Hypericum perforatum, also known as St. John’s Wort, is one of the most researched herbal medicines for mood.
Hypericum is well-known to be effective for mild to moderate depression(1) at a level comparative to SSRIS (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)—the most commonly prescribed medications for depression! In addition to this, it has also been found helpful for many other conditions that affect the nervous system.
St. John’s Wort has been found to improve anxiety(2), cognition(3), emotional processing(4), and neuralgia (5). It can protect brain cells from damage(6), and can also help normalize our responses to stress(7).
It’s also an antiviral, so it’s great during cold and flu season(8).
Interestingly, St. John’s Wort has been recently found to contain endophytotic fungi(9) within various parts of the plant that produce many of its active components! So interesting!
If you want to read more about mood, here are some articles we have about the mind-body connection, so please look around and enjoy!
If you’re interested in this herb, it’s advisable to coordinate with your doctor rather than experimenting on your own, for the following reasons:
- St. John’s Wort can interact with a variety of medications, so please check with your ND that it’s right for you.
- The quality of supplements and liquid tinctures can vary quite a bit from brand to brand. Professional brands are typically more potent and reliable, but are usually only available to practitioners for safety reasons.
- If you have an ND and they use tinctures, they can customize your tincture for your specific needs
If you’re a patient of the clinic, you’ve probably seen it, but we have a full dispensary of tinctures and would love to take a look at what we can do for your mood! We often combine St. John’s wort with other botanicals to provide balanced support for patient needs, such as stress, anxiety, depression or insomnia.
If you’re in Ontario, or already a patient and would like to talk to one of our NDs about this herb or optimizing your mood in general, feel free to book an appointment online!
1) Ng, Q. X., Venkatanarayanan, N., & Ho, C. Y. X. (2017). Clinical use of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s wort) in depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 210, 211–221.
2) Sevastre-Berghian, A. C., Toma, V. A., Sevastre, B., Hanganu, D., Vlase, L., Benedec, D., … Clichici, S. V. (2018). Characterization and biological effects of Hypericum extracts on experimentally-induced – anxiety, oxidative stress and inflammation in rats. Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology : An Official Journal of the Polish Physiological Society, 69(5).
3) Ben-Eliezer, D., & Yechiam, E. (2016). Hypericum perforatum as a cognitive enhancer in rodents: A meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 6, 35700.
4) Warren, M. B., Cowen, P. J., & Harmer, C. J. (2019). Subchronic treatment with St John’s wort produces a positive shift in emotional processing in healthy volunteers. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 33(2), 194–201.
5) Assiri, K., Alyami, Y., Uyanik, J. M., & Romero-Reyes, M. (2017). Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) as a possible therapeutic alternative for the management of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) – A case report. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 30, 36–39.
6) Franklin, M., Hafizi, S., Reed, A., Hockney, R., & Murck, H. (2006). Effect of Sub-Chronic Treatment with Jarsin® (Extract of St John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum ) at Two Dose Levels on Evening Salivary Melatonin and Cortisol Concentrations in Healthy Male Volunteers. Pharmacopsychiatry, 39(1), 13–15.
7) Franklin, M., Hafizi, S., Reed, A., Hockney, R., & Murck, H. (2006). Effect of Sub-Chronic Treatment with Jarsin® (Extract of St John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum ) at Two Dose Levels on Evening Salivary Melatonin and Cortisol Concentrations in Healthy Male Volunteers. Pharmacopsychiatry, 39(1), 13–15.
8) Vigneshwari, A., Rakk, D., Németh, A., Kocsubé, S., Kiss, N., Csupor, D., … Szekeres, A. (2019). Host metabolite producing endophytic fungi isolated from Hypericum perforatum. PLOS ONE, 14(5), e0217060.
9)Chen, H., Muhammad, I., Zhang, Y., Ren, Y., Zhang, R., Huang, X., … Li, G. (2019). Antiviral Activity Against Infectious Bronchitis Virus and Bioactive Components of Hypericum perforatum L. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 10, 1272.