If you are curious about the effectiveness of St. John’s wort for major depression, you also need to be aware of St. John’s wort interactions with antidepressants. While considering the evidence regarding this treatment, it is also important to take into account the possible risks of its use.
While many patients use antidepressant medications for depression, others have attempted to utilize “alternative” treatments. These include everything from herbal supplements to psychedelic mushrooms, with varying degrees of safety and supporting evidence. Medical researchers have recently undertaken trials to analyze the effectiveness of St. John’s wort for major depression. Read on to find out more about St. John’s wort.
Properties and Applications of St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort, or hypericum perforatum, is a plant with small yellow flowers. It has been dried and made into capsules, tablets, salves, and oils.
St. John’s wort has antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a neuroprotective agent. Due to its many uses, the ancient Greeks used it to treat wounds, lung and kidney issues, insomnia and more. Now, though, medical practitioners and researchers are considering St. John’s wort for major depression, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, PMS, menopause, and more.
Effectiveness of St. John’s Wort For Major Depression
Medical researchers continue to investigate the use of St. John’s wort for major depression, among its many other uses. A 2001 study found that St. John’s wort lacked any effectiveness for major depression.
Another study, from 2002, used participants from 12 academic or community clinics. The results of this randomized study, which compared participants taking St. John’s wort with those taking an SSRI and those taking a placebo, did not “support the efficacy of [St. John’s wort] in moderately severe major depression.”
By contrast, a 2008 analysis of randomized, double-blind trials of the effectiveness of St. John’s wort for treating major depression, found that certain St. John’s wort extracts “a) are superior to placebo in patients with major depression; b) are similarly effective as standard antidepressants; c) and have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.” In this analysis it also appeared that a longstanding history (or lack thereof) of acceptance by the medical community in a given country may impact the perceived effectiveness of the treatment.
Thus, scientific investigation has provided evidence both for and against the effectiveness of St. John’s wort for major depression. Regardless of its potential effectiveness, St. John’s wort’s safety is also important to consider.
What About Safety? St. John’s Wort Interactions with Antidepressants and Other Risks
When considering any treatment for MDD or other mental health conditions, it is important to be aware of safety concerns, such as drug interactions. One very significant risk is St. John’s wort interactions with antidepressants, which can result in a fatal increase in serotonin. Combining St. John’s wort with other medications, including antidepressants among many others, may also lessen their effectiveness.
Even aside from its interactions with medications, St. John’s wort may raise anxiety levels and can exacerbate psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. For these reasons, always contact a medical professional before taking St. John’s wort.
Treatment with Mid City TMS, A Safe and Effective Option
While St. John’s wort interactions with antidepressants, as well as its potential side effects, may make the herb an unsafe option for treatment for many patients, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a well-established and effective treatment. TMS can also be used in conjunction with antidepressant medication. .
At Mid City TMS, we’re always keeping informed and updated about treatment options for depression. If you currently suffer from major depressive disorder, we can help determine the best treatment plan for you. Our state-of-the-art equipment, caring staff, and personalized treatment plans will ensure you’re in good hands. Contact our team today to learn more.