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St. John's Wort and the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Depression: A Systematic Review

Clement, Kimberly MS, APRN; Covertson, Catherine R. PhD, RNC; Johnson, Mary Jane PhD, APRN; Dearing, Karen PhD, APRN


A systematic review of randomized controlled trials was conducted to determine the efficacy of St. John's Wort (SJW) in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. The Boyak and Lookinland Methodological Quality Index was used to evaluate the studies. Despite methodological concerns, all studies demonstrated a significant drop in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores for clients taking SJW compared with placebo or pharmaceutical antidepressants. Practitioners may find SJW a viable complementary treatment alternative to traditional medical treatment. The results should encourage further research to validate these findings and seek the most appropriate preparations and dosing for this popular herb.

Central Utah Medical Clinic (Ms Clement); and the College of Nursing, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (Dr Covertson).

Corresponding author: Catherine R. Covertson, PhD, RNC, College of Nursing, Brigham Young University, 500D SWKT, Provo, UT 84602 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.