Editor's Note
The authors of this study examined the effect of St John's wort on  menopausal women and found that  H. perforatum  could decrease menopausal symptoms as well as depression. Two groups received 270–330 μg of  H. perforatum  or placebo tablets three times a day for two months. The frequency and intensity of hot flashes significantly decreased in the  H. perforatum  group compared to the control group. In addition, the intensity of depression significantly decreased in the  H. perforatum  group compared to the control group. At the end of the study, 80% of women in the intervention group did not have depression compared to only 5.7% in the control group.
Highlights

  • Most postmenopausal women are suffering from hot flashes and also depression.
  • There are many studies about the effect of H. perforatumon mild to severe depression.
  • The connection of depression with the physiological changes in postmenopause, have insufficient information.
  • We examined the effect of H. perforatum on menopausal symptoms and depression.
  • Results showed that H. perforatum could decrease menopausal symptoms as well as depression.

Abstract

Objectives
Hypericum perforatum  (St John's wort) is an herbal plant that has antidepressant activity and contains ingredients such as flavonols derivatives, bioflavonoids, proanthocyanidins, xanthones, phloroglucinol, and naphthodianthrones. This study was aimed to test the effect of  Hypericum perforatum  on hot flashes, menopausal symptoms, and depression in postmenopausal women.

Design & setting
This randomized controlled study was conducted on 80 postmenopausal women aged 45–60 in Izeh, Iran.

Intervention
Two groups received 270–330 μg of  H. perforatum  (n = 40) or placebo (n = 40) tablets three times a day for two months.

Main outcomes
Data were collected using a socio-demographic questionnaire, the modified Kupperman index before the intervention and 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks after intervention. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale was used to gather data before the intervention and in the 8th week of intervention. The data were analyzed using an independent t-test, chi-square test, and repeated measure test.

Results
Seventy women completed the study and five women from each group withdrew the study. The frequency and intensity of hot flashes and the score of Kupperman scale significantly decreased in the  H. perforatum  group compared to the control group (p < 0.001). In addition, the intensity of depression significantly decreased in the  H. perforatum  group compared to the control group. At the end of the study, 80% of women in the intervention group did not have depression compared to only 5.7% in the control group (p < 0.001).

Conclusion
Treatment with  Hypericum perforatum  is an efficient way of reducing hot flashes, menopausal symptoms, and depression in postmenopausal women.