The experimental and clinical pharmacology of St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum L.)

Nathan, P.J.
July 1999
Molecular Psychiatry;1999, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p333
Academic Journal
Hypericum (St John's Wort) is a plant that has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Pre-clinical animals studies suggest that hypericum is effective in three major biochemical systems relevant for antidepressant activity, namely the inhibition of the synaptic re-uptake system for serotonin (5-HT), noradrenaline (NA) and dopamine (DA). It is the only antidepressant capable of inhibiting the re-uptake of 5-HT, NA and DA with similar potencies. The potencies for monoamine re-inhibition and chronic changes in receptors are also consistent with changes seen with known antidepressants. Behavioral studies suggest that hypericum is active in pre-clinical animal models of depression with comparable effects to known antidepressants. Supporting the pre-clinical pharmacology and efficacy, many clinical studies have shown that hypericum has superior efficacy compared to placebo and comparable efficacy to standard antidepressants in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression. The advantage of hypericum over other antidepressants may result from its favorable side-effect profile. Although pre-clinical and short-term clinical studies demonstrate antidepressant activity, the lack of long-term use and efficacy, and the heterogeneity of patients, interventions, extract preparations from previous clinical studies suggests that more careful and controlled studies are needed to determine the long-term efficacy of hypericum in mild-to-moderate depression.


Related Articles

  • In vitro receptor screening of pure constituents of St. John's wort reveals novel interactions with a number of GPCRs. Butterweck, Veronika; Nahrstedt, Adolf; Evans, Jon; Hufeisen, Sandy; Rauser, Laura; Savage, Jason; Popadak, Beth; Ernsberger, Paul; Roth, Bryan L. // Psychopharmacology;2002, Vol. 162 Issue 2, p193 

    Presents a study to analyze several pure compounds of the psychotherapeutic phytomedicine hypericum perforatum L., or St. John's wort, to gain insight into the molecular actions of various substituents. Methods; Results; Conclusion that several pure substances in St. John's wort are potential...

  • Hypericum japonicum Thunb. ex Murray: Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, Quality Control and Pharmacokinetics of an Important Herbal Medicine. Lin-Sheng Liu; Meng-Hua Liu; Jing-Yu He // Molecules;Aug2014, Vol. 19 Issue 8, p10733 

    Hypericum japonicum Thunb. ex Murray is mainly distributed throughout Asia, Oceania and North America and is used as an important herbal medicine. H. japonicum contains many valuable secondary metabolites, such as flavonoids, phloroglucinols and xanthones and has hepatoprotective, anti-tumor,...

  • Determination of phenolic compounds in flowers of Hypericum species native to South Brazil and Peruvian Páramos. Barros, Francisco M. C.; Ccana-Ccapatinta, Gari V.; Meirelles, Gabriela C.; Nunes, Jéssica M.; Cargnin, Simone T.; Sakamoto, Satchie; Bordignon, Sergio; del Carpio, Carla; Crockett, Sara L.; von Poser, Gilsane L. // Plant Systematics & Evolution;Dec2013, Vol. 299 Issue 10, p1865 

    The flowers constitute one of the main sites of accumulation of phenolic compounds in plants of the Hypericum genus. In addition to their important pharmacological activities, some metabolites found in species from the section Brathys and Trigynobrathys appear to have chemotaxonomic significance...

  • Pharmacological activities of Hypericum scabrum L. ESLAMI, B.; NABAVI, S. F.; NABAVI, S. M.; EBRAHIMZADEH, M. A.; MAHMOUDI, M. // European Review for Medical & Pharmacological Sciences;2011, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p532 

    Objectives: Hypericum spp. (H.) has been used in traditional medicine for their sedative effect for many years. In spite of many works on this genus, little is known about H. scabrum. In this work antidepressant and its protective effect against hypoxia-induced lethality were evaluated....

  • Mixing St. John's Wort with drugs.  // HealthFacts;Nov96, Vol. 21 Issue 210, p1 

    Examines the effectiveness of the herb St. John's Wort as treatment for mild to moderate depression. Use in Germany; Effect of mixing the herb with antidepressant and diet drugs.

  • Correction.  // HealthFacts;Apr2005, Vol. 30 Issue 4, p6 

    Presents a correction to the article about the herbal remedy, Saint John's wort, as a treatment for severe depression that was previously published in the March 2005 issue of "HealthFacts."

  • Drug Pharmacokinetic Interactions Following Consumption of Plant Products. Brinker, Francis // Alternative Medicine Alert;Apr2006, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p40 

    Presents a study on drug pharmacokinetic interactions following consumption of plant products. Concerns over botanical influence on drug metabolism; Use of Saint John's wort products as prototypical inducers of CYP 3A4; Other CYP450 influences in humans with popular botanical preparations.

  • Molecular Mechanisms Underlying St. John's Wort Drug Interactions. Kober, Maike; Pohl, Kerstin; Efferth, Thomas // Current Drug Metabolism;Dec2008, Vol. 9 Issue 10, p1027 

    The phytopharmaceutical agent St. John's wort (SJW) is currently under intense investigation. Studies of drug interactions resulting from concomitant use of SJW and conventional medication are of fundamental importance, since the use of SJW as a complementary and alternative medicine is highly...

  • Evaluation of pharmacological properties and phenolic profile of Hypericum japonicum Thunb. from Western Ghats of India. Samaga, Pradeepa V.; Rai, V. Ravishankar // Journal of Pharmacy Research;2013, Vol. 6/7 Issue 7, p626 

    Background: Phenolic content of the plants and their associated bioactivities depend upon the geographical regions where they grow. Therefore antimicrobial, antioxidant activities and phenolic profile of Hypericum japonicum collected from Western Ghats of Karnataka, India had been evaluated in...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics