Hypericum perforatum, commonly known at St. John’s wort (wort is an old word for medicinal plant), is an incredibly effective treatment for depression. It has been proven to be equally as effective as selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs), without the same side effects and withdrawal issues.
St. John’s wort is used to treat depression, anxiety and irritability, and also has an antiinflammatory action. It has antiviral properties, making it particularly appropriate for sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome, who often have chronic virus activation as well as depression and excessive inflammation. This herb can also be used topically for wound healing.
Because St. John’s wort stimulates liver enzyme activity, it interacts with many pharmaceutical drugs and should never be taken unless professionally prescribed. While it is a relatively safe herb on its own, it can be dangerous when taken with antidepressant drugs because it has similar actions, and essentially creates the effect of an overdose. Under professional care (from a herbalist or naturopath, working WITH your doctor), St. John’s wort may be used to wean the patient off pharmaceutical antidepressants, however this is a delicate process and must only be undertaken with the strictest of professional care.