St. John's wort
Most-used antidepressant in the history of humanity and truly a healer of both the body and the mind - Jonathan Zuess
image by: alexraths
The herb St John’s Wort is as effective as antidepressants while having milder side effects, according to a recent Cochrane review, St John’s wort for major depression.
Professor Edzard Ernst, a well-known enemy of complementary and alternative medicine, wrote a favorable review of this study in which he comments that given the questions around the safety and effectiveness of antidepressants, it is a mystery why St John’s Wort is not used more widely. When Edzard Ernst says a herb works, you should take notice. But is St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) really the perfect antidepressant? Curiously, it seems to depend whether you’re German or not.
The Cochrane review included…
The herb St John’s Wort is as effective as antidepressants while having milder side effects, according to a recent Cochrane review.
Hypericum perforatum has been used for generations due to its anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties. In the first century, Greek physicians recommended the use of St. John’s wort for its medicinal value while ancient people believed that the herb had mystical powers. The name “St John’s wort” is derived from the fact that it flowers on 24th of June, St. John’s Day.
The available evidence suggests that the hypericum extracts tested in the included trials a) are superior to placebo in patients with major depression; b) are similarly effective as standard antidepressants; c) and have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants. The association of country of origin and precision with effects sizes complicates the interpretation.
St. John’s wort may help some types of depression, similar to treatment with standard prescription antidepressants, but the evidence is not definitive. Combining St. John’s wort with certain antidepressants can lead to a potentially life-threatening increase of serotonin, a brain chemical targeted by antidepressants. St. John’s wort can also limit the effectiveness of many prescription medicines.
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