The National Institutes of Health has launched a study of the popular
herb St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) in individuals
with minor depression. The three-armed, double-blind study will test the herb
against the prescription antidepressant citalopram (Celexa) and placebo.
Patients who improve after 12 weeks will continue with the same treatment
(or placebo); those who do not will be switched to a second arm.
Two recent studies found that St John's Wort was not effective in treating
major depression (JAMA. 2001;285:1978-1986 and 2002;287:1807-1814).
Vastag B. Low-Birth Weight Equals Higher Health Risks. JAMA. 2003;289(15):1915. doi:10.1001/jama.289.15.1915-a