Wednesday, January 20, 2010

St. John’s Wort for Depression

The herbal antidepressant St. John’s wort is the most widely prescribed antidepressant in the world, and it is highly effective in treating depression. The botanical name is Hypericum perforatum. Its standard uses are for mild-to-moderate depression, but St. John's wort has been used for major depression as well. When researchers have compared St. John’s wort to Zoloft and Paxil, St. John’s wort was as effective as medications and patients reported fewer side effects. One of its constituients, hyperforin, has also been shown to be highly anti-inflammatory, and this likely contributes to its effectiveness in treating depression.

Used by itself, St. John’s wort has an excellent safety record. But there are two important cautions. First, it does interact with several classes of medications, so should not be combined with antidepressants, birth control pills, cyclosporins, and several other classes of medications. If you decide to take St. John’s wort, be sure to tell your doctor or other health care provider. Second, brands of herbal products vary widely in quality, and it’s not always possible to tell which product is good quality. Seek the advice of a naturopath or licensed herbalist to find a good product. Or for a small fee, provides information on specific brands. Below are some resources and recommendations regarding use of St. John's wort.

Dosage: 300 mg, three times a day

Standardized to 0.3% hypericin or 2% to 4% hyperforin

The Complete German Commission E Monographs available online and for purchase from the American Botanical Council,

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article. Site coming along. Looks great. Can't wait for more posts.


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