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National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

NCCIH Clinical Digest. For health professionals.

St. John’s Wort and Depression

October 2012
St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort, a plant that grows in the wild, has been used for centuries for mental health conditions and is widely prescribed for depression in Europe. There is public interest in the United States as well, and many people come to NCCAM’s Web site seeking information on St. John’s wort for depression, consistently making it one of the top five search terms every month. However, current evidence for using St. John’s wort for depression is not conclusive, and the herb can have serious side effects. It is also important to note that in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use as an over-the-counter or prescription medicine for depression.

This issue provides information on what the science says about St. John’s wort for depression, including scientific evidence, side effects and cautions, and tips for talking with your patients.

Time to Talk Tips: 5 Things To Know About St. John’s Wort and Depression

Read more about what the science says

Clinical Guidelines

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at nccih.nih.gov. NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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