St Johnswort: Treatment for Anxiety?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Derek
Posted on: August 28, 1998

I bought some St Johns wort. In your Q’s and A’s, it is said that this is an ANTI-Depressant. I am only 19 but suffer from anxiety problems. I was told by someone that after two weeks her anxiety almost vanished after taking this medicine. I NEED Something to CALM ME! Will this work? I thought it was for people with anxiety problems. MAYBE BOTH? PLEASE CLARIFY.

On the surface it seems that anxiety and depression are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. But, in fact, depression is often accompanied by anxiety and insomnia. St Johnswort has long been used to treat insomnia, which is closely related to anxiety. According to Christopher Hobbs, author of "St John’s Wort: The Mood Inhancing Herb" (available from Richters), it is a very effective treatment of anxiety that is associated with depression. Hobbs devotes an entire chapter to a discussion of anxiety and insomnia, what he calls "The Shadows of Depression." He discusses the use of St Johnswort and other herbs, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes, to help control or extinguish anxiety symtoms. It is important to realize that there are wide variety of causes of anxiety including physical disorders such as thyroid imbalance or alcohol withdrawal. A consultation with a physician is necessary to establish what type of anxiety you are experiencing and whether St Johnswort or other herbs are appropriate.

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