For the millions of people who have been diagnosed with clinical depression, finding a natural alternative to costly and side-effect laden anti-depressants has been a welcome option for many. The herb St. John’s wort has shown promise as a natural way to treat depression. The first portion of this article looked at what St. John’s wort is, and how it may help our health. When we left off, we were starting to look at studies that had shown that St. John’s wort may be useful for treating depression, and so far, the results have all been very positive.
Other studies of St. John’s wort’s effect on mild to moderate depression that were conducted in both the United States and Europe found similar results, but with the added dimension of comparing it to tricyclic antidepressants. The analysis above compared the herb to a placebo, but these studies compared it to both a placebo and traditional medications that are used to treat depression. In addition, St. John’s wort was found to lead to fewer side effects than many antidepressants.
It is important to note that two recent studies did not find that St. John’s wort was more effective than a placebo for major depression. While some researchers felt that these two studies had flaws in them because of too-small dosages and not enough subjects (and the research does list some definitely unusual results), it’s worth noting anyway because it may indicate that while St. John’s wort can be useful for people suffering from mild to moderate depression, if you have major depression you might not get the same results.
Although more research is needed in this area too, St. John’s wort has been studied somewhat for its ability to help reduce anxiety. In some studies on St. John’s wort and depression, any of the subjects reported an improvement in their anxiety as well. But again, more research will hopefully be conducted on this topic.
St. John’s wort may also be useful for women who have to deal with premenstrual syndrome on a monthly basis.