Antidepressant medications work by either sedating or stimulating the patient. Tofranil (Imipramine) for instance, is a tricyclic antidepressant, under the dimethlyamino acid compounds. This drug promotes restfulness. Ludiomil (Maprotiline) on the other hand, acts as a stimulant. The latter is also under the tricyclic antidepressant, but categorized as a monomethyl relative.
To prevent any interactions, antidepressant drugs should not be taken with other medicine that act on the central nervous system. This safety measure should also be applied with supplements. The following are herbal supplements that should be avoided if you are taking antidepressant medications.
Cytisus scoparius Linne (Fam. Leguminosae)
Also known as Scotch broom, Bannal, Broom Top, Genista, Ginsterdraut, Hogweed, Irish Broom Top, and Sarothamni herb. This herbal medicine has a long history of use as a cardiac remedy, cathartic anddiuretic. Its blossoms when dried and smoked become a hallucinogen.
Broom contains up to 1.5% spartine which is used for its depressant action in cardiac arrhythmias and for its oxytocic effects. However its use as an oxytocic was withdrawn in the late 1978 because of benefit - risk ratio.
Nepata cataria Linne (Fam. Labiatae)
Catnip is a perennial herb normally found in the United States. As a herbal remedy, catnip has been used as an antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, stomachic, stimulant, and mild sedative. They are used to alleviate symptoms such as insomnia, stress, menstrual cramps, and gut cramps. Taken as a tea, a cup of Catnip can ensure a good night of sleep. It contains 77-99% of Cistrans-napelactum, a compound similar to valepotriates which is the sedative principles of Valerian.
Centella asiatica (Fam. Umbelliferae)
Gotu kola is also known as hydrocotyle and Indian pennywort. It is found in the swampy areas of India, Sri Lanka, in south America and in the tropical regions of the new world. As a herbal supplement, its benefits comprises of improving memory and blood circulation.
In addition to its use as a diuretic, as a blood purifier in healing skin conditions and in treating leprosy, Gotu kola has been promoted as a body revitalizer.
Studies have shown that it contains two saponin glycoside – brahmoside and brahminoside. These two promotes sedation in high doses of the drug.
Hops or Humulus
Humulus lupulus Linne (Fam Moraceace)
Hops is a perennial herbal climber, cultivated in England, Germany, various parts of United States, South America and Australia.
Poultices made from the flowers of Hops are used for boils and painful swellings. It is said to be a remedy for spermatorrhoea as it stimulates oestrogen production in men. Hops stimulates the appetite, ease digestion, and aid in relieving colic. The ointment made from hop powder is used against podagra, rheumatic pains in joints, pus wounds, as well as pain reliever. The fruit decoction is a good cure against dandruff and hair-loss. Hops may also have other protective effects against some cancers.
However, Hops’ main function is used as a sedative to relieve anxiety and induce calmness even sleep. It is known for its sedative effect and the constituent responsible for this activity has been identified as a volatile alcohol,2-methyl-3-butene-2-ol.
Eleutherococcus senticosus maximoevies (Fam Araliaceae)
Eleuthero or Sibearian Ginseng comes from the tall shrub native to eastern Siberia, Korea and the Shansi and Hopei provinces of China. It is known for other names as Russian Ginseng, Ci wu ju, Devil's Shrub, Eleuthero Root, Eleutherococcus, Touch-me-not, Wild Pepper and Shigoka. This herbal supplement consists of the roots which contains saponin glycosides. This accounts for its reputation as a stimulant or anti-stress agent.
Eleuthero is also known as a detoxifier. In men, it stimulates the body's production of testosterone , increasing sex drive and preventing impotence. Eleuthero root is used to treat rheumatic diseases and heart ailments. And more to this, the herb is said to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and restore cardiovascular health.
Valeriana officinalis Linne (Fam Valerianaceae)
Valerian consists of the dried rhizome and roots of Valeriana officinalis Linne. It is employed as a calmative. It is used as a sleep aid to help insomnia and other sleeping problems. Chemical studies revealed that the principles contained in Valeriana – water insoluble acid and alkali labile constituents, designated as valeporians, posess the tranquilizing activity.
Pausinystalia yohimbe (Fam Rubiaceae)
Yohimbe is the dried bark of Pausinystalia yohimbe, a tree native to some of the tropical areas of the West Africa. The bark contains up to 6.1% of a mixture of alkaloids principally yohimbe, responsible for it being an aphrodisiacs - a sexual stimulant for men and women.
- Drugs or supplements that have opposing effect may not have interactions, however two or more of these on the same category could result in potentiation or synergistic effect.
- Broom, Catnip, Gotu kola, Hops and Valeriana are depressants.
- Eleuthero and Yohimbe are stimulants.
- Pharmacognosy 9th Edition