Saint John’s wort alone or with black cohosh or chaste berry reduced hot flashes, improved sleep and quality of life, relieved symptoms of PMS, and improved mood in menopausal and perimenopausal women, in four new studies.
In a hot flash study, 100 menopausal women, average age 50, took a St. John’s wort extract three times per day or a placebo. At the start of the study, the women were experiencing about four hot flashes per day. After eight weeks, women in the St. John’s wort group were experiencing about 27 percent fewer hot flashes per day compared to placebo.
In another hot flash study, 47 perimenopausal women, aged 40 to 65, with at least three hot flashes per day, took 900 mg of St. John’s wort extract three times per day or a placebo. After three months, women in the St. John’s wort group had fewer hot flashes, improved quality of life for menopause symptoms, and had fewer sleep problems compared to placebo.
In a premenstrual syndrome (PMS) study, 16 perimenopausal women with irregular menses and PMS symptoms took 1,800 mg of St. John’s wort tablets three times per day, plus a 1,000 mg tablet of chaste berry extract per day, or a placebo. Compared to placebo, women who took St. John’s wort with chaste berry (vitex) had far fewer PMS-like symptoms overall and those who had reported depression or food cravings also improved.
In a mood study, over 6,000 menopausal women took black cohosh with or without St. John’s wort. Researchers followed the women for 6 to 12 months to evaluate symptoms such as hot flashes, heart palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, depression and irritability. Both groups improved in all areas, but mood improved most in women who took black cohosh and St. John’s wort together.