7. St John’s Wort
St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from health food shops traditionally used for centuries to help manage depression. Studies have consistently shown that taking these supplements can help those struggling with depression. One review of studies in 2016 found that it “reduced symptoms of mild to moderate depression more than a placebo and similar to prescription antidepressants”.
Depression and anxiety often exist together, and St John’s Wort is also therefore used to manage symptoms of the conditions associated with depression, including anxiety, insomnia and SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.
Not many studies exist that look into the effect of St John’s Wort on anxiety alone, most focus on depression. But one small study in 2019 found that it helped participants “respond more positively to negative signals” which could significantly help those with anxiety.
However, St John’s Worth can interfere with antidepressants, anticoagulants and anti-seizure medications. It can also interfere with the activity of the oral contraceptive pill (often referred to as simply ‘the pill’) making it less effective. If you’re using the pill to prevent pregnancy, it’s advised that you also use a barrier method of contraception whilst you’re taking St John’s Wort. If in doubt, speak to your GP before taking St John’s Wort.