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St John's wort (Hypericum Perforatum) - herb for depression treatment

St John's wort ( Hypericum Perforatum) is a large family of plants. About 370 species of St John's wort exist worldwide with different geographic distribution, including the temperate and subtropical regions of North America, Europe, Turkey, Russia, India and China.


St. John's wort is widely known as a herbal remedy for depression.

 Depression treatment

In some countries, such as Germany, it is often prescribed for mild depression, especially for children and adolescents.

Available evidence suggests that extracts from St. John's wort

A) were better than placebo in patients with severe depression,

B) are as effective as standard antidepressants

C) have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.


Twenty-nine clinical studies with more than five thousand patients were conducted by Cochrane Collaboration. The analysis found that St. John's wort extracts were superior to placebo in patients with severe depression. St. John's wort is efficacious compared to standard antidepressants. The incidence of side effects is half  of the newer SSRI antidepressants and is one fifth of the older tricyclic anti-depressants.

Recent data suggest that daily St. John's wort treatment can alleviate the most common physical and behavioural symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome.


Other applications

The herb was also used by American Indians internally for abortion and externally as anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic.  St John's wort oil is used to treat wounds, abrasions and first degree burns.


Side Effects and Drug Interactions

St. John's Wort is well tolerated. Adverse reactions were similar to placebo. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal symptoms, dizziness, confusion, fatigue.


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