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St. John's Wort for Depression

St. John's Wort, also known as Hypericum perforatum, is a popular herb commonly used for its potential mood-boosting effects. It has been studied extensively for its efficacy in treating mild to moderate depression, and has been found to be as effective as prescription antidepressants, but with fewer side effects.

St. John's Wort works by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are associated with mood regulation. It also contains flavonoids and hyperforin, which are thought to play a role in its antidepressant effects.

Clinical trials have shown that St. John's Wort can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. In fact, a meta-analysis of 27 studies found that St. John's Wort was significantly more effective than placebo and just as effective as prescription antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression. Additionally, it was found to have fewer side effects than prescription antidepressants, such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction.

However, it's important to note that St. John's Wort may interact with certain medications, including birth control pills, antidepressants, and blood thinners. It should also be avoided in certain populations, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women and individuals with bipolar disorder.

Overall, St. John's Wort is a promising natural treatment option for individuals with mild to moderate depression. However, as with any supplement, it's important to consult with a licensed naturopathic physician before starting a new treatment regimen.


  1. Sarris J, Murphy J, Mischoulon D, et al. Adjunctive nutraceuticals for depression: A systematic review and meta-analyses. Am J Psychiatry. 2016;173(6):575-587.

  2. Linde K, Mulrow CD, Berner M, Egger M. St John's Wort for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005;(2):CD000448. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub2

  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. St. John's Wort and depression: In depth. Updated October 2020. Accessed March 22, 2023.


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