Herbs for Health: St. John's Wort Research


| October/November 1997

A spate of national publi­city has pushed St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) into position as the most popular me­dicinal herb in the United States. A feature article in the May 5, 1997, issue of Newsweek was followed by a television segment airing June 27, 1997, on ABC’s 20/20. Sales of St. John’s wort products increased so dramatically after the 20/20 report that the products are now in short supply.

In Germany, St. John’s wort already outsells the antidepressant Prozac twenty to one, and some medical analysts have predicted that the herb could become the most widely used antidepressant in the United States within two years.

Much of the current media interest in St. John’s wort stems from a 1996 British Medical Journal report analyzing the results of twenty-three randomized clinical trials involving 1,757 outpatients diagnosed with mild to moderate depression. In fifteen studies, fourteen using St. John’s wort alone and one using a combination product, St. John’s wort was compared with a placebo. Eight trials compared the herb with standard antidepressant drugs. Six of these used St.-John’s-wort alone, and two used a combination product. Overall, side effects were reported in 19.8 percent of patients taking St.-John’s-wort and 52.8 percent taking standard medications. Only 0.8 percent of patients dropped out of the study because of side effects from St. John’s wort, whereas 3 percent of those taking conventional drugs dropped out because of side effects.

The authors concluded that St. John’s wort was significantly better than a placebo and as effective as conventional antidepressant drugs in relieving mild to moderate depression with far fewer and less serious side effects. They recommended further clinical trials comparing St. John’s wort with standard antidepressant drugs to discover the most effective form of extract and work out the optimal dosage.




Steven Foster is an author, photographer and consultant, specializing in medicinal plants.



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Get the latest on Natural Health and Sustainable Living with Mother Earth News!

Mother Earth News

Your friends at Mother Earth Living are committed to natural health and sustainable living. Unfortunately, the financial impact of COVID-19 has challenged us to find a more economical way to achieve this mission. We welcome you to our sister publication Mother Earth News. What you sought in the pages of Mother Earth Living can be found in Mother Earth News. For over 50 years, “The Original Guide to Living Wisely” has focused on organic gardening, herbal medicine, real food recipes, and sustainability. We look forward to going on this new journey with you and providing solutions for better health and self-sufficiency.

The impact of this crisis has no doubt affected every aspect of our daily lives. We will strive to be a useful and inspiring resource during this critical time and for years to come.

Best wishes,
Your friends at Mother Earth Living and Mother Earth News

Save Money & a Few Trees!

By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of Mother Earth News for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Classifieds