St. John's Wort for Treating Depression
If you surf the web or read your local newspaper, you've probably seen
something about herbal supplements and
their role in treating depression
. While dozens of people swear by it, St. John's wort is still considered to be an alternative therapy by many experts.
A wild yellow flower considered to be a weed throughout most
of the U.S., St. John's wort has been used for medical purposes
in other parts of the world for thousands of years. Named for
St. John the Baptist (because it blooms around the day of his
feast), St. John's wort is continually being studied to try to
validate its alleged benefits.
Over 30 clinical studies have been conducted over the
past 22 years to evaluate the effectiveness of St. John's wort. The most recent
scientific trials in the U.S. showed that St. John's wort is effective for mild
depression but no better than placebo
treatment for more severe cases of depression.
While the true benefits of St. John's wort are still being
explored, if you do choose to use it, there are some things you
need to know.
How Do I Take St. John's Wort?
Both the leaves and the flowers of St. John's wort are
harvested, dried, and put into liquid or pill form. The dried
leaves may also be used as a tea.
Typically 2-4 grams of powdered St. John's wort is taken
three times a day for several weeks. It may also be taken twice
a day as a tea made with 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb.