St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interaction, Part 1

St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interaction, Part 1

Although St. John’s Wort is not a Chinese herbal medicine, it is an important Western herbal medicine to be educated about.  This herb is of particular importance due to its popularity and because it is easily purchased over the counter in health food and herb stores throughout the US.  St. John’s Wort is used for mild depression.  Since it is effective herbal prescription, it is very popular.  St. John’s Wort is often self-medicated, without first seeking the advice of a health care practitioner.

            St. John’s Wort usually takes about 1 month before it has a therapeutic effect St. John's Wortfor the individual.  Although St. John’s Wort is for mild depression and has slow onset, the power of its biochemical constituents should not be underestimated when used in combination with Western medication!  As written in a journal by the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2008, “St. John’s Wort is the supplement that has the most documented interactions with drugs.” According to an NIH article, from Department of Experimental Pharmacology, in 2009: “Hyperforin, which is believed to contribute to the antidepressant action of St John’s wort, is also strongly suspected to be responsible for most of the described interactions.”


…To Be Continued in Part 2


Written by,

Yasmin Spencer LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM
427 F Street, Eureka, CA 95501




  • Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, Russel Phillips, MD, Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, January 1, 2008. American Academy of Family Physicians.  “Herbal and Dietary Supplement-Drug Interactions in Patients with Chronic Illness.”  Retrieved from:
  • Borrelli F, Izzo AA.  December 11, 2009.  National Institute of Health- Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II.  “Herb-drug interactions with St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): an update on clinical observations.”  Retrieved from:

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