Diet, Fatigue and Depression
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: February 4, 1999

Can you give me a safe combination and dosage for depression, appetite suppression, energy, stress, and metabolism enhancer. Preferably combinations that are ok to take with Saw Palmetto.

Can you tell me if dandelion (for water retention), chickweed (for weight loss), saw palmetto (firming agent), St. John’s Wort (mood elevation) and ginseng/ginkgo (energy and brain function) are safe to take together, 3 times daily? I bought a bottle of each for different reasons and wanted to make sure.

Some of the general rules in combining medicines are:

1. Don’t combine herbs with opposite properties. For example, a sedative herb with a herb to increase energy, or a herb that tightens body tissues with one that relaxes them. The effects of the herbs would then be canceled out.

2. If you are taking any other medications, a health care provider should be consulted. Herbs can cause an increase or decrease in the effect of the drug.

3. Herbs often work together to increase the effect of other herbs in the combination.

4. Herbalist and other holistic practitioners look for the root cause of ill health and base the medicine on that. If the root cause is, for example, poor diet or poor digestion or stress, then the major part of the herbal remedy would be based on supporting the digestion or the nerves and together the patient and practitioner would work out ways, including diet and exercise, to correct the root cause. A smaller portion of the remedy would support other symptoms.

5. Stimulants such as Ginseng are not given when the general state of health is low and there is no reserve of energy to stimulate.

Dosages vary with the type of product purchased.

In your combination, St. John’s wort is relaxing, while Ginseng is stimulating.

Dandelion is safe unless other diuretics are being used.

St. John’s Wort is safe unless other anti-depressants are being used.

Ginseng should not be used if you drink coffee. They are both are stimulants, and the combination can cause heart palpitations or heart strain. It is also contraindicated in pregnancy or high blood pressure. Large amounts of ginseng can cause irritability, diarrhea and restlessness.

When taking Ginkgo, you should advise your doctor if you are on blood thinning medication or if you are having an operation, because it increases the blood flow.

Neither Chickweed or Saw Palmetto have contraindications.

For more information on the conditions you mention and the herbs you are interested in, please go to our website at, and then go to the "Q&A" area. Use the search tool "Search Richters Q and A" and enter each of the following words separately: "energy", "metabolism", "depression", "weight" and the names of the various herbs.

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