Which St. John’s wort supplements are best?
St. John’s wort is an herbal supplement known to treat mild depression and anxiety. Its scientific name is Hypericum perforatum, and it dates back to ancient Greece, where it was revered as an herb with mystical qualities. The leaves and flowers of St. John’s wort contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. People rely on its natural mood-boosting properties as a natural alternative to antidepressants.
If you’re looking for the best of the best, Nature’s Way St. John’s Wort contains 450 milligrams per serving to support a positive mood.
What to know before you buy a St. John’s wort supplement
What is St. John’s wort?
St. John’s wort is a medicinal herb used for years as a natural alternative in treating mild depression and anxiety. The natural active chemicals in St. John’s wort balance brain chemistry by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. Along with treating mild depression, St. John’s wort has various health benefits, such as detoxifying the liver, scar prevention and relieving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause.
Does St. John’s wort treat depression?
St. John’s wort helps treat mild depression. However, it is not recommended for treating severe depression. The herb’s concentration of the natural chemical hyperforin helps balance brain chemistry. People suffering from mild depression often have low serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels. St. John’s wort boosts these in the brain.
What are the other uses of St. John’s wort?
Along with mild depression, St. John’s wort is effective in treating symptoms of PMS and menopause and has added benefits for skin health.
St. John’s wort is shown to reduce the intensity of PMS and menopause symptoms which often include mood swings, headaches and fatigue. For PMS, the supplement works to combat the psychological effects of hormonal imbalances by balancing neurotransmitters like serotonin.
The antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in St. John’s wort improve skin health. Studies show that, when used topically, the herb helps alleviate skin irritation and prevents scarring.
What to look for in a quality St. John’s wort supplement
St. John’s wort supplements come in pills, capsules, teas, tinctures and topical lotions. If you have trouble swallowing or ingesting pills, a tincture is a great option that is applied orally underneath your tongue. There are no conclusive studies on the effectiveness of St. John’s wort in a topical lotion.
St. John’s wort supplements made with organic and sustainably farmed natural herbs are considered safer than nonorganic alternatives. “Organic” means it is made without pesticides, chemicals or synthetic materials. Look at the supplement’s label to ensure its ingredients were sourced from trusted, organic farms.
Some capsules are made with gelatin, an ingredient derived from animals. If you are vegetarian or vegan, look at the supplement’s ingredient list to ensure no gelatin was used.
Safety and side effects
Natural herbs may interfere with other medications and trigger uncomfortable side effects. Side effects from St. John’s wort are typically minimal and include fatigue, dizziness, restlessness, dry mouth, headaches and feelings of confusion. If you have skin that is sensitive to sunlight, wear an SPF 15 or higher, as St. John’s wort may affect your skin’s sensitivity to light.
According to Mayo Clinic, if you are taking prescribed medications, consult your doctor before trying St. John’s wort. One notable interaction is with the birth control pill, which can become less effective when taking St. John’s wort. If you have thoughts of self-harm, talk to your doctor immediately. St. John’s wort is not effective in treating severe depression.
If you are pregnant, about to be pregnant or are breastfeeding, you should not take St. John’s wort.
How much you can expect to spend on a St. John’s wort supplement
St. John’s wort supplements range in price from $7 to $20, depending on the quality and quantity of the product.
St. John’s wort supplement FAQ
Does St. John’s wort work?
A. Overall, St. John’s wort is shown to help treat mild depression. However, some studies show it had no more effect than a placebo. While there is conflicting evidence, most studies conclude that St. John’s wort works as a natural mood-boosting alternative to antidepressants.
How long does it take St. John’s wort to become effective?
A. St. John’s wort typically takes 3 to 6 weeks to become effective.
What are the best St. John’s wort supplements to buy?
Top St. John’s wort supplement
What you need to know: With 450 mg of St. John’s wort per tablet, this supplement is sourced from trusted farms in Chile and Europe to boost overall mood.
What you’ll love: They are gluten-free, vegan and the bottle is made with 97% recyclable materials. They’re free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
What you should consider: These tablets are more expensive than others.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top St. John’s wort supplement for the money
Nature’s Bounty St. John’s Wort
What you need to know: These capsules contain 300 mg of St. John’s wort per serving and support a positive mood.
What you’ll love: They are a cost-effective alternative to more expensive St. John’s wort supplements. They contain 0.3% hypericin.
What you should consider: These capsules are made with gelatin and are not vegetarian or vegan-friendly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Horbaach St. John’s Wort Tincture
What you need to know: This highly concentrated tincture helps support a healthy emotional balance and is made with trusted ingredients.
What you’ll love: This tincture is ideal for consumers that have difficulty swallowing or ingesting pills and capsules. It’s also gluten-free, soy-free, wheat-free and free of harsh solvents.
What you should consider: The taste may be off-putting for some consumers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Lilliana Winkworth writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.