St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort is a medicinal herb with antidepressant activity and potent anti-inflammatory properties. In several countries it is used as an antidepressant for mild (to moderate) depressions.

There are a large number of molecules in extracts of St. John’s Wort that are potentially active in the nervous system. St John’s Wort is known to upregulate postsynaptic serotonin receptors. However, the main mechanism of action of St. John’s wort is probably the inhibition of neurotransmitter uptake. Hyperforin and adhyperforin, for example, induce reuptake inhibition of monoamines, GABA, and glutamate. Hyperforim also has an antagonistic effect on NMDA receptors.

St John’s wort is generally well tolerated, though it may cause photosensitivity. This can lead to visual sensitivity to light and to sunburns in situations that would not normally cause them.

St. John’s Wort can affect the metabolism of several drugs, which means that their blood levels need to be monitored and adjusted in some cases. It has also been reported that it triggered psychotic episodes in some individuals.

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