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In Brief: St. John's wort

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

St. John's wort: "Better, longer studies are needed to establish the effectiveness and safety of St. John's wort for treatment of depression," concludes a one-page review of the botanical featured in the Nov. 21 issue of The Medical Letter. The review, which discusses the plant's pharmacology, clinical trials and adverse effects, notes the "active ingredients, the potency and the purity of the preparations sold in the U.S. are unknown." Santa Cruz, Calif.-based American Herbal Pharmacopoeia published a 32-page monograph on the plant in August ("The Tan Sheet" Sept. 15, p. 16). An NIH-sponsored trial examining use of St. John's wort as treatment for depression will commence at Duke University in early 1998 ("The Tan Sheet" Oct. 6, p. 18). By the end of January, NIH will decide which of 12 applicants will supply the study material...
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