St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is perhaps the best known of the herbal remedies for depression.There are several studies supporting its effectiveness in treating depression. It is important to understand this tool for depression as well as the importance of addressing depression in patients.

Between 2009 and 2012, nearly 8 percent of Americans over the age of 12 experienced moderate or severe depressive symptoms during any given two weeks. Over 40 percent of people suffering from depression reported difficulty with work, home, and social situations. Depression was more common among women and adults between the ages of 40 and 60. It was also two and a half times more likely to occur for those Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those either at or above poverty level.

In addition to well-known symptoms such as lack of appetite, insomnia, and sluggishness, pain may also be associated with depression. In particular, chronic back pain is frequently coupled with depression, making it difficult for patients to sleep, concentrate, or do simple daily tasks.

St. John’s wort compared with medical antidepressants…

A study published in the journal International Clinical Psychopharmacology compared the use of St. John’s wort to the most commonly prescribed antidepressant, Prozac (fluoxetine). One group of patients received 250 mg twice daily of St. John’s wort, and the other group received 20 mg per day of fluoxetine. At the end of six weeks, patients taking St. John’s wort scored better on standardized depression tests than those taking fluoxetine. Furthermore, St. John’s wort had a lower incidence of adverse events (8 percent), compared to fluoxetine (23 percent).

A second study compared the use of the herb to another popular antidepressant, Zoloft (sertraline). In this study, 47 percent of patients receiving St. John’s wort showed at least a 50-percent improvement in symptoms (considered to be clinically significant), as compared to 40 percent of those taking Zoloft.

These are really good news for people who suffer from the most common psychological condition. By using St. John’s wort as a natural remedy can avoid the use of drugs.