St Johns Wort Effective For Major Depressive Symptoms

Life Extension Update Exclusive

October 10, 2008

Review finds St John’s wort effective for major depressive symptoms

Review finds St John’s wort effective for major depressive symptoms

A review published online by Cochrane Systematic Reviews on October 8, 2008 concluded that extracts of the herb St John’s wort are as effective for treating major depression as standard drugs. A number of clinical trials since the 1980s have shown that the herb could be helpful for individuals with mild to moderate forms of this devastating condition, and several trials have recently evaluated the effect of St John’s wort in individuals with major depression.

For their review, Klaus Linde of the Centre for Complementary Medicine in Munich, and his colleagues at the University Medical Center in Freiburg, Germany analyzed 29 randomized, double-blinded trials which evaluated the effects of St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) on a total of 5,489 individuals with major depressive symptoms. The trials included 18 comparisons of the herb with a placebo, and 17 comparisons with standard antidepressant treatment (6 trials compared both placebo and antidepressant treatment to St John’s wort).

The review found that St John’s wort performed better than a placebo against major depression. In trials which compared St John’s wort extract to other treatments, the extract was found to be equally effective against depression, with significantly fewer people dropping out due to adverse effects compared to those who received selective serotonin uptake inhibitors or older antidepressants.

St John’s wort contains a number of substances that have antidepressant properties, including hypericins, flavonoids, biflavonoids, xanthons, and hyperforin. The authors emphasized that the quality of St John’s wort extracts can differ depending upon the plant material, extraction process, and solvents used.

"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," Dr Linde stated. "Using a St. Johns wort extract might be justified, but products on the market vary considerably, so these results only apply to the preparations tested."

Printer Friendly Save as PDF Email this Page View Archive Subscribe Today
Health Concern Life Extension Highlight


Depression is considered the most common cause of disability in the United States (Norman TR 2006). According to the National Institutes of Health, clinical depression will affect up to 25 percent of women in their lifetimes and up to 12 percent of men. People with depression suffer in many areas of their lives, including sleep, eating, relationships, school, work, and self-image.

Treatment for depression is usually multifaceted, and there is no doubt that nutrition plays an important role. Research has shown that the body chemistry of depressed people is altered in various ways and that deficiencies in neurotransmitters, hormonal imbalances, and other nutritional deficits can contribute to clinical depression. Also, many people with depression do not eat enough, overeat, or eat nonnutritious foods. New research has also connected depression to inflammation and oxidative stress, which are both appropriately managed with nutritional supplements.

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a medicinal herb used for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including depression (Nangia M et al 2000). Compared to placebo, H. perforatum extract can effectively treat mild to moderate depression, reducing symptoms and recurrence rate (Lecrubier Y et al 2002).

The mechanism of action of St. John’s wort in depression is not entirely clear. One idea is that St. John’s wort affects presynaptic serotonin uptake and inhibits norepinephrine reuptake (Nangia M et al 2000). By affecting or inhibiting reuptake mechanisms of presynaptic neurons, St. John’s wort may increase availability of serotonin and norephinephrine. Clinical trials show positive response rates to treatment with St. John’s wort (Kim HL et al 1999; Linde K et al 1996).

Life Extension Vacations
Ring in the New Year in Spain, Ireland or Italy!

Ring in the New Year in Spain, Ireland or Italy!

What better excuse to travel than to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the New Year in an exciting destination.

Enjoy roundtrip airfare, first class accommodations, daily breakfast, sightseeing (per itinerary) in modern air-conditioned motor coach, services of English-speaking tour manager, services of local guides in all major cities, entrance fees (per itinerary), and more.

Additional tour packages are available to make this a most memorable dream come true.

8 Day New Year in Spain from $1779
8 Day New Year in Ireland from $1799
10 Day New Year in Italy from $2969

Life Extension Vacations (Operated by Caribbean Islands Travel) Phone: 1-800-791-4457
Office operation hours: Mon-Fri 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.

Featured Products

D-Ribose Capsules

add to cart

The primary source of energy for all cellular processes is a molecule known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Healthy, active cells constantly replenish their supply of ATP to produce vital cellular energy. However, under conditions of stress, injury, or aging, critical body tissues such as heart and skeletal muscles cannot produce ATP quickly enough to perform optimally.

D-ribose, a carbohydrate molecule found in every living organism, facilitates the production of ATP. In studies of healthy athletes as well as those who have suffered injury to the heart muscle, supplying fatigued muscle cells with D-ribose quickly restored ATP levels to normal. By helping to rapidly refill depleted energy stores, D-ribose may be especially beneficial for people coping with cardiac and other problems marked by impaired cellular energy production.

Natural Weight Loss

add to cart

Natural Weight Loss is a stimulant-free formula that includes Neuravena™ Bio Assay Green Oat Extract to reduce the desire to emotionally overeat.

Natural Weight Loss also contains pinolenic acid to increase hunger-suppressing hormones, along with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) to help increase fat-free lean body mass.

Pinolenic acid helps to suppress appetite by stimulating the appetite-controlling hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in the gastrointestinal tract.

News Archive

Life Extension Update

What's Hot

Life Extension magazine

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Update, send them to or call 1-800-678-8989.

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
954 766 8433 extension 7716