The Benefits of St. John's Wort & Seasonal Depression

by Maranda Johnson



Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that typically occurs during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. Symptoms of SAD may include feeling hopeless and anxious, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and changes in sleep and appetite. If you think you may be experiencing seasonal depression, there are several things you can do to help manage your symptoms.

  1. Make sure to get enough sunlight and exercise. Taking a walk outside each day or sitting near a bright window can help.
  2. Engage in activities you enjoy. Whether it’s listening to music, playing an instrument, gardening, cooking, or doing a craft, make time each day to do something you find enjoyable.
  3. Create a daily routine. Structure can help ease the symptoms of depression. Make it a priority to do something each day that brings you comfort and joy.
  4. Reach out to friends and family. Talk to people you trust and make sure to stay connected with them.
  5. Seek professional help. If your symptoms persist, talk to a mental health professional about treatment options.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing seasonal depression, so it’s important to find what works best for you.


St. John's wort is a flowering plant that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It is most commonly known for its potential to improve mood and reduce mild to moderate depression. It may also have other potential benefits, such as helping with anxiety, insomnia, and menopausal symptoms. 

Our founders here at The Good Stuff Botanicals, hike up into the Mountains of Montana and thoughtfully harvest St. John's Wort that grows wildly in the summer months and then quickly add them to an oil and let the flowers infuse for up to 3 months. 

You can also use our infused oil made with wildcrafted St. John's Wort topically for inflamed joints and tendonitis and to ease nerve pains. If you consider yourself introverted and social scenes elevate your anxiety levels, let St John's be your shield. Apply the oil to your arms, chest, torso, and even your ear lobes (that's a blog post for another day, but this is key). This can really help calm your nervous system. Research suggests that St John's wort works in a similar way to standard antidepressant medication, by increasing the activity of brain chemicals such as serotonin and noradrenaline that are thought to play an important part in regulating our mood.

In 2016, an in-depth review of 35 studies examined these effects. It found that St. John’s wort (4Trusted Source):

  • Reduced symptoms of mild and moderate depression more than a placebo
  • Reduced symptoms to a similar extent as prescription antidepressants
  • Appeared to have fewer side effects than prescription antidepressants
  • Doesn’t seem to reduce sex drive, a common side effect of antidepressants

There was a lack of research on its effects on severe depression.

Another recent analysis looked at 27 studies comparing the effects of St. John’s wort and antidepressant medication. It showed that St. John’s wort had effects similar to those of antidepressants on mild to moderate depression.

It also found fewer people stopped taking St. John’s wort during the studies, compared to antidepressants. This could be due to its fewer side effects (5Trusted Source).

Furthermore, in one controlled study, 251 people who took 900–1,800 mg of St. John’s wort for six weeks experienced a 56.6% decrease in their depression score, compared to a 44.8% decrease in those on antidepressants (6Trusted Source).

Lastly, another controlled study of 241 people taking either St. John’s wort or an antidepressant found that 68.6% of people experienced a reduction in symptoms with St. John’s wort, compared to 70.4% of those on an antidepressant (7Trusted Source).

However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking St. John's wort, as it can interact with certain medications and supplements. 


St John's Wort