St John’s Wort Plant as Effective as Prozac for Treating Depression, say Scientists

My regular readers know I think all Prozac should be destroyed.  The article below states that St. John’s Wort is just as effective as Prozac, I would like to change it to a safer treatment for depression, as Prozac is far from safe.

“It has long been a happy alternative for those reluctant to pop pills for depression.

But the herbal extract St John’s Wort now has more than just cheerful converts to testify to its mood-lifting powers.

In what is billed as the most thorough study of the plant, scientists have found it is just as effective as Prozac at treating depression.

It also had fewer side effects than many standard drugs used to help those battling despair.

Researchers compared the effects of the plant hypericum perforatum – popularly known as St John’s Wort – with placebos or a wide range of old and new anti-depressants, including those from the new generation of SSRI drugs, such as Prozac and Seroxat.

The findings could prompt more GPs to prescribe St John’s Wort.

In Germany, it is commonly given to children and teenagers.

Experts do not know exactly how the plant lifts depression, although most believe it probably works by keeping the chemical serotonin, which is linked to positive moods, in the brain for longer.

The study’s lead author, Dr Klaus Linde, from the Centre for Complementary Medicine in Munich, pooled data from 29 studies involving 5,489 patients with mild to moderately severe depression.

‘Overall, the St John’s Wort extracts tested in the trials were superior to placebo, similarly effective as standard anti-depressants, and had fewer side effects than standard anti-depressants,’ he said.

But he pointed out that St John’s Wort products available in health food shops and chemists differed greatly and some may be more effective than others.

‘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,’ he explained.

Herbal extract from St John's Wort is thought to be just as effective as Prozac for treating depression, say scientists

The findings were published by the Cochrane Library, which specialises in systematic reviews of research studies.

A separate study has found St John’s Wort, available in countless health shops, is the only alternative medicine proven to have an effect.

Others, including ginseng, liquid tonic, cat’s claw, gingko biloba and royal jelly, had no firm base in evidence and could be dangerous when taken with other drugs, according to the study by St James’ University Hospital in Leeds.

Some other studies however have indicated that St John’s Wort may interfere with the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill.

Other reported effects have included dizziness, tiredness and hair loss.

The extract has become a popular alternative to anti-depressants such as Prozac and Seroxat in recent years following fears over the safety of SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) drugs.

Doctors have been told not to prescribe most SSRIs to under-18s because of an increased risk of suicide.

Experts have also said they could not rule out a suicide risk to older users.

Another study found that pregnant women who take SSRI drugs were at risk of having babies with birth defects such as cleft palates and heart problems.

Four out of five GPs have admitted overprescribing Prozac and similar drugs.

They blamed a lack of suitable alternatives, including behavioural therapy and social care as well as medicines.”

By Daniel Martin
Last updated at 2:02 PM on 08th October 2008

All information posted in this writing is the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer of your choice for medical care and advice.

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2 Responses to “St John’s Wort Plant as Effective as Prozac for Treating Depression, say Scientists”

  1. Kat Says:

    Hi. Just wanted to say that I think what you’re doing with this blog is awesome. It amazes me continually that people fall for the lies spewed forth by the medical and psychiatric professions, but obviously there are lots and lots of people who are missing lots and lots of information!

  2. Tania Says:

    This is a great article. I was on Prozac for 2 years and had chronic insomnia from taking it. I also developed skin problems as well. As soon as I stopped taking the prozac, my sleep came back and my skin got better. I’ve been taking SJW and find that it works well enough for my depression. I just hope that it doesn’t DECREASE in intensity over time. I guess we’ll see.

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