Benefits of St. John's Wort
There are numerous alleged uses of St. John's wort. Benefits of this herbal supplement include treating depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, menopause symptoms, and migraines. However, some of these uses have been shown to be more credible than others. St. John's wort may help increase the level of serotonin in the brain, which may help relieve symptoms of depression in a similar way to SSRI antidepressants.
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a yellow flowering plant that is native to Europe. It is also a popular dietary supplement. St. John's wort supplements are often claimed to help treat many different conditions, such as:
- Dysthymia, a milder form of depression
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Menopause symptoms
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Nerve pain.
Some of these alleged St. John's wort benefits are more credible than others (see Does St. John's Wort Work? for more information). As with many supplements, claims for these benefits are sometimes exaggerated, and these claims must be evaluated critically. Natural products should not be used carelessly, as many can be quite toxic (for instance, many poisons are natural).
In addition, this herbal supplement can react negatively with many medications. For many people, the risks due to St. John's wort drug interactions may outweigh any possible benefits the supplement provides.