This Natural Remedy Beats Depression Drugs

Dear Member,

I have new evidence that the common herb, St. John’s wort, works just as well as standard antidepressants like Paxil, Zoloft or Effexor—with far fewer side effects.

Researchers in Germany ran a “meta-study” of 29 clinical trials looking at St. John’s wort as a treatment for major depression.1 In nine of the larger trials, people who took St. John’s wort and those who took a standard antidepressant for four to 12 weeks had similar outcomes when it came to how well they felt after treatment.

You’ve probably heard of St. John’s wort. It’s a common flowering plant that became something of a fad a few years back for its mood enhancing power …until a virtual campaign of bad press sidelined it.

It is also interesting to note that of the roughly 5,500 people who took part in the various studies, no one reported dry mouth, headache, or more serious problems like the “bedroom blues” or suicidal thoughts—all risks with SSRIs. Nor were they at risk of becoming addicted or experiencing dangerous symptoms if they stopped taking it.

That usually isn’t a problem with St. John’s wort. In fact, people on St. John’s wort were a lot less likely to drop out of the trials since there were so few unwanted effects.

Here’s the hitch: St. John’s wort is not something you should take without medical supervision. It’s still a chemically active substance that can have an impact on your body. Like some antibiotics it makes some people’s skin more sensitive to sunlight. There’s a risk of interaction with some prescription treatments, including oral contraceptives and some sedatives.

That’s why in Germany they carefully regulate its manufacture and doctors keep a close eye on dosage and effects. It’s also why as many as sixty-six million Germans a year have gotten relief from severe depression with St. John’s wort—without the cost or the danger of Big Pharma’s drugs.

Not enough doctors know about safer alternatives like St. John’s wort. There isn’t enough independent information on some of the things to keep an eye on if you’re taking it. Since its manufacture and sale isn’t tightly regulated, you’re forced to choose your own brand without knowing whether it’s a pure and safe formula.

My advice is to look into St. John’s wort if you’re at risk for depression. There’s a wealth of good information about it on line, including the results of numerous studies proving that it works.

If you think it might be right for you, find a licensed healthcare practitioner who can advise you on good sources of St. John’s wort, monitor dosage, and keep an eye on its effects on your body. You’ll want to get regular liver function tests, for instance.

Ideally, the healthcare professional overseeing your treatment will have a working relationship with a good herbalist. Herbals taken directly from the plant are far superior to over-the-counter stuff. This way you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

1.Linde K, et al. “St John’s wort for major depression.” Cochrane Reviews. 2008. 4:CD000448.