St. John's Wort Eases Depression

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 11:41 AM

By David Brownstein, M.D.

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St. John’s Wort is a flowering plant, indigenous to Europe, which has been used for thousands of years in treating depressive symptoms. It is thought to work through the same mechanism as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), by impeding the reabsorption of serotonin in the
presynaptic area of the neuron.
 
There have been many studies comparing St. John’s Wort to commonly prescribed SSRI medications. The Cochrane Collaboration — an independent, nonprofit healthcare study group — found that St. John’s Wort was superior to placebo in patients with major depression, and compared favorably to SSRIs and older tricyclic medications.
 
Furthermore, St. John’s Wort was found to have 75 percent fewer side effects than standard anti-
depressive medications.
 
I have used St. John’s Wort to help wean patients off SSRIs. However, you have to be very careful when taking the two together. If you are taking an SSRI, consult your healthcare provider before using St. John’s Wort.
 
While St. John’s Wort can be helpful in treating depression, I believe other methods — including exercise, psychotherapy, cleaning up the diet, and drinking adequate water — are more effective, and, in the end, better options.
 
Today, 10 percent of the American population is on some kind of antidepressant medication, most of which come with harmful, if not dangerous, side effects.
 
This is hard for me to fathom. It also suggests that something is terribly wrong with the way the medical establishment handles depression.The truth is that you do not have to suffer from depression and you do not have to suffer from side effects of antidepressant medications.
 
While there are some patients who do benefit from antidepressants, for the vast majority of patients, natural therapies are safer and more effective against depression.
 
More information can be found in my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do.

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David Brownstein, M.D., is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is author of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter.
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