Posted 3/16/07CLICK TO PRINT

NAME: St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John's wort gets its name because it is often in full bloom around June 24, the day traditionally celebrated as the birthday of John the Baptist.

St. John's wort
DESCRIPTION: Herb / Botanical extract
FUNCTION: Mainly used as an effective anti-depressant, St. John's wort also has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-imflammatory properties.

Hypericin is derived from an herb found commonly in the United States called St. John’s Wort.

It may also have activity against Epstein-Barr and herpes infections.

Studies show that the hypericin extract has limited anti-HIV effects.

Since the synthetic extract causes hypersensitivity to light, particularly in light-skinned individuals. High doses of the herb may also cause a sensitivity to light (phototoxicity), thus, avoid direct sunlight or sunbathing while using. In general, though, this does not appear to be a problem when using the whole herb. If taking nucleosides (e.g., AZT), check liver enzyme levels. Possibly use with alpha lipoic and/or silymarin to protect the liver.

DOSAGE: These dosage guidelines for adults are as per the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Integrative Medicine (a National Institutes of Health NIH Center of Excellence for research in complementary medicine):

• Dry herb (in capsules or tablets): The usual dose for mild depression and mood disorders is 300 to 500 mg (standardized to 0.3% hypericin extract), three times per day, with meals.
• Liquid extract (1:1): 40 to 60 drops, two times per day.
• Tea: Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 to 2 tsp of dried St. John's wort and steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to 2 cups per day for four to six weeks.
• Oil or cream: To treat inflammation, as in wounds, burns or hemorrhoids, an oil-based preparation of St. John's wort can be applied topically.

DATA: St. John's wort has clinically proven (multiple, well-controlled studies, mostly in Germany) antidepressant effects for mild to moderate depression: European studies comparing the herb to standard antidepressants have often shown it works as well for mild-to-moderate depression without the side effects the drugs can cause. A recent U.S. study found no benefit for severe depression. This is important, as many antidepressants may interfere with antiretroviral blood levels.
CAUTIONS: Avoid if taking any protease inhibitors. This warning stems from a study in a few HIV-negative volunteers who saw serious declines in blood levels of the medication indinavir when taking St. John’s wort. Whether that reduction (which many drugs can cause) has any effect clinically is unknown. We at NYBC have known people who successfully used indinavir-containing regimens with no viral breakthrough even though they were on St. John’s wort for some time.

Do not take with 5-HTP or serotonin re-uptake inhbitors like Prozac.

University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Integrative Medicine's website.
Perika Pro St. John's Wort Extract (MMS) Each bottle, 90 tablets. Each tablet, 300 mg of St. John's wort extract plus 4 mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.