St. John's Wort 'helps ease depression'
The herbal remedy St John’s Wort can help ease symptoms of depression, say scientists.
The plant extract has been used by millions each year and previous reports have indicated it can help those suffering with milder forms of depression.
However, new trials on St. John’s Wort have shown the herb is as effective as standard antidepressants and has fewer side effects.
The report published in the Cochrane review, a journal that analyses medical and scientific studies concluded: ‘Overall, we found that the St. John’s Wort extracts tested in the trials were superior to placebos and as effective as standard antidepressants, with fewer side effects.’
However the team of experts were quick to point out that forms of St. John’s Wort vary considerably. ‘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.’
The herb works in a similar way to some prescription antidepressants by boosting the brain chemical serotonin, which controls mood. According to the World Health Organization depression affects around 121 million people worldwide.