Doctor: St. John's Wort Not Proven

ST. LOUIS, April 9 (UPI) — An herbal remedy for anxiety — St. John’s wort — has not been proven, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Kimberly Zoberi of Saint Louis University in Missouri says not only have St. John’s wort and other herbs taken for anxiety — such as kava extract and valerian — not been shown to be effective, but there may be safety issues.

“Patients should be extremely cautious about garnering medical advice from the Internet,” Zoberi says in a statement. “There is no evidence that those medications are effective. If a patient wishes to avoid drug therapy, her doctor can suggest alternatives such as cognitive behavioral therapy.”

Zoberi recommends those needing anxiety treatment consult with a healthcare professional.

The article, published in the Journal of Family Practice, also looks at prescription drug regimens for patients with anxiety and notes the first-line treatment prescribed by physicians are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are safe, effective and more affordable. However, some patients suffer sexual or gastrointestinal side effects.

Some anti-convulsant drugs offer quick and effective anxiety relief without the side effects of other treatments, Zoberi says, but on the downside, they are relatively expensive.

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