Mayo Clinic studies searching for an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) discovered St. John’s wort to be ineffective. The study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, explained that some antidepressants have been used as treatment for IBS, but explained St. John’s wort to no work as a treatment method.
Since chemical transmitters are similar in the brain and colon, researchers hypothesized that antidepressants would alter sensations in the colon much like they do in the brain. The study analyzed the effectiveness of St. John’s wort on treating and relieving irritable bowel syndrome.
For the study, 70 individuals having IBS took place in a placebo-controlled test. Half of the people were to supplement with St. John’s wort while the remaining half received a placebo. The study took place for three months. The average age for the study was about 42 years old, and more than 85 percent were women.
Typical irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include stomach pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and general stomach discomfort.
After three months of evaluation, researchers discovered individuals receiving the placebo responded better than those supplementing with St. John’s wort. While St. John’s wort is inexpensive and can be purchased over-the-counter, this study shows it as an ineffective method for helping treat IBS.
While the study did not find a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, it helps physicians further understand what to recommend to patients.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder in the United States and affects nearly 58 million people, most being women.