6 Vital Facts – St John’s Wort Anxiety

Featured Image: By Leslie Seaton from Seattle, WA, USA (St. John’s Wort) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

6 Vital Facts – St John’s Wort Anxiety



For many years, people have looked toward healthy alternatives to try combat anxiety. Prescription drugs very frequently have undesirable side effects and also carry the added risk of dependency.

St. John’s Wort is undoubtedly natural, because St. John’s Wort is not a medicine, but is a plant (see featured image above). From the family, Hypericaceae, St. John’s Wort grows in parts of Europe and Asia, and the somewhat strangely named plant takes its name from St. John’s Day (24 June,) when the plant is ready for harvesting.


Is St. John’s Wort an adequate remedy to reduce anxiety?

The plant has undoubtedly attracted many fans, and many swear by its effectiveness. This praise is not fully supported by clinical trials, however, and so the evidence is solely promoted by its users. The efficiency is also no doubt praised by the companies wishing to sell St. John’s Wort products, so always bear that in mind too.



But does St. John’s Wort contain any active ingredients that may classify it as a beneficial ‘drug’?

This is where St. John’s Wort gets interesting. St. John’s Wort contains Hyperforin. Hyperforin is thought to be the primary active ingredient, and it is this active ingredient that supports the idea that the plant can reduce anxiety and also depression.

Hyperforin does appear to be useful in the reduction of anxiety and also depression. Hyperforin also has anti-cancer properties.

Both St. Johns Wort and it’s active ingredient, Hyperforin, are both little understood in the field of science and perhaps deserves a lot more direct research. Useful references can be viewed HERE.


Does St. John’s Wort adversely react with any prescription drugs?

This question does need asking because St. John’s Wort can have undesirable side effects regarding other medications. The following list is not exhaustive because, once again, the research is limited. The following list contains some types of drugs that St. John’s Wort can react with. The reason for the interaction is that St. John’s Wort can speed up, or slow down the ways that the body processes some other medications. The speeding up and slowing down interactions can increase or decrease the effectiveness of the drug(s) being taken, or increase the adverse side effects of other medications.

  • Cancer drugs, such as Irinotecan
  • Birth control pills
  • Cyclosporine (a medication used to prevent the body rejecting transplanted organs)
  • Warfarin and other similar blood-thinners (anticoagulants)
  • HIV drugs, EG. Indinavir
  • Digoxin (a drug used to strengthen heart muscle contractions)
  • Certain Anti-Depressants such as Tricyclic anti-depressants which work by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine.)


What is the typical dosage for St. John’s Wort?

If you have read this far, you may have gathered by now that there are many ‘unknowns’ regarding St. John’s Wort. The recommended dosage is also another area for questioning. Some research that I carried out gave 900 mg per day as the recommended dosage, whereas other sites stated that it was higher than this.

If you purchase St. John’s Wort as a complete product (such as tablets,) then follow the dosage instructions on the label.


What Might Be a Good Alternative to St. John’s Wort?

The herbal market for anxiety-related products is very well established, and alternatives to St. John’s Wort indeed exist. The following list would undoubtedly merit more research on your part before making a final decision:

  • Passion Flower
  • Valerian Root
  • Chamomile
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Kava Kava

Just In Case You Thought That You Were On Your Own As an Anxiety Sufferer… (click to enlarge)

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