St. John’s Wort for Moderate Depression

St. John's Wort is a plant that has been used for centuries in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Major depression is defined as a sad mood or loss of interest or pleasure in activities for at least 2 weeks, with at least four other symptoms present.

An extract made from St. John’s Wort contains several compounds including hypericum, polycyclic phenols and pseudohypericin. These compounds are thought to be responsible for the extracts activity against depression. Scientists who have studied St. Johns Wort believe hypericum affects the amounts of neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood. When used alone, side effects such dry mouth, dizziness, and upset stomach have been mild and are uncommon. This herbal product should not be used in those with bipolar disorder, since it can cause symptoms of hypomania or mania. St. Johns Wort has been reported to

interact with several drugs including warfarin, indinavir, digoxin, theophylline,

cyclosporine, tacrolimus, MAO inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants,

and SSRI type antidepressants. Speak to a health care provider

to see if St. Johns Wort may be the right treatment for you.