22 October 1999: For short-term treatment of mild to
moderately severe depression, St. John's wort is more effective than placebo
and similar in efficacy to low-dose tricyclic antidepressants. Based on a
meta-analysis of controlled, double-blind clinical trials, authors in the
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders (1999; 187: 532-9) stop short of
"definitively concluding that St. John's wort is an effective antidepressant"
because of design problems in the studies.
The herbal, Hypericum perforatum, was 1.5 times more likely to produce an
antidepressant response than was placebo. Tricyclic antidepressants were twice
as likely to produce side effects, and those reactions were more severe.