St Johns Wort and Depression - Best Known Herbal Remedy

How does the beneficial link between St Johns wort and depression come about?

Without much doubt, the most popular herbal remedy for depression the world over is St. John’s wort, which is also referred to as SJW. Some say St. John’s wort works just like any other antidepressant and operates on the selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting (SSRI) technique; the exact mechanisms, though, may not be fully known.

St Johns wort and Depression Relief - How It Could Possibly Work

Hypericin, contained in SJW, functions like most antidepressants and reduces the reuptake of neurotransmitters like serotonin. When levels of such neurotransmitters fall beyond a certain level, depression could result. SJW, because of its hypericin activity, helps maintain optimum levels of serotonin, thereby decreasing the chances of a person experiencing depression.

Recent research has added to knowledge of St Johns wort and depression, indicating the presence of another important active ingredient in SJW, called hyperforin, which also helps control depression through various activities. In most countries across the world SJW is available across the counter, except in Germany, where one requires a prescription to avail the herb.

Initially, SJW was used extensively to treat mild-to-moderate depression; it is, however, increasingly being used to treat various forms of depression, including post partum depression and bipolar disorder. Though the exact working mechanism of St. John’s wort hasn’t been established, it has been found to be effective in treating people suffering from depression. Indeed, the beneficial link between St Johns wort and depression has been harnessed by many.

While most antidepressant drugs have their own set of side effects, one of the main advantages of taking SJW supplements is that there are no serious short term or long term side effects. For example, it is said that one of the potential side effects of Paxil could be difficulty experiencing orgasm, while long term use of Paxil in elderly persons could result in driving them to suicide. It is therefore extremely important to understand the impact of taking antidepressants on a long term basis.

In comparison, St. John’s wort, accompanied with certain vitamin supplements like vitamin B6 and B12, might just work wonders for someone who is going through depression. Indeed, some people take St Johns wort and depression relief is experienced thereafter.

One possible dosage for SJW supplements would be three tablets of 300 mg, each containing 0.3% hypericin. Dosage is mainly decided based on body size and weight; therefore, smaller built people might want to take only two tablets of 300 mg each. In general, it would be a good idea to follow the dosage instructions which come with such supplements, or consult with a suitable natural health care practitioner.

How long does it take for the beneficial link between St Johns wort and depression to be felt? Generally, one can start seeing the results within the first week of taking SJW tablets, and it takes around six weeks for one to experience the full benefits of taking the herb.

A good time to take SJW would at night before going to bed, so that one can sleep through the night and wake up refreshed in the morning. An hour before retiring to bed would be ideal.

Other Nutrients, St Johns wort and Depression

SJW accompanied with vitamins like vitamin B6 and B12 will, in addition to alleviating the symptoms of depression, help improve energy levels. To further boost the benefits of St Johns wort and depression relief, a little exercise, sunlight and fresh air will help overcome the condition in a gentle and effective manner. Omega-3 fatty acids present in flax seed oil and fish oil, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, all help relieve the symptoms of depression, and it would be great to get good amounts of those in your diet, too.

Regarding side effects, there are certainly no life-threatening side effects experienced by people taking SJW. However, if one does experience any out-of-the-ordinary physical or psychological symptoms, one should stop taking SJW and consult his or her health care practitioner immediately.

Having said that, it is important to note that, when compared to various antidepressants and their long lasting side effects, SJW is actually extremely safe. Some of the reported possible side effects include sensitivity to sunlight and some eye problems because of photosensitivity (for which one can use shades while out in the sun). A few people have reported skin rashes and fatigue; these are rare occurrences, and if one experience these problems, it is advisable to stop taking SJW and consult a health care practitioner immediately.


In conclusion, St John's wort is very effective at treating persons suffering from mild-to-moderate forms of depression, especially when accompanied with other natural remedies and treatments. Indeed, the positive connection between St Johns wort and depression relief is undeniable, and this herb could well be the mood lifter which you need.

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