It is becoming more widely known that the herb St John’s Wort is as effective in treating moderate to severe depression as Seroxat, one of the prescribed options which has been known to provoke suicide and aggression. This is a serious endorsement of the humble herb.
Hypericum Perforatum, or St John’s Wort, as we more commonly know it; is a yellow flowered plant which contains many chemical compounds, including hypericin and hyperforin. The ancient Greeks were aware of its healing properties and used it to treat many ailments, including sciatica and poisonous reptile bites. In Europe it was, and still is, popular for the topical treatment of wounds and burns; ear infections, cold sores, and as a folk remedy for kidney and lung ailments; anxiety, as well as depression; and in other areas has long been used for mental disorders and nerve pain. Whatever the credibility of these traditional uses, we now do know that St John’s Wort is effective as a mild mood lifter and can help with SAD too. The standard recommendation for mild to moderate depression is 300 mg of St John’s Wort extract 3 times daily. Results can be noted as early as 2 weeks, and length of use should be discussed with a health-care professional. St John’s Wort is available as capsules, tablets and extracts.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
St. John’s Wort could, theoretically, make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, but this is rare when used at recommended levels. However, fair-skinned individuals should be alert for any rashes or burns following exposure to the sun. This shouldn’t be a problem in the winter in the UK. St John’s Wort can’t be taken with any other anti-depressants or with the contraceptive pill. So check with your doctor before use. Isn’t it good to know that there are natural, herbal products to help at such times. St John’s Wort is natural enough and can also give that added lift after a bereavement, or personal tragedy.