Treat Depression and Anxiety With St. John’s Wort

Depression and anxiety are common in modern life. Given the sensitive biology of highly sensitive people, they may be even more common among HSPs.

What are the causes?

Common Causes Of Depression And Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can come from physical causes as many HSPs know and also from situational causes.

Many people when they experience a significant loss in their life – a layoff from their employment, or a car accident –  can feel sad, lost, or hurt. These feelings are legitimate responses to real difficulties in life.  When feeling lost, hopeless, helpless, scared, alone, and anxious, we lose our desire for doing the normal activities of daily life. The difficult feelings caused by challenging life circumstances can last for a long time –  days, weeks even months.

It can seem that we are grasping at straws when we talk about the causes of depression. It has been attributed to past abuse, medications, personal conflicts, a loss or death, genetics, substance abuse, major life change, a major illness, or other traumatic events. All of these reasons may be right.

Different Degrees Of Depression

Depression does not come in one flavor.

An individual can be suffering from:

  1. major depressive disorder (MDD) which can causes disruption of sleep, work, and eating patterns as well as interfere with a person’s ability to enjoy simple pleasures. A person suffering from MDD will have these debilitating symptoms for nearly every day in a two week span or longer
  2. chronic depression which has the same but less intense symptoms of major depressive disorder although it usually lasts longer
  3. atypical depression which is unusual often starts in the teenage years and expresses itself as  overeating, oversleeping, fatigue, and sensitivity to rejection.
  4. seasonal depression which will affect one’s mood when the season changes usually starts in fall and ends around spring time.

These are just naming a few on the broad spectrum out their affecting nearly one out of ten people.

 How St. John’s Wort Helps

St. John’s Wort is a natural healing herb.

The herbal remedy is made from its flowers and leaves. It contains hyperforin, hypericin and pseudohypericin, three components scientists believe relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. St. John’s Wort has also been used to help people suffering from panic attacks, wounds, headaches, sleep disorders, nerve pain, and mild depression.

St. John’s wort has been used to relieve these symptoms:

  • being really tired
  • loss of sleep
  • appetite
  • insomnia
  • menopausal symptoms
  • eczema
  • anxiety
  • mild depression
  • trouble sleeping

Cautions For Using St. John’s Wort

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, St. John’s wort blocks your body’s abilities to reabsorb a chemical in your brain called serotonin leading to antidepressant effects. If it is taken with other antidepressant medications, you can trigger some complications like serotonin syndrome.

It can interact with other medications you are on and interfere with some antibiotics, benzodiazepine tranquilizers, birth control pills, anesthetics, some HIV treatments, rizatriptan, and reserpine.

If you are taking other medications it is wise to talk to your doctor before using Saint John’s wort. St. John’s Wort can also increase sun sensitivity.

Relieving Depression And Anxiety

St. John’s Wort is certainly worth considering if you are looking for a natural way to help manage depression or anxiety for a short period of time. For highly sensitive people who are not on medications it can be a useful herb.

It is not a substitute for engaging with the challenge of being highly sensitive, the lifestyle needs of HSPs and necessary lifestyle modifications that the highly sensitive require to be at their best. It can, however, have a place as a short term solution while other changes are being made.

About mgerard

Mike is a keen follower of trends in Ayurveda and Triphala Churna supplements. He also has professional interests in the field and often recommends diets that include supplements such as amla powder for hair. For more information about triphala you can visit triphala powder benefits website.


  1. LovesChild on February 26, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Hi I’m a HSP (40+yo). I have be diagnosed with MDD in the past and took antidepressants for nearly a decade (20s-30s). In the past few years I have worked out that I am highly sensitive and more importantly, always have been. I look back at my childhood and recognise an orchid-child. Over the years I think I perceived that deep feelings were not accepted, so I suppressed them. When bad, sad or painful things happened (and they do for all) I just tucked it away to deal with later, in private. Often later didn’t come, so the knock on effect was chronic depression and numbness. Now I am facing a chronic low mood. I took St. John’s wort and felt different in my thinking and feelings just hours after the first tablet. Everything I read says it takes weeks to work, but I know that antidepressants worked after a few days for me also. St Johns Wort is warned against if you have MDD a (major depressive disorder or chemical depression) because it doesn’t deliver as an antidepressant might or possibly cause Mania. As a HSP I believe we are much more in tune with our bodies. I believe it’s possible that when St johns Wort works we can feel it sooner and stronger if we have moderate depression and this causes positive feelings which are freeing so we want to express ourselves and this almost foreign feeling can be mistaken for mania. My point here is that perhaps St Johns Wort is strong enough to treat non-suicidal stronger depressions in HSP.

    • Maria Hill on February 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience; I hope it helps others dealing with similar challenges.

      All the best,

  2. K on July 27, 2015 at 9:03 am

    St John Wort was am amazing benefit. for me. I have a very high IQ, am sensitive and sometimes suffer from anxiety for no apparent reason. Taking SJW made a massive difference and I found my body was not going through anxiety attacks particularly in the morning. I just took it in tea form. No side effects!

    • Maria Hill on July 27, 2015 at 9:30 am

      I am so glaad it worked for you. I like the idea of a tea.

      All the best,