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Did you know that approximately one out of 20 Americans suffers from depression? Many have sought help from their family physicians only to be prescribed antidepressants as Prozac, Zoloft, Xanax, or the like. While these may work greatly for awhile, they may become less effective over time. Chances are, sufferers have heard or seen advertisements stating how herbs can help heal one’s depression. Those who have done research on this subject seem to come across ads for St John’s Wort.
St John’s Wort has been reputable for treating anxiety and depression by relaxing patients and improving their moods. It’s been used traditionally for many centuries and is one of most recommended herbs, but how powerful is it?
What is St John’s Wort?
St John’s Wort is a type of herb which is a plant with yellow flowers. It is sold in numerous vitamin shops and health food stores under different brand names. It is also referred to as Hypericum Perforatum or Piper Methysticum. Of the many brands that offer it, some may help those with anxiety or depression while others serve as no benefit to these problems whatsoever. As regarded by the FDA, St John’s Wort is simply a dietary supplement.
Is St John’s Wort Effective for Treating Depression?
Though St John’s Wort has been traditionally thought of as a popular cure for depression, studies done on it show no consistent results. It has been known to be a great mood raiser as well as a sedative. Still, this herb delivers no guarantees for all who experience depression. According to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) 37 clinical trials revealed that it is highly effective in treating mild cases of depression but has very little if any effect on moderate to severe cases. St John’s Wort does benefit those suffering from mild depression, but is similar to most antidepressants and no more effective than a placebo.
What Are the Side Effects of St John’s Wort?
Though St John’s Wort is highly effective for minor depression, it has unfavorable side effects as well. Using it may result in dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, raised sensitivity to sunlight, and fatigue. When used with antidepressants it may cause unwanted effects as nausea, anxiety, confusion, and headaches.
For those taking other prescribed drugs, St John’s Wort has been found to reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants, birth control pills, blood thinning, anticancer, and HIV infection treatment medicines.
To anyone who considers taking St John’s Wort, it is best they consult with their physician first. The ingredients contained from brand to brand vary and not all brands are created equal. Therefore, one may want to read the labels and do some research before purchasing a bottle of St John’s Wort.