Treating Depression with St. John’s Wort

When my low mood was beginning to affect my life adversely in ways I could no longer deal with, I went to the doctor to talk about it.  I had recently begun going to counseling as well, and another treatment option that the doctor recommended to me was St. John’s Wort.  I was surprised that a mainstream medical doctor would suggest a herbal remedy, but she told me that it has been shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressants.

St John's Wort for Depression Treatment

St. John’s Wort is a yellow flowering plant that grows as a weed.  It’s medicinal use goes back for thousands of years for treating “nervous” conditions.  From what I’ve researched about it, my understanding is that studies show St. John Wort does treat depression effectively, especially mild to moderate cases.  Some people also have success treating a wide range of other ailments, though scientific research does not back them up as strongly.  It is believed that the therapeutic ingredients in St. John’s Wort elevate serotonin and dopamine levels while reducing adrenal activity.  I personally find that while I am taking St. John’s Wort I am less likely to get worked up and caught in a cycle of negative thinking or worrying.  I also have an easier time shifting my frame of mind so that I can put my “wellness toolbox” techniques into practice.

Some side effects may occur, typically not as severe as in prescription medication, though I have not experienced any myself.  There are also some conditions and medications that do not react well with St. John’s Wort.  Even though St. John’s Wort is over the the counter, talk to your doctor before beginning treatment.

All things considered, jumping into taking a pill (herbal or otherwise) does not necessarily solve the problem, it sometimes just masks the symptoms.  Emotions and feelings are messages from our bodies, and it’s important to deal with them.  The most natural treatment method, and I think best resource, is to start with therapy.

Have you tried any herbal remedies?  If you have or have had depression, what did you find to be an effective treatment?

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    August 27, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I also take St Johns Wort daily. I started earlier this year. Last month I ran out and stopped taking it (because “I didn’t have time” to get to Whole Foods) and I noticed a difference within a couple weeks. I won’t do that again. I find the same it helps keep me balanced and less prone to even mild swings. I meditate, see a therapist regularly, and as you said this helps me access and utilize those tools. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Reply
      August 27, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      That’s so awesome to hear. I noticed the same thing the first time I decided to stop taking St Johns Wort also. I’m so glad you have found it along with your other strategies helpful. Thanks so much for sharing your story as well. It’s always encouraging to hear we’re not alone in our experiences.

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