneys, strengthen muscles and bone, and as a treatment for rheumatism.

We have not seen any suggestion that there are any contraindications associated with consuming noni juice. The dried root, in the Chinese medical system, is contraindicated for people who have difficulty urinating or have deficient yin with heat.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng or Eleuthrococcus senticosus) is generally used as a mental and physical stimulant, especially for debility, exhaustion, to increase immune resistance, to aid in fertility, promote physical and mental efficiency, raise mood and as a re-vitalising tonic in old age and illness. Because of its stimulating properties, it is not recommended in pregnancy, hyperactivity or high blood pressure.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is used in anxiety and depression, to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and pain. It is also anti-viral and sedative. The only contra-indication is related to its photosensitivty properties. Some people may break out in a rash in strong sunlight.

I have found no evidence of contrary effects in taking Ginseng amd St. John’s Wort. Different plant constituents in the two herbs produce different effects. Results of studies on these herbs are available on the Medline database. The studies indicate that the saponins ( a plant constituent used in the synthesis of cortisone (an anti-inflammatory drug), and in the synthesis of sex hormones) in Ginseng stimulate lymphocytes to affect the immune system and protect the nerve cells against damage,. Saponins are presumed to work on the adrenal glands to affect stress reactions, and the nerve transmitters to affect nervous activity. Hypericum appears to affect depression by stimulation of hormones and nervous system transmitters. The phenolic compounds in Hypericum are presumed to affect the pain-killing and anti-inflammatory responses. Many studies show that Hypericum is effective in its use for depression.

Herbs, like drugs, can have different effects on different people. You may want to try using these herbs separately to see if they give you the desired response.

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