St. John's Wort

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What other names is St. John's Wort known by?

Amber, Amber Touch-and-Heal, Barbe de Saint-Jean, Chasse-diable, Demon Chaser, Fuga Daemonum, Goatweed, Hardhay, Herbe à la Brûlure, Herbe à Mille Trous, Herbe Aux Fées, Herbe Aux Mille Vertus, Herbe Aux Piqûres, Herbe de Saint Éloi, Herbe de la Saint-Jean, Herbe du Charpentier, Herbe Percée, Hierba de San Juan, Hypereikon, Hyperici Herba, Hypericum perforatum, Klamath Weed, Millepertuis, Millepertuis Perforé, Rosin Rose, Saint John's Wort, Saynt Johannes Wort, SJW, Tipton Weed.

What is St. John's Wort?

St. John's wort is an herb. Its flowers and leaves are used to make medicine.

Is St. John's Wort effective?

St. John's wort can help for treatment of mild to moderate depression. It's about as effective as some prescription drugs. However, it might not be as effective for severe depression.

There is also some scientific evidence that St. John's wort might be effective for treating anxiety.

Oily preparations of St. John's wort seem to help stomach upset when taken by mouth. When applied to the skin, these oily preparations seem to help first degree burns, cuts and bruises, and muscle pain.

There is also some evidence that St. John's wort is not effective for treating HIV infection. Don't use St. John's wort for this condition.

There isn't enough information to know if St. John's wort is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: migraine headache, nerve pain, sciatica, excitability, muscle pain, cancer, obsessive compulsive behavior, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and many others.

Likely Effective for...

  • Mild to moderate depression. St. John's wort might not be as effective for more severe cases of depression.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Menopausal symptoms. Some research shows that a combination of St. John's wort plus black cohosh can help improve menopausal symptoms.
  • Somatization disorder.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Pain conditions related to diabetes (polyneuropathy).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Stomach upset, bruises, skin conditions, migraine headache, nerve pain, sciatica, excitability, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), muscle pain, cancer, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), smoking cessation, and other conditions.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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