- What is St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
- Is St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
- What are the side effects of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
- What is the dosage for St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
- Is St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
What is St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
St. John's wort is a commonly used over-the-counter (OTC) dietary supplement that is used to treat mild depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. St. John's wort is a plant that has bright yellow flowers. A number of compounds that have pharmacological activity including naphthodianthrones (hypericin, pseudohypericin, protohypericin, and cyclopseudohypericin), flavonoids (quercetin, rutin, and luteolin), hyperforin, several amino acidsand tannins have been isolated from St. John's wort.
The exact mechanism of how St. John's wort works to alleviate symptoms of depression is not understood. Hyperforin and hypericin are thought to be the major active components. Studies suggest that hyperforin affect serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine which are chemicals that affect mood. Other studies show that hypericum has weak effects on catechol-O-methyl transferase, an enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of chemicals in the brain including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Read product labels and discuss dosing with your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.
What is the dosage for St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
Dietary supplements such as St. John's wort are not regulated by the FDA, and are not subject to rigorous clinical studies that evaluate standardized drug dosages. Read product labels and discuss dosing with your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.
The most common dosage that has been used in the majority of studies is 0.3% hypericin or 5% hyperforin in a dosage of 300 to 400 mg three times daily.
Which drugs or supplements interact with St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
: St. John's wort increases activity of several liver enzymes. Consequently, St. John's wort may decrease blood levels of drugs that are metabolized or broken-down by these enzymes. Examples of such drugs are warfarin (Coumadin), fluconazole (Diflucan), voriconazole (Vfend), itraconazole (Sporanox), fentanyl (Sublimaze), digoxin (Lanoxin), birth control pills and many other drugs.
St. John's wort should be avoided in patients taking prescription antidepressants due to the risk of serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include agitation, hyperthermia (extreme body temperature), sweating, rapid heartbeat, and neuromuscular disturbances.
Additionally, St. John's wort may interact with other prescription medications. All patients should speak to their doctor or pharmacist before taking St. John's wort.
Is St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Due to the lack of safety data, St. John's wort is not recommended during breastfeeding. It is not known if St. John's wort is excreted into breast milk.
What else should I know about St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral?
How should I keep st. john's wort (Hypericum perforatum)-oral stored?
Capsules and caplets should be stored at room temperature between 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F).
Quick GuidePortion Control Tips: Lose Weight and Stick to Your Diet
St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herbal supplement used to treat anxiety and depression. Read product labels and discuss dosing with your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Depression Quiz: Signs & Symptoms
Many people do not recognize the symptoms and warning signs of depression and depressive disorders in children and adults. With...
Sleep Quiz: Sleep Hygiene & Sleep Facts
Take our Sleeping Quiz to learn which sleep disorders, causes, and symptoms rule the night. Trouble falling or staying asleep?...
Learn to Spot Depression: Symptoms, Warning Signs, Medication
What is depression? Get information on symptoms, signs, tests, and treatments for many types of depression including major...
Anxiety Disorder Pictures: Symptoms, Panic Attacks, and More with Pictures
Learn about generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). See if your worries are normal or something more by learning about symptoms,...
Depression Tips: Exercise, Diet, Stress Reduction, and More in Pictures
The right exercise, diet, and activities -- even playing with a pet --can help you recover from depression. Learn simple...
Sleep Disorders: Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and More
Learn about the different types of sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Explore the symptoms, causes, tests and...
Physical Symptoms of Depression in Pictures
Depression can cause physical problems such as insomnia, chest pain, fatigue, headaches, and more. Learn the signs of depression...
Depression Myths: Overwork, Recklessness and More in Pictures
Explore the myths and facts about depression. See how folk remedies and half-truths still prevent many from getting treatment for...
20 Tips to Beat Insomnia and Sleep Better
Good sleep hygiene leads to better sleep. Avoid insomnia and sleep better by minimizing stress, exercising, and taking proper...
Healthy Aging: Sneaky Depression Triggers in Pictures
There are many causes and triggers of depression. From too little vitamin B12 to too much time alone, look at these surprising...
Depression Therapy: Myths, Facts, and More in Pictures
False ideas scare many depression suffers away from therapy and the quick relief and help these pros can provide. Let our experts...
Jobs That May Ruin Your Sleep
Some jobs can lead to sleep problems like insomnia, especially for graveyard and other shift work. Learn how work can disrupt...
Top Reasons Children Can't Sleep in Pictures
From snoring and nightmares to sleep apnea and even you, see the bad habits that are keeping your child up all night....
Related Disease Conditions
Depression in teenagers may be caused by many factors. Symptoms of teen depression include apathy, irresponsible behavior,...
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems,...
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one...
Sleep: A Dynamic Activity
Second Source article from Government...
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep...
Depression in Children
Childhood depression can interfere with social activities, interests, schoolwork and family life. Symptoms and signs include...
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes...
Insomnia Treatment (Sleep Aids and Stimulants)
Insomnia is difficulty in falling or staying asleep, the absence of restful sleep, or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a...
Sleep and Sleep Disorders in Children and Teenagers
Sleep needs in children and teenagers depend on the age of the child. Sleep disorders in children such as: sleep apnea,...
Depression in the Elderly
Depression in the elderly is very common. That doesn't mean, though, it's normal. Treatment may involve antidepressants,...
When sleepiness interferes with daily routines and activities, or reduces the ability to function, it is called "problem...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Over 100 Drugs Pose Risk to Heart Failure Patients
- 1 in 6 Seniors Takes Dangerous Combos of Meds, Supplements: Study
- Taking St. John's Wort for Depression Carries Risks: Study
- Cancer Doctors Don't Discuss Herbs, Supplements With Patients
- FDA: Supplements, Meds Can Be Dangerous Mix
- Yoga Big on West Coast, Chiropractors Popular in Midwest
- Herbal Meds, Cosmetic Surgery a Bad Mix: Experts
- Winter Doldrums Got You Down? Here's How to Bounce Back
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
"Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition." Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press; 2011.