Depression Home > Does St. John's Wort Work?

St. John's wort is supposedly helpful at treating several conditions, but people may wonder, "Does it really work?" Some studies have suggested that St. John's wort is effective at treating depression. However, more research is necessary to confirm these findings. St. John's wort does not appear to help with HIV, AIDS, or hepatitis C.

Does St. John's Wort Work? -- An Overview

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herbal supplement often used to promote mental health. As with most herbal supplements, people take St. John's wort for many different uses. St. John's wort supplements are often claimed to help with the following conditions:
 
These are just some of the uses for St. John's wort. Some of these uses are more credible than others.
 

Studies on St. John's Wort

Many studies have shown that St. John's wort is effective for depression treatment, while other studies have shown no benefit. At this point, it is not clear exactly how effective St. John's wort really is for treating this condition. It may be more effective for milder cases of depression and less effective for more severe cases.
 
Because St. John's wort works similarly to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants, it would make sense that it would help for anxiety disorders, OCD, PMS, and SAD, because SSRIs often work for such conditions. However, this remains to be proven in scientific studies.
 
St. John's wort does not seem to work for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C.
 
For most other uses, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that St. John's wort really is effective at treating these conditions. More research is necessary before any conclusions can be made.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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