ST. JOHN'S WORT: NATURE'S PROZAC?

DESPITE ITS GROWING POPULARITY, ST. JOHN'S WORT HAS YET TO CONVINCE SKEPTICS THAT IT'S SAFE AND EFFECTIVE

To dispel the dark moods that dogged her through life, Truen Bergen tried every antidepressant imaginable. But she hated the side effects, which ranged from a sharp prickling sensation to mild hypertension. Then she heard about St. John's wort, a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries in teas and tinctures. "I figured it couldn't be any worse than the medication I was already taking," says Bergen, 49, an airline purser from San Diego, Calif. "Then, after two or three weeks, it dawned on me. I felt balanced and good. I felt happy."

A folk remedy? You bet. But St....

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