The effects of St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

August 31, 1999

Hypericum (St.John's Wort) is a plant that has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Experimental studies show that hypericum has antidepressant properties in animal models of depression. Furthermore the mechanism by which this antidepressant effect is exerted has been shown to be similar to many standard antidepressants. Supporting the pre-clinical studies, a number of clinical studies have shown that hypericum is an effective antidepressant for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Studies conducted in patients with mild to moderate depression show that hypericum has a better antidepressant effect than placebo and a comparable antidepressant effect to standard antidepressants. The advantage of hypericum over other antidepressants may result from its favorable side effect profile. Although evidence suggests that hypericum may have an antidepressant effect for the short-term treatment of mild to moderate depression, its benefit in the long-term requires further investigation.

PJ Nathan, C Chem: The experimental and clinical pharmacology of St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) Mol Psychiatry 1999;4:333-338.

Researchers from the Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia, contributed to the study.
For further information on this work, please contact Dr. Pradeep J Nathan, Brain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, 400 Burnwood Rd., Hawthorn 3122, Victoria, Australia; phone: +61-3-92145216; FAX: 61-3-92145525; e-mail:

Molecular Psychiatry is an independent, peer-reviewed journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. Editorial decisions and publication in Molecular Psychiatry do not constitute endorsement by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institutes of Health or any branch of the government of the United States of America.

Editor: Julio Licinio, M.D.; phone: +1 301 496-6885; FAX: +1 301-402-1561; e-mail:

Pre-prints of this article can be obtained from Ms. Julie Vianello; phone: +1 301-496-6979; FAX: +1 301-402-1561; e-mail:

Molecular Psychiatry

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to