How effective is St John's wort for patients with major depression?
Findings were more favourable for St John's wort extracts in studies from German-speaking countries where these products have a long tradition and are often prescribed by physicians. In studies from other countries, St John's wort extracts seemed less effective. The difference could be due to the inclusion of patients with slightly different types of depression, but it cannot be ruled out that some of the smaller studies from German-speaking countries were flawed and reported over-optimistic results.
Extracts from St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) are widely used for treating patients with depression. Hypericum extracts contain at least seven constituents or groups of components that may contribute to its pharmacological effects.¹ Extracts of St John's wort are licensed and widely used in Germany for the treat•ment of depressive, anxiety and sleep disorders. 1. Nahrstedt A, Butterweck V. Pharmacopsychiatry 1997;30(Suppl 2):12-134