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St John's Wort is from the species Hypericum, which grows as an aggressive weed. It has been used as a folk remedy for the treatment of depression, anxiety, mania, hypochondriasis, fatigue, hysteria and insomnia. It also has potent antibiotic and anti-viral effects. No side effects have been reported in low dosages, but it can be very toxic if not used properly, at high dosages.

An article in Spring '96 Herb Quarterly, Feb '96 Better Nutrition, Apr '96 Townsend Letter for Doctors, Sep-Oct '96 Spectrum, and Oct '96 NewHeavenNewEarth newletter states:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the US and antidepressants are among the most fequently prescribed medications. Unfortunately, few peole in general and doctros in particular realize that St. John's wort is an herbal alternative that is safer and more effective than conventional antidepressants.

St. John's wort was compared to the commonly prescribed antidepressant, Imipramine in tests conducted between 1979 and 1993. Using the Hamilton Depression Scale as an objective reference, those taking Imipramine improved 45 % while those using the berb improved 56 %. St. John's wort also showed 4 % fewer side effects.

St. John's wort alters modd by modifying the brain's chemistry. Technically, the herb is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO). German studies showed that a few cups daily of St. John's wort tea can help with moderate depression.

A Doctor’s Guide to Herbs, by Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, May 31, 1998, Parade Magazine
Dr. Rosenfeld’s latest book is Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine

St. John’s wort (“wort” is old English for “Plant”) is widely used in Europe to treat mild depression. It acts much like Prozac, Paxil and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors but is less potent and has fewer side effects. Do Not combine St. John’s wort with any of these drugs. It also can cause photosensitivity, so keep out of the sun when using it. The usual daily dosage is 300 milligrams (of extract containing 0.3% hypericin) 3 times a day, and I wouldn’t take it for longer than 8 weeks.