Relieve Symptoms of Depression Naturally with St. John’s Wort
Saint John’s wort (Hypercium perforatum) is a small perennial bush with yellow flowers that people have cultivated all over the world. You most likely have heard of Saint John’s wort supplements in reference to their use as remedy for depression. In fact, numerous scientific studies and clinical trials show that Saint John’s wort is as, if not more, effective, as current prescription medications, such as Prozac, Celexa, and Zoloft for mild to moderate depression without the side effects of these drugs, such as an increase in suicidal thoughts. While few doctors in the United States prescribe Saint John’s wort as a first line treatment for depression, European physicians routinely recommend supplements containing this herb for both depression and anxiety.1,2,3,4
What makes Saint John’s wort effective in reducing depressive symptoms?
Once medical scientists discovered the powerful effects of Saint John’s wort in reducing depression, they started analyzing extracts from the herb to identify its active ingredients. The five bioactive compounds found in St. John’s wort so far include
Hypericin and hyperforin, which act to reduce mood symptoms
Runtin and kaeperferol, which are flavonoids
Quercetin, also flavonoid, which acts an anti-inflammatory agent1
Once researchers identified these nutrients, scientists started to explore other uses for Saint John’s wort.
Other health benefits of Saint John’s wort
During the past decade, medical researchers have made exciting discoveries in the many health benefits of Saint John’s wort. Some of the numerous health benefits of Saint John’s wort scientists have recently discovered include the following:
Reduces hot flashes during menopause: Judith Balk, MD, a professor at the Magee Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburg, conducted a randomized, placebo controlled study to determine if Saint Johns’s Wort had any effect on hot flashes. The participants in the study, 100 women between the ages of 45 and 55 who suffered with menopausal symptoms, took 20 drops of a Saint John’s extract containing 0.2mg/mL of hypericin twice a day for eight weeks. The women who took the extract reported a significant decrease in the number and intensity of the hot flashes they experienced.5
Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A study including 50 women diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome published in the International Journal Of Psychiatry In Medicine found that women who took Saint John’s wort supplements for eight weeks experienced a significant reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms and fewer than those reported by the control group.6
Possible role in the treatment of cancer: Scientists in South Africa conducted a literature review of studies related to hypericin to see if it increased the effectiveness of a new form of concentrated light therapy used to destroy malignant tumors. The research team found significant evidence that this component of Saint John’s wort increased the efficacy of photodynamic therapy.7 Another literature review found that Saint John’s wort holds promise as a future treatment for leukemia and other cancers.8
How you can benefit from Saint John’s wort
The recommended dose of Saint John’s wort for managing depression symptoms is 300 mg three times a day. Experts stress the importance of only using supplements that have a standardized dose like the Saint John’s wort extract from Source Naturals to ensure they are effective.
1Wong, S. Evidence based naturopathic practice literature review: Hypericum perforatum. Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine (2012)24(3), 97-99.
2Sarris J. , Kavanugh, J. Kava and St. John’s Wort: Current Evidence for Use in Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine. 2009. 5(8):827-836.
3American Cancer Society. St. John’s Wort.2008. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/st-johns-wort.
4Carpenter, D. J. St. John’s Wort and S-Adenosyl methionine as “natural” alternative to conventional antidepressants in the era of the suicidality boxed warning: What is the evidence for clinically relevant benefit?.Alternative Medicine Review. 2011. 16(1), 17-39.
5Balk, J. L. The effect of St. John’s Wort on hot flashes in women. Alternative Medicine Alert. . 2010. 13(7), 80-82.
6Hongyu, W., & Yulong, C. effects of antidepressive treatment of Saint John’s wort extract related to autonomic nervous function in women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. (2010) 40(1), 45.
7Maduray, K. & Davids, L.M. The anticancer activity of hypericin in photodynamic therapy. Journal of Bioanalysis & Biomedicine. 2011. S6:004. doi 10.4172/1948-593X.S6-004.
8Quiney, C. C., Billard, C. C., Salanoubat, C. C., Fourneron, J. D., & Kolb, J. P.. Hyperforin, a new lead compound against the progression of cancer and leukemia?. Leukemia .2006. 20(9), 1519-1525. doi:10.1038/sj.leu.2404301