St. John's Wort, an anti-depressant? A systematic, criteria-based review

Phytomedicine. 1995 Jul;2(1):67-71. doi: 10.1016/S0944-7113(11)80051-6.


The aim of this review was to assess controlled clinical trials of Hypericum as a treatment for depression. A systematic, combined computer and hand search revealed fourteen studies conducted against placebo and four against standard medication. Eight of the former and three of the latter met the predetermined methodological inclusion criteria and were admitted for analysis. The cumulative data shows that Hypericum is superior to placebo in alleviating symptoms of depression as quantified by the Hamilton Scale. It also seems equally effective as standard medication; the frequency of adverse drug reactions shows a clear advantage of the herbal over synthetic antidepressants. It is concluded that Hypericum is a safe and effective symptomatic treatment for various forms of depressions.