For the non-standardized version of St. John’s Wort I found “Boiron Homeopathic Medicine Hypericum Perforatum” which came in a bottle with 30C Pellets that was 80 Count Tube. This was promoted as a homeopathic medicine that had no drug interactions or side effects and was regulated as an over-the-counter medication by the FDA. The bottle instructions stated to dissolve 5 pellets in the mouth, three times per day until the symptoms were relieved, or as directed by a doctor. The price was $5.55 for the bottle. For the standardized version I found the “St. John’s Wort: 500mg for Mood Support” which came with 100 capsules. It sold for $19.99 and what was perhaps most interesting was that it did not contain any instructions for ingestion or directions, but rather has many stamps on it for how effective it was and the guarantee offered by the company, yet nothing on how to use it or what amount is acceptable. Mosby’s Handbook states that for Adult parenteral with capsules the recommended amount is 300 mg extract standardized to 0.3%. That being said, someone using the non-standardized version would need to consume more capsules compared to the standardized version.
For the standardized version I found “Nature’s Way Echinacea Herb” which came in a 400 mg packaged with180 Capsules, for only $16.49. The directions indicate to take 3 capsules three times per day, with food but that anyone with an autoimmune condition should not take it. The container was certified organic, with a corresponding sticker. It also contained nutritional facts as they related to the daily calorie intake. The non-standardized version was “Holland & Barrett Echinacea Cold & Flu” which had 60 capsules for $8.49. It was stated to be intended for cold and flu support, but not to be used by anyone with an autoimmune problem. It stated to take three capsules per day. Mosby’s Handbook states that for Adult parenteral with capsules the recommended amount is 500 mg-1g (McCaleb et al, 2000) and that it should not be used by anyone with an auto immune problem. That being said, someone using the versions I found would need to consume many more capsules to gain the same effect as a pure 500 mg capsule.

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The standardized version I found was “Nature’s Life Alfalfa Leaf Tablets” which were 1000 Mg and came in a set of 500. It was $21.19. The instructions stated to take between 2 and 6 tablets per day with food, as needed. The packaging had a label that it was suitable for vegetarians. Being 1000 Mg it was not that much different from the non-standardized version which was “Nature’s Way Alfalfa Leaves (COG)”. This came with 100 capsules, but for only $12.16 and the directions stated to only take 3 per day. Mosby’s Handbook states that for Adult parenteral with capsules the recommended amount is between 3 and 6 capsules daily which is not any different from the versions I found.

Many of these herbs came in standalone products or in combinations with other things, specifically to target certain conditions or illnesses such as “mood enhancement” or “cold and flu treatment” which meant that the consumer would need more of them. The costs were not much different comparatively, between stand alone and combinations. It is interesting to note is that, when researching these herbs at my local herb store, they were prescribed by a practitioner, and the instructions from said practitioner adhered to, and it was emphasized that users should only use them as instructed by a practitioner in order for them to be very safe. In fact, they are just as safe as the food you would consume each day, if used correctly. I found that many people do not realize that the herbs prescribed in most treatment regimes can be eaten as food. The preparation and frequency of consumption are responsible for the potency of the effects. If the wrong herb is taken, or the dosage is incorrect, it can be dangerous which is why it is important to adhere to the instructions of your practitioner.

    References
  • Bratman, S., & Girman, A. M. (2003). Mosby’s handbook of herbs and supplements and their therapeutic uses. Mosby Inc..
  • Fruit, L., Fructus, L., Berry, T. G., & Zi, G. Q. Herbs & Supplements.
  • Seo, B. I., Kwon, D. Y., Choi, H. Y., Lee, J. H., Oh, M. S., & Bu, Y. M. (2012). Medicinal Herbology. Seoul, Korea: Younglim-Sa.