This article aims to summarize the current state of knowledge on St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum
L.) which is one of the oldest and best investigated medicinal herbs. Dried alcoholic extracts are the most important preparations on the market although a variety of other preparations are available. Depressive disorders according to modern diagnostic standards are the best known and most widely investigated indication although the more traditional, broader indication of ‘psycho-vegetative disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety and/or nervous agitation’, including diagnoses such as somatoform disorders, might more adequately describe what Hypericum extracts are actually used for by many practitioners. The exact mechanisms of action are still unclear, but the available research clearly shows that various bioactive constituents contribute to the clinical effects reported, often in a synergistic manner. Hypericum extracts have consistently shown activity in pharmacological models related to antidepressant effects. Randomized clinical trials show that Hypericum extracts are more effective than placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants while having better tolerability in the acute treatment of major depressive episodes. The most important risk associated with Hypericum extracts are interactions with other drugs. Therefore, physicians need to be informed whether their patients take St. John’s wort products. If the risk of interactions is adequately taken into account, high quality Hypericum extracts are an effective and safe tool in the hand of qualified health profession-als in primary care.
PD Dr. med. Klaus Linde, Zentrum für naturheilkundliche Forschung, II. Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Technische Universität München, Kaiserstraße 9, 80801 München, Germany, Tel. +49 89 726697-11, Fax -21, Klaus.Linde@lrz.tum.de
Published_online: April 2, 2009
Number of Print Pages : 10
Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine (Research Practice Perspectives - Wissenschaft Praxis Perspektiven)
Vol. 16, No. 3, Year 2009 (Cover Date: July 2009)
Journal Editor: Walach H. (Northampton)
ISSN: 1661-4119 (Print), eISSN: 1661-4127 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/FOK
Copyright / Drug Dosage
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.