Clinical Studies of St John’s Wort

Most of the studies of the efficacy of St. John’s Word were conducted in Europe. In 1994, the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology devoted an issue to hypericum.

Later, the British Medical Journal published an article reviewing the data on well-conducted clinical studies of St. John’s Wort for depression. In the article, three simple questions were asked:

  • Is St John’s Wort more effective than a placebo?
  • Is it as effective as standard antidepressant treatments?
  • Does it have fewer side effects than standard antidepressive treatments?

Altogether, the authors of the article analyzed 23 randomized trials involving 1757 patients suffering from mild to moderate depression.

In thirteen trials of St Johns Wort versus a placebo, St John’s wort was found to be clearly superior to the placebo, yielding a response rate of fifty five percent as compared to twenty two percent for the placebo treatment.

In three trials of St John’s Wort versus standard antidepressants, the two treatments were very similiar. But when side effects were compared, St. John’s Wort emerged as the clear winner, with approximately 20 percent of the hypericum group reporting side effects as compared to fifty three percent of those taking standard antidepressants.

The article concluded rather persuasively that St. John’s Wort is superior to a placebo in the treatment of mild to moderate depression and that it has a very benign side effect profile.

Unfortunately, there have been no long-term studies of the antidepressant effects of St. John’s Wort, but this is no different from many of the conventional antidepressants for which long-term studies are lacking.


This entry was posted on Monday, January 9th, 2006 at 2:39 pm and is filed under Depression, Supplements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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