RCT supports efficacy of St John’s wort for postmenopausal symptoms and depression

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / aga7ta
© Getty Images / aga7ta
Supplements of St John’s wort may help reduce the incidence of hot flashes and help depression in postmenopausal women, says a new study.

According to the recent report from the American Botanical Council, sales of St John’s wort were $5.77 million in US mainstream multi-outlet channel in 2018 (Herbalgram 123​).

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum​ L.) is most commonly used for depression. There is strong scientific evidence that it is effective for mild-to-moderate depression​.

The new study, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine​ indicated that the herb may also reduce menopausal symptoms, in addition to further supporting the potential anti-depressive activity.

“H. perforatum is an efficient way for reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes, menopausal symptoms, as well as depression in postmenopausal women. Using this herb in postmenopausal women is recommended,” ​wrote researchers from the Menopause & Andropause Research Center at the Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences in Iran.

Study details

The scientists recruited 80 postmenopausal women aged between 45 and 60 to participate in their randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Women were randomly assigned to receive St. John’s wort supplements (0.990 mg extract of H. perforatum​ per day) or placebo for two months.

Results showed that, for the 70 women who completed the study, the frequency and intensity of hot flashes were significantly decreased in the women receiving the St John’s wort supplement.

“[A]t the end of the 8th week, 62.9% of women in the H. perforatum were free of hot flashes compared to only 2.9% in the control group,” ​wrote the researchers.

In addition, after two months of intervention, four out of five women in the St John’s wort group did not have depression compared to only 5.7% in the control group, according to the Hamilton scale.

Source: Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.05.028
“The effect of Hypericum perforatum on postmenopausal symptoms and depression: A randomized controlled trial”
Authors: A. Eatemadnia et al.

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