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.
-end-
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: pnathan@bsi.swin.edu.au

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: licinio@nih.gov

Pre-prints of this article can be obtained from Ms. Julie Vianello; phone: +1 301-496-6979; FAX: +1 301-402-1561; e-mail: j.vianello@stockton-press.co.uk

Molecular Psychiatry

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