Depression is an awful disorder. Most people who have physical ailments never realize that emotional problems can be just as devastating and even more difficult to treat because the brain is so complex. Today, most consumers feel bitter towards conventional medical practice and have drifted away to alternative health care for many treatments.
The failure of conventional medicine to have a magic pill for depression has led to the use of many different health supplements and one of them is St John’s Wort. Extracts of St John’s Wort are widely used to treat depression. The question remains, is it effective?
Meta analysis of several studies have been done. These studies included patients with mild to moderate degrees of depression who were treated with St John’s Wort for 4-12 weeks, compared to a placebo and standard anti-depressant drugs. Overall conclusion was that St John’s wort was more effective than placebo and just as effective as the standard anti-depressant drugs. A benefit of St John’s wort was that the majority of patients had very few side effects compared to the anti depressants.
One should note that several varieties of St John’s wort were used and the most favorable responses were obtained by the herb of German Origin. Germany and most European countries have always been at the forefront of herbal treatment. St John’s wort extracts from other countries like North America was not found to be as effective. Whether the German St John’s wort is truly superior compared to other extracts is a puzzle. It is not known if this is simply due to a bias in the study or perhaps the reporting has been overtly optimistic.
For individuals who wish to use St John’s wort, there certainly is no harm, but it is still not considered a replacement for the available anti-depressants. One should first consult with the health care physician before changing treatment.
Other important facts about St John’s Wort available in the North American market are, the quality and quantity of the product does vary greatly from store to store. There are also reports of fake and counterfeit products out on the market.