St. John's wort is a yellow-flowered plant (also known as Hypericum perforatum
) that has been used for centuries as a medicinal cure-all. Science recently bolstered the herb's rep: In a 2009 review of 29 international studies, St. John's wort came out ahead of placebos as a treatment for depression
and was as effective in treating mild to moderate depression as several popular prescription antidepressants (however, two other studies conducted in the U.S.
were not able to back up these claims). Preliminary research suggests that St. John’s wort may work by preventing nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing chemical messengers like dopamine and serotonin.
Unlike the other treatments mentioned here, St. John's wort can have serious side effects, and it can interfere with other medications (like antidepressants and birth control pills)
, so get your doctor's go-ahead before trying it.