The Dangers and Benefits of St John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is possibly the most well-known of natural supplements for depression by dint of the excellent response it’s produced in clinical trials. This amazing herb has shown to be effective against depression, anxiety and even insomnia as well as helping to strengthen the immune system and relieve muscle pain. So why doesn’t everyone use it? Well, as with any supplement or prescription medication, one size does not fit all. Take a look at some of the pros and cons associated with this drug, then consider having a discussion with your doctor about whether or not this would be a viable option for you.


As previously mentioned, St. John’s wort has shown to be effective against depression ranging in severity from mild to moderately severe. In fact, in clinical trials St. John’s wort tested as comparable to prescription medications such as Paxil and Zoloft. St. John’s wort does this naturally with much fewer side effects than prescription drugs and generally much cheaper. Every time you start taking a prescription antidepressant there’s a chance that it will cause adverse effects in your body including dizziness, fatigue, lack of sex drive and weight gain as well as a chance that it simply won’t work at all…or worse, have the opposite effect.

In short, if you’re looking for something that’s natural, has a low risk of side effects, works well and is cost-effective, St. John’s wort may be just the thing for you. Additionally, St. John’s wort does not seem to produce the same kind of addictive effect that prescription drugs are known for.


While St. John’s wort appears to have much less severe side effects than prescription medications, there are still indications that there are still some side effects. These side effects are not proven to be a result of the supplement, but some people reported dizziness, nausea and decreased sex drive while on St. John’s wort.

Bear in mind that this supplement is definitely not for everyone. Namely, anyone with bipolar disorder should not take the supplement; if you’re unsure of whether you have bipolar disorder or not then make sure you only proceed under the close supervision of a doctor because St. John’s wort, as with medications such as Paxil, can be hazardous for bipolar patients because they do not have a mood stabilizer and can cause a very dangerous dysphoric mania.

What to Look for and What to Expect

If you just pick a St. John’s wort supplement off the shelf without knowing what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance you’re wasting your money. Many of these supplements on the market have low or no hyperforin content and so will be ineffective in treating depression, so make sure you select a supplement that specifically states a 3-5% hyperforin content.

St. John’s wort builds up slowly over time in the body, so expect to take the supplement daily for about six weeks before you see any results, though some people do see results sooner. If all goes well, you will see substantial alleviation of depression symptoms after that time with few or no side effects.

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