St. John's Wort: Choosing A Brand

What to Look For, What to Avoid

With the numerous choices of different St. Johnís Wort brands readily available for purchase, which St. Johnís Wort should you buy? Here are some tips that might be useful.

1) Make sure that the brand you purchase contains at least 3% standardized Hyperforin, since recent published clinical studies have shown that Hyperforin is the main active ingredient in St. Johnís Wort that affects depression. (Note that some brands are standardized to 0.3% hypericin but may contain little or no Hyperforin.)

2) Buy your product from a reputable manufacturer that employs quality control standards. The company should conform to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines, and ideally will manufacture products in a GMP-certified facility.

3) When buying on the internet, look for companies that provide detailed information on the product. A website that discusses clinical trials and quality-control measures demonstrates that the company is concerned about these important issues. If the company is honest, potentially negative topics such as safety and side effects will also be covered. (In other words, a ďsalesyĒ website with lots of promises and guarantees but no mention of research or safety issues is a red flag.)

4) Verify that the companyís claims are reasonable and true. Products from websites making claims of 100% cure rate, zero side effects, and no drug interactions should be avoided. No health treatment Ė whether prescription drug or natural supplement Ė will work for every person or be completely free of side effects. Any effective treatment may possibly cause side effects in certain people. And even the most effective remedies may be ineffective for some. An honest, legitimate company will provide clear information about the success rates and potential side effects associated with its products.

5) Ensure that your product is packaged in a bottle that blocks out light (such as a dark/amber bottle), since St. Johnís Wort degrades with exposure to light. White plastic bottles can actually let in damaging amounts of light.

6) Ensure that your product has been stored properly in a cool environment, since excessive heat exposure can degrade hyperforin (and thus reduce the efficacy of St. Johnís Wort).

7) And finally, a reputable company will at least have some kind of refund policy in place.
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