Monday, October 13, 2008

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. Continue Reading

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