MILD MOOD DISORDERS – How Much Do We Know About Treatment With Herbal Medicines?

Posted on August 18, 2020

St John’s Wort, a plant that grows in the wild has been used for centuries in treating mood disorders and is widely prescribed in Europe. Research on this herb has been undertaken by an Australian study group located at the National Centre For Complementary and Integrative Health (Sydney).

Mood disorders come in many forms, from mild to serious. Symptoms can include areas likes; how you think, how you feel and how you manage day to day activities such as eating , sleeping and working.

There are a number of indicators which are associated with mood disorders, and these include

  • Feeling sad or anxious often or all of the time
  • Not wanting to participate in activities
  • Irritability, frustration and restless
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating more or less
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helpless
  • Suicidal or self-harm thoughts

Mood disorders can be serious and need support either from family, friends or suitably qualified healthcare providers. It’s so important not to ignore the symptoms and seek help immediately.

St John’s Wort has been studied for its effectiveness in treating mood disorders. The study data shows a mixed set of results however; in mild mood disorders, the herb does show promise as an effective treatment therapy. It’s important to acknowledge that St John’s Wort does interact with prescription medications and therefore it is very important to discuss use of the herb with your healthcare provider to ensure that current medications are not likely to be affected by the herb.

While St John’s Wort has an immense history of use in treating disturbed mood, this therapeutic area is by and large a very complex disease state and needs professional help particularly if there are thoughts of suicide. Use of herbal support medicines needs to be done with care and professional advice.

Key points to remember

  • St John’s wort appears to be an effective treatment for mild non-melancholic mood disorders
  • It is not advisable to treat people who have significant major mood disorders with St John’s wort, given the risks associated with ineffective treatment
  • Because of problems with adverse drug reactions, St John’s wort may not be suitable for everyone
  • St John’s wort should not be taken in combination with other prescription drugs, including antidepressants. If you are taking other medication, check with your GP first.

Can we also recommend some great contact points if you or anyone you know is suffering from chronic depression?

  • GP’s
  • Lifeline
  • Beyond Blue

As we mentioned earlier, treating mood disorders and their symptoms is complex and while herbal medicines and remedies are available; it’s important that you speak to your healthcare provider and discuss options which may or may not include herbs such as St John’s Wort.

Be safe and Stay Healthy