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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

St. John's Wort treats major depression

Over many years of clinical and educational work in the areas of medicine and natural health care I have seen very good results from using properly prepared extracts of St. John's Wort. This has been in contrast to so many so-called studies about this herb in an effort to downplay effectiveness.

In 2003 I wrote on this issue.

In 2005 I reported on this issue.

And for those of us who now, in the northern hemisphere, are heading into the darker, colder months, I mention St. John's Wort (SJW) in this article from 2004.

Amidst all the work that has shown SJW to be effective for depression and mood elevation among its other benefits I was subjected to a substantial amount of verbal attacks for my position from psychologists and others in mainstream medicine who have a vested interest in promoting drugs, while denigrating natural therapies.

Needless to say, SJW is not fluoride based like the majority of SSRI anti-depressants and it has few if any of the serious side effects similar to these pharmaceuticals. The herb did not push tryptophan out of favor either.

Additionally SJW is a nervous system nutritive and it acts as a very potent form of natural interferon which reinforces its anti-viral benefits.

For excellent quality spagyrically prepared SJW extract please contact us.
St. John's Wort effective for depression
Tue Oct 7, 2008

The herbal remedy St. John's Wort effectively treats symptoms of major depression, an analysis of previous studies found on Wednesday.

St. John's Wort extracts tested in the different trials were better than placebos and as effective as standard antidepressants with fewer side effects, the researchers reported in the Cochrane review, a journal that analyses medical and scientific studies.

"The studies came from a variety of countries, tested several different St. John's Wort extracts, and mostly included patients suffering from mild to moderately severe symptoms," Klaus Linde of the Center for Complementary Medicine in Munich, Germany wrote.

The herb works in a similar way to some prescription antidepressants by increasing the brain chemical serotonin, involved in controlling mood.

The Cochrane review analyzed 29 studies that together included 5,489 men and women with symptoms of major depression and compared the remedy's effectiveness with placebos and standard treatments.

The researchers found that St. John's Wort extracts were not only effective but that fewer people taking them dropped out of the trials due to adverse side effects.

They also noted that results were more favorable in German-speaking countries where doctors often prescribe the remedy and cautioned against using the remedy without medical advice because the extracts can affect other drugs' work.

In Germany such herbal treatments are also more controlled for content, unlike in many other markets where the quality and content of herbal products may vary considerably.

"Using a St. John's Wort extract might be justified, but products on the market vary considerably, so these results only apply to the preparations tested," Linde said.

Depression is a leading cause of suicide and affects about 121 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Standard treatments include Prozac, which U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co introduced in 1987.

The treatment, which belongs to a class of compounds called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), is now off patent and widely available generically as fluoxetine.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Maggie Fox)
Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited.

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