Q. This time of year, when the weather is bad and there isn’t much sunlight, I get really down in the dumps. I have found that St. John’s wort can help me out of my funk and it doesn’t ruin my sex life or give me insomnia the way Paxil or Zoloft do.
I have read that St. John’s wort might not be compatible with some prescription medicines. What problems would there be if I took it with my diabetes medicine? Are there any other interactions I should know about?
A. St. John’s wort remains a controversial herb against the blues. Several studies have shown it can be effective against mild to moderate depression. Other research has demonstrated no benefit for more severe depression. A review of complementary medicine for depression concluded that St. John’s wort can be helpful (Canadian Family Physician, June, 2011).
It is less likely than Prozac or similar antidepressants to cause insomnia or sexual side effects. But St. John’s wort can interact with many medications.
We are sending you our Guides to St. John’s Wort and Grapefruit Interactions: this herb will interact with many of the same drugs affected by grapefruit, but it reduces rather than raises blood levels.