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St. John’s Wort Can Help With Depression

St John’s WortSt. John’s wort extract, a herbal remedy long used for the treatment of clinical depression in Europe, is effective in treating some types of major depression according to a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

“Overall, we found that the St. John’s wort extracts tested in the trials were superior to placebos and as effective as standard antidepressants, with fewer side effects,” says lead researcher, Klaus Linde of the Centre for Complementary Medicine in Munich, Germany.

Extracts of the plant Hypericum perforatum, commonly known as St. John’s wort, have long been used in folk medicine to treat depression and sleep disorders. The plant produces a number of different substances that may have anti-depressive properties, but the whole extract is considered to be more effective.

Cochrane Researchers reviewed 29 trials which together included 5,489 patients with symptoms of major depression. All trials employed the commonly used Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression to assess the severity of depression.

In trials comparing St. John’s wort to other remedies, not only were the plant extracts considered to be equally effective, but fewer patients dropped out of trials due to adverse effects.

The overall picture is complicated, however, by the fact that the results were more favourable in trials conducted in German speaking countries, where St. John’s extracts have a long tradition and are often prescribed by doctors.

Despite the favourable findings for St. John’s wort, researchers are anxious not to make generalisations about the plant’s use as an anti-depressant and recommend consulting a doctor in the first instance, especially as the extracts can sometimes affect the actions of other beneficial drugs.

“Using a St. Johns wort extract might be justified, but products on the market vary considerably, so these results only apply to the preparations tested,” says Linde.

Source: Wiley-Blackwell

St. John’s Wort Can Help With Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). St. John’s Wort Can Help With Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/10/08/st-johns-wort-can-help-with-depression/3089.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.