St. John's wort helps hot flashes and depression of menopause

Though hot flashes grab the menopause spotlight, depression is a common problem affecting menopausal women. If you knew there was a safe, easily available herb that relieved both at once, would you run out and get it?

St. John’s wort is the greatest antidepressant of them all: herbal or pharmaceutical. So, it may not surprise you that the great herb helps the depression of menopause. But it may really surprise you that it crushes hot flashes at the same time.

An 8 week, double-blind study gave 70 menopausal women either a placebo or 330mg of St. John’s wort 3 times a day. After 2 weeks, there was no difference between the 2 groups. But wait until you see what happened when St. John’s wort was given time to do its work.

In weeks 4 through 8, the women on the St. John’s had a significant reduction in the number of hot flashes and the intensity of hot flashes. St. John’s wort produced a significant improvement on the Kupperman Index of menopausal symptoms. None of the women on St. John’s wort any longer suffered from severe hot flashes; whereas 31-43% of the women who got a placebo were still suffering from severe hot flashes: a significant difference.

And what about the depression part? When depression was tested after 8 weeks, 20% of the St. John’s wort group had mild depression and an incredible 80% had none. In the placebo group, only 5.7% were free of depression and a full 80% still suffered from mild depression. Like the improvement in hot flashes, the difference in depression between the 2 groups was significant.

This exciting study shows that St. John’s wort significantly improves the number and intensity of hot flashes, the symptoms of menopause and depression.

The first hint that St. John’s wort might help hot flashes appeared a decade ago when a double-blind study found that St. John’s wort reduced the number and intensity of  hot flashes more effectively than the placebo. In that early study, though, because of the study’s design, the improvements did not reach statistical significance. St. John’s wort also improved sleep quality and quality of life in that study (Med Sci Monit 2009;16:307-14).

Complement Ther Med 2019;45:109-113

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For much more on preventing and treating menopausal symptoms and depression, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia .

For comprehensive help with menopause and depression, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven now. Linda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.


The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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