Frequently Asked Questions
14. I've heard that the herb St. John's wort is used to treat depression. Does it work and is it safe?
A bushy, wild-growing plant with yellow flowers, St John's wort has been used for centuries in many folk and herbal remedies. It is commonly used in Europe to treat mild depression, and it is a top-seller in the United States as well.
In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, the herb was found to be no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill) in treating adults suffering from major depression.
Be sure to consult your doctor before taking St. John's wort, as it may interfere with other medications. On February 10, 2000, the Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Advisory stating that the herb may interfere with certain drugs used to treat heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and organ transplant rejection.