St. John’s Wort: Healthy or Hype?

St. John’s Wort: Healthy or Hype?

St. John’s wort (hypericum peraforatum) is an herbal supplement that originates in Europe. Its name comes from John the Baptist, whose birthday is on the same time as the herb starts to bloom. * Although there are proven benefits to taking St. John’s Wort, there are also some side effects worth mentioning that can potentially deter people from taking it depending on their current situation.


May Help Treat Depression-In a review of 29 studies in 5489 patients with depression that compared treatment with extracts of St. John's wort for 4 to 12 weeks with placebo treatment or standard antidepressant, it was concluded that hypericum extracts found in St. John’s Wort tested were not only superior to placebo in patients with major depression, but were similarly effective as standard antidepressants. *Further, it was concluded that hypericum extracts had fewer side effects than standard antidepressants. *


May Help Treat Menopausal Symptoms-When taken with a particular form of cohosh extract, it may alleviate some menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. *


Use Caution-St. John’s Wort has been known to interact with other medications, including prescription medications. A 2011 study has suggests that St. John’s Wort reduces the drug Xanax’s effectiveness. It is also recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take St. John’s Wort. *


In sum, St. John’s Wort can assist you if you’re experiencing depression but there are still some side effects that you should watch out for, especially if you’re currently taking any medication. As always, please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your dietary, medicinal or exercise regimen.




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