St. John's wort, also known as Tipton's weed a herbal supplement, doesn't benefit patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), say Mayo Clinic researchers. br>
St. John's wort is an herbal supplement derived from the St. John's wort plant. It has been shown to be helpful in several medical conditions such as depression as well as other pain syndromes.
Research has shown it to be as effective as conventional, prescription anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression.
"Our study investigated if herbal antidepressants such as St. John's wort could benefit irritable bowel disease patients," said Dr Yuri Saito, gastroenterologist and lead physician scientist on the study.
"Several of the chemical neurotransmitters that are in the brain are also in the colon. Therefore, it's been thought that antidepressants may affect sensation in the colon in a similar way to how they affect sensation in the brain. Our goal was to evaluate the usefulness of St John's wort in treating IBS," Saito added.
In the trial, 70 participants with IBS were randomized where half the patients received St. John's wort and the other half received a placebo for three months.
After three months of observing symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation and bloating, researchers found that the placebo group had a better response than the group taking the herbal supplement, St. John's wort.
"Because people tend to struggle with IBS for several years, patients are really looking for inexpensive, over-the-counter treatments such as St. John's wort," said Saito.
"Unfortunately, our study showed that St. John's wort was not successful in helping IBS patients, " Saito added.
The study is published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.