Depression, St. John’s Wort and Saffron

Anyone who has suffered from depression knows how painful and disabling it can be. The constant drain on ones spirit seems to take the meaning out of life . Medication can be helpful but for some the side effects are difficult. The weight gain, sexual dysfunction, constipation, dry mouth, and so on are more than some people will tolerate.

St. John’s Wort

Many people have turned to herbal medicine for help. Probably the most commonly recognized herbal antidepressant is St. John’s wort. It has proven to be effective in helping people manage depression in a variety of studies.

Side effects of St. John’s wort can include vivid dreams, tiredness, over sensitivity to the sun (usually at dosages of 2-4g/day), GI problems, allergy, dizziness, hypomania in bipolar disorders, and more.

St. John’s wort can interact with a variety of prescription medications. St. John’s wort can increase the effects of our body’s natural detoxification enzymes and reduce the effectiveness of certain medications. It may also combine with other medications and result in serotonin syndrome. For a list check Wikipedia.


When most people hear saffron they think of the expensive spice used to give food a wonderful yellow and red color and aromatic smells of honey.  The spice saffron comes from the stamen of the Crocus sativus plant. However both the flower petals and the stamen can be used therapeutically.  It can take up to 75,000 stamens to make just one pound of saffron.

Saffron has been used medicinally as an antidepressant, with a variety of studies that have shown that saffron can be nearly as effective as many prescription antidepressants. Saffron is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) as a food. (However saffron poisoning can occur at the dosage of 5000 mg per day.) Dosages studied for depression are usually 30 mg per day.

There are no known interactions with any other herbs or drugs. However people may be allergic to saffron. Also bipolar patients may find that saffron triggers hyper or hypo mania.

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About John Montague DC

John Montague DC is the owner of WebVitamins. He is active in the industry and is currently president of the NPA East.


  1. I used St. John’s Wort myself and it is really effective.

  2. Connie Fernandez says:

    I was wondering if Saffron was safe to take with Tegretrol, Tegretol is used to treat
    seziure disorders. I have not found anything on this,
    Thanks, for any info:
    Connie J. Fernandez.

    • jmontague says:

      While there are no known drug interactions remember that usually natural supplements are not tested as a drug. However saffron is GRAS or generally regarded as safe. It has often in foods and should be ok as lower dosages.


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