That was the result of a study conducted in Germany last year and reported in the journal Pharmacopsychiatry .1, 2
- Clinical trial: Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter
- Participants: 388 outpatients, 6-week treatment
- Interventions: St John's wort 900 mg/day, or Celexa (citalopram) 20 mg/day, or Placebo
Based on changes in mood and number of people responding, "The hypericum [St. John's wort] group was not statistically different from the citalopram [Celexa] group, and significantly superior to the placebo group."There's a wealth of untapped therapeutic aid to be found in botanicals. It's unfortunate there isn't a good pool of research to assure its safety and efficacy, not in the US at least. I don't expect that will change soon given the disparity in industry profits between herbals and synthetics:
"Significantly more adverse events with "certain", "probable" or "possible" relation to study medication were documented in the citalopram group."
"These results revealed that hypericum extract STW3-VI is a good alternative to chemically defined antidepressants in the treatment of outpatients with moderate depression."
Retail price for 30 day supply:
- St. John's wort extract, 300 mg, 90 caps: $8.99 (Vitamin Shoppe brand)
- Celexa (Forest Pharmaceuticals), 20 mg, 30 tabs: $103.62 (Drugstore.com)
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2 It's a good idea to check with your doctor before self-medicating depression. There's a risk in undertreating more potent, clinical depression. And it's come to light that children and adolescents may experience sudden, undesirable changes in mood while taking an antidepressant. In regards to St. John's wort specifically, this herb affects a particular enzymatic pathway that the body uses to metabolize drugs. As such, it may interfere with the action of other drugs you may be taking. Just get the nod from your doc.