BBC NEWS ONLINE
Thursday, 31 August, 2000, 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
Herb 'as effective as antidepressants'
The herb St John's wort is as effective as standard antidepressant therapy,
according to a major research trial.
They found that an extract of the herb, known technically as Hypericum
perforatum, was as effective at easing the symptoms of depression as the
commonly used drug imipramine.
Scientists from the University of Giessen in Germany, are recommending that the
herb should be considered as a first line treatment for patients with mild to
Britons spend around £5m a year on St John's wort and an estimated two million
people have tried it.
However, the use of the herb to treat depression has been controversial.