Experience with St John’s Wort based on people entering research protocols and seeking help from psychiatrists tells us only about the way the herbal remedy is being used and is working for relatively severe clinical problems. But the large majority of people who have turned to the herb would probably not fit into research protocols nor see fit to consult a psychiatrist. How is St John’s Wort being used by the general public, and how is it working for the problems of everyday life? Those are questions that I wanted to answer and realized that in order to do so, I needed to survey the public directly. I did so by means of a questionnaire, distributed in health food shops and pharmacies both in the United States and in Germany, and posted on certain Internet newsgroups. The stories detailed in this chapter are derived largely from responses to this questionnaire, some of which I followed up with telephone interviews.

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