St. John's Wort
Citation: Abogado. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: An Experience with St. John's Wort (exp58098)". Erowid.org. Sep 5, 2009. erowid.org/exp/58098
In this report I will describe certain beneficial and side effects of St. John's Wort. These effects are slight and subjective and I do not want to present this as an objective report. However, extensive and controlled use of this substance has convinced me of the beneficial effects of using St. John’s Wort as a mind booster. The side effects are also quite definite and lead to one experience which was - in retrospect - quite funny.
I first came into contact with St. Johns Wort through the Internet, searching for ‘smart drugs’. My first purchase of the herb was part of an online-order of several substances which I considered most promising after some initial research. Admittedly, the ‘legal high’ or at least the ‘legal mind altering’ aspect played a role as well.
After commencing using the recommended daily dose (1 capsule with each meal, so 3 caps per day), its effects became noticeable quite soon. Working as an attorney at that time, I regularly went through stressful times. By using St. John's Wort, it seemed that my daily tasks, including the more difficult ones such as court appearances and writing of complicated briefs (documents to be submitted to court), became a lot less stressful. Somehow, it felt like these tasks ‘fell into place’. It also felt like all interactions, both work related and those in private life ran ‘smoother’. Altogether, this was a satisfying experience. I add to this that I am quite self-reflective and initially thought of placebo effects. These were ruled out after two weeks when a definite involuntary twitch developed in the skin around my right eye. Although unnoticeable to other people, I found this discomforting enough to discontinue use. The twitching vanished almost immediately.
After this, I continued to use St. John’s Wort on and off but only during periods of stress and when I needed to perform at peak level. This use was always to satisfaction and fully in line with my original idea to get the stuff for use as a smart drug. The twitching always came back after a couple of weeks and I have always followed-up to this signal of my body by quitting using.
A couple of years later I was still working as an attorney and had long since discovered that hypericum / St. John’s Wort was readily available as an OTC drug. At one point in time I started experimenting with elevated dosage, i.e. two or even three caps at a time. Also did I no longer observe the advice to ingest these together with a meal. This lead to the following embarrassing situation.
I had visited a client for a meeting. After the meeting, while getting into my car in the parking lot, I noticed an urge to use the bathroom (a biggie coming up…). At first I considered driving back to the office and dumping my load there. Luckily I did not go with this thought and followed my instincts back into the office building which I had just left.
The following feelings and automatic responses must be known to every man alive. As I got nearer to a perceived bathroom, where I did not have any urge a minute ago, the word ‘urge’ was quickly becoming an understatement. Upon re-entering the lobby, I felt like I was holding the full contents of a piggybank between my buttocks. Exercising extreme mind-control over my reflexes, I ducked into the bathroom for invalids, located right next to the entrance (thank God!). Being in the state I was in and not thinking straight, I slammed the door shut and locked it. Only then I noticed that the lights were off, which made me have to scramble around for the light button. Had this not been necessary, I would have made it to the toilet-bowl.
Now I made the fatal mistake of finding a cord and, thinking it to be a light switch, pulling it. Fuck me though: the cord triggered the alarm (bathroom for invalids, remember) and a nasty sequence of events. Sirens mooing away, I managed to find the light-switch. This was the last conscious effort made by me before the shit started squirting out and the only thing left for me to do was to pull my pants down right where I was standing. This desperate attempt did mitigate the damage, but did not get me out of the embarrassment of having to deal with alarmed security guards banging away at the door and returning every two minutes to enquire whether I was really OK. I managed to reassure them every time, while flushing out my business suit with water and cleaning the mess from the floor. Finally I emerged, sweating profusely, uttering something about ‘not feeling too well’ and getting the hell out at the same time. In the car, I covered the seat with paper, drove home and instructed my secretary to cancel all further appointments for the day.
In retrospect, I could have avoided this mess (no pun intended). I had noticed the upsetting effect of hypericum on the stomach before. This effect is also clearly advertised as a side effect in the flyer which accompanies every bottle. But hey, doesn’t an attorney have a right to its moments on the edge? And as a final note: the situation could have been a lot worse since I had just left a meeting with our most important and biggest spending client who will never know what transpired in his invalid bathroom.
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