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St. John's Wort for Depression: 
A Good Treatment Option?

Is using St. John's Wort for depression a good treatment option?

Well, this herb has been used since ancient times to treat depression and anxiety. And St. John's Wort is so popular that, according to Nutrition Business Journal, Americans spent $57 million dollars on this supplement in 2015 alone.   


St. John's Wort for Depression:  A Good Treatment Option?
St. John's Wort for Depression:  A Good Treatment Option?

Image Credit: Pixabay


Scientists believe that the herb behaves similarly to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressants. SSRIs are drugs that help the brain make feel good chemicals: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

These feel good chemicals are responsible for regulating mood. The more of these chemicals you're able to make the better your chances of fighting depression.

Ok, so there's some evidence that St. John's Wort works for relieving depression.

But is this a safe herbal treatment?

From what I've seen. Some studies sings its praises, while others criticize St. John's Wort as nothing more effective than a placebo (sugar pill).

Personally, I think St. John's wort does what it's supposed to do.

I used it in the past and noticed some improvement in my depression symptoms. 

But, I did experience a few side effects.

Nothing serious.

It turns out, the herb made me sensitive to sunlight, a common symptom.  I felt dizzy and just "off" whenever I stepped into the sun.   

What are Others Saying About
St. John's Wort for Treating Depression?

There are plenty of reports out there on the ineffectiveness of St. John's Wort for treating depression.

A recent News Max Health article claims the herb is ineffective in a whopping 60 percent of lab tests.

According to the report, many supplement brands use inferior ingredients and don't have the right amount of hypericin and hyperforin, the compounds that make St. John's Wort effective.  

Also, many brands add fillers to their already sub-par formula.

St. John's wort is used by some people to treat mild to moderate depression but isn't proven effective in treating major depression.

I think this explains why so many studies are either inconclusive or claim the herb doesn't work.

It may be as simple as selecting a quality supplement.

By the way, the News Max Health Article provided a list of the St. John's Wort supplement brands that passed their rigorous quality test.  

St. John's wort is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also know as the winter blues, a form of depression that happens during the winter months due low exposure to sunlight.

Possible Side Effects of Taking
St. John's Wort for Depression

I'm a big fan of taking herbs, supplements, and vitamins as a treatment option for depression.  But I wouldn't be doing you any favors by ignoring the possible side effects of taking St. John's wort.

You may experience any of the following side effects:

  • Insomnia
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety (I'm not too convinced on this one because St. John's wort is also effective at treating anxiety.)
  • Upset stomach
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Skin rash
  • Tingling sensations
  • Vivid dreams

Talk to your health care provider before taking this herbal supplement if you're on any medication, especially antidepressants, birth control, cholesterol and allergy medications. 

St. John's Wort also lessens the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic drugs and medications that prevents the body from rejecting transplanted organs.

This video provides more information on drug interactions with St. John's wort.


How to Use St. John's for Treating Depression

St. John's Wort is easy to use.  It usually comes in capsules but can also be found in the following forms:

-Tea: the herb is dried and steeped in hot water. Follow the package directions.

-Extracts: a concentrated form of the herb.

You can buy St. John's Wort over the counter from your corner drug store.

Here are the recommended doses:

For adults with mild to moderate depression take 300 mg by mouth, 3 times a day with meals. 

I hope this article helps you on your journey towards better mental health.

Bright Skies Are Ahead,




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› St. John's Wort for Depression: A Good Treatment Option?



Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!




Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!