Depression can be a debilitating experience for anyone who has or is suffering from it. With about one in ten people suffering from one of the depressive mood disorders each year it is an experience that unfortunately more and more people are going to go through. The growing number of mental health problems has lead to an equal growth in natural remedies and possibly the best known one for depression is Saint John’s wort.
Saint John’s wort is an herb that is native to Europe and has been used in herbal medicine for treating depression since its discovery. Sometimes in health food stores it will be under the name Hypericum which comes from its botanical name Hypericum perforatum. Like all plants St John’s wort has many chemical components in its makeup and the ones that scientists think treat depressive disorders are called hyperforin and hypericin.
St John’s wort or hypericum extract is thought to work a little like conventional anti depression medication. It is thought that it blocks the re-absorption of dopamine and serotonin. This is how the class of anti depression medication SRI’s or serotonin reuptake inhibitors work. By blocking the absorption of serotonin back into the body it allows for greater concentrations of serotonin in the brain and therefore a better mood. So in effect St John’s wort is acting like an SRI, albeit a low dose one.
Because St John’s wort is an herbal product, although an extensively tested one, there is little conformity in the amounts suggested for a typical person’s dosage. In tests the daily dose has ranged from four hundred micrograms up to one gram per day. Others suggest between two hundred micrograms to one gram per day. It really depends on the product brought and the individual person.
It is widely thought that the best dosage of St John’s wort for those with depressive disorders is around three hundred milligrams three times a day. Since this is an herb that is thought to be particularly safe the same amount is suggested for children under twelve. This dosage is only recommended for mild to moderate depression.
Unfortunately the only real way to know is to buy a St John’s wort product, read the label carefully for dosage instructions and follow them for a week or two noting any results along the way. That this remarkable little herb has an effect on mild to moderate depression is clear to many. However without licensing there will be no standardised model, no conformity of dosage available so like many herbal products the proof will be in the taking. Thankfully this in an inexpensive product so trying a little to see if it does work will not break the bank and may well prove a valuable addition to the depression fighting arsenal.