St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort is a type of flowering plant. It was named as such since it was believed that its bright yellow flowers bloom for the very first time around the birthday of St. John the Baptist. Wort is an Old English word that means plant.
St. John’s wort has been used for many centuries and today, it has become a popular herb known to ease depression symptoms.
Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort
It is widely believed that St. John’s wort can help boost a person’s mood and offer depression relief. This herb is also explored for other health concerns:
- Symptoms related to menopause
- Seasonal affective disorder
- PMS or premenstrual syndrome
- Smoking cessation
Oil produced from St. John’s wort is also topically used to heal wounds and for various types of skin conditions like haemorrhoids and eczema. Scientific studies also revealed that St. John’s wort can offer some depression-related benefits.
Even though the benefits of St. John’s wort remain to be explored, all in all, evidence shows that the plant may become more effective compared to a placebo when it comes to reducing mild to moderate cases of depression.
One published study examined if antidepressants were more effective compared to a placebo in a primary care setting. During the analysis, scientists checked 66 studies published in the past and discovered that St. John’s wort extracts and antidepressant medication were more effective compared to a placebo.
St. John’s wort was linked with lesser dropouts due to adverse effects in comparison to tetracyclic and tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SNRI or serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, NRI or noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, NaSSAs or noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant agents.
A published report in 2008 has the most comprehensive research on major depression and St. John’s wort. For this report, researchers checked 29 previously published clinical trials that compared effects of placebo or standard antidepressant medication and St. John’s wort for 4 to 12 weeks.
The authors of the study discovered that the extracts of St. John’s wort may have better effects than a placebo and have similar effectiveness as standard antidepressants. The herb, however, seemed to have lesser side effects.
Authors stated in their analysis that studies done in German-speaking countries that have a long history of using St. John’s wort and being recommended by doctors reported results that are more positive compared to studies done in the US and other countries.
Potential Side Effects and Dose
There is a tendency for St. John’s wort to have really serious interactions with numerous commonly used medicines due to how it gets broken down in a person’s liver. This herb can reduce the effectiveness of medicine but at the same time, it can also make the medication’s effects stronger. Just like with any other cures, it is important that you talk to your pharmacist or doctor before you take any supplement or medication like St. John’s wort.
The suitable dose for you is dependent on several factors such as your medical history, gender, and age.