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Efficacy and safety of St. John's wort for the treatment of major depression

  • Monica Nangia (a1), Waqar Syed (a1) and P Murali Doraiswamy (a1)

Extracts of St. John's wort have been widely used in the treatment of depression. Our aim was to review information related to the efficacy and safety of St. John's wort as an antidepressant.

Data sources

Primary and review articles were identified by a search of Medline (1960 to February 2000) and through secondary sources.

Study selection

All the articles identified from the data sources were evaluated and all relevant information was included in this review. The pharmacokinetics, mechanism of action, efficacy, side effects and drug interactions of St. John's wort have been examined in various studies.


St. John's wort is a promising investigational antidepressant, but the data are not yet sufficient to accept hypericum as a first line antidepressant preparation for treatment of depression. Besides the need for dose standardization and adequate trial lengths, there is a need for studies in severely depressed patients and long-term studies to assess the risk of relapse and recurrence.

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