Anxiety (Panic)/DepressionKavaSt. John's Wort

Kava and St. John’s wort: Evidence for mood and anxiety disorders

 A broad range of mood disorders were reviewed by researchers at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, in Queensland, Australia.

First, the details.

  • Evidence of efficacy, mode of action, pharmacokinetics, safety, and use in the following conditions was considered.
    • Major depressive disorder
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
    • Generalized anxiety disorder
    • Social phobia (SP)
    • Panic disorder (PD)
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

And, the results.

  • Evidence supports St. John’s wort to treat mild to moderate depression.
  • Evidence supports kava to treat generalized anxiety.
  • Regarding the other disorders, only weak preliminary evidence exists for using St. John’s wort to treat SAD.
  • There are no published human studies on the use of kava in affective disorders, or in OCD, PTSD, PD, or SP.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded that the unstudied conditions are “potential applications that warrant exploration.”

7/21/09 18:46 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.