Free Shipping on Orders Above $45
× SuperSmart Learn by health topic New articles Popular articles Visit our shop My account Smart Prescription Blog Loyalty program Language: English
Stress and mood Features

St. John’s Wort: how this plant could promote mental well-being

Used for millennia, St. John’s Wort has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years, primarily for its potential effects on emotional balance and mood. Discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about St. John’s Wort.
Yellow flower of St. John’s Wort or Hypericum Perforatum
This yellow-flowering shrub is attributed with many health benefits
Rédaction Supersmart.
2020-08-26Commentaires (0)

The potential benefits of St. John’s Wort for mental health

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) is a herbaceous perennial, from the Clusiaceae family. It was used in traditional pharmacopoeia to treat insomnia and reduce anxiety. It is considered by some to be the ‘best natural anti-depressant‘ there is.

St. John’s Wort is said to support:

These health claims, allowed by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), are currently being examined by this same organisation.

How St. John’s Wort is thought to act on the ‘happy hormones’

St. John’s Wort is known to contain high levels of hypericin, a natural pigment from the naphtodianthrone family.

For a better understanding of how the plant works, we need to focus on our synapses. A synapsis forms a sort of information channel between two neurons in the brain: one which sends the message and the other which receives it.

The neurotransmitters responsible for transferring this information via synapses include serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin (the famous ‘happy hormones’ associated with feelings of pleasure, well-being and other positive emotions).

The problem is that a significant proportion of these neurotransmitters can be instantly recaptured by the ‘sender’ neurons. The more this happens, the less the brain receives the happiness and pleasure information … and the greater the effect on the individual’s mood.

A number of in vivo tests have shown that the hypericin in St. John’s Wort appears to inhibit the recapture of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin (1). The synthetic compounds used in treatments for depression exploit precisely this kind of mechanism.

Choose a St. John’s Wort extract with the right dose of hypericin

According to researchers at the CNRS (Center National de la Recherche Scientifique) and University Hospital of Montpellier, “only a St. John’s Wort extract with a guaranteed content of active principles has demonstrated therapeutic efficacy”(2).

Indeed the concentration of active ingredients in individual plants can vary considerably depending on the soil, growing conditions, etc. It’s therefore important to check the hypericin content of your supplement, which should ideally be in the region of 0.3% (try, for example, the excellent product St John's Wort Extract). (4)

St. John’s Wort: a few contraindications

As with many plants used in phytotherapy, St. John’s Wort can sometimes interact with other medications and is thus contraindicated in certain cases. Always check with your doctor before taking St. John’s Wort.

St. John’s Wort may affect the efficacy of drug treatments in the following cases:


  1. Müldner H, Zöller M. [Antidepressive effect of a Hypericum extract standardized to an active hypericine complex. Biochemical and clinical studies] Arzneimittel-forschung. 1984 ;34(8):918-920.
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sylvie_Rapior/publication/259474999_Le_Millepertuis_ou_St_John's_Wort_Une_indication_therapeutique_en_France_-_De_nombreux_risques_d'interactions_avec_les_medicaments/links/00b7d52c0593c9f0e6000000/Le-Millepertuis-ou-St-Johns-Wort-Une-indication-therapeutique-en-France-De-nombreux-risques-dinteractions-avec-les-medicaments.pdf
  3. Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. St John’s wort for major depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No., https://serval.unil.ch/resource/serval:BIB_97D9CEAA4408.P001/REF.pdf
  4. KECK, Martin E, et al. Le traitement des troubles anxieux : 1ère partie : Trouble panique, agoraphobie, anxiété généralisée, phobie sociale, phobies spécifiques. Swiss Medical Forum, 2011, vol. 11, no. 34, p. 558-566, http://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:32699
  5. Revue Prescrire, 2004, 24 (250) : 362-369.


You must be connected to your account to leave a comment
Be the first to review this article
Our selection of articles
Middle age couple preparing food in their kitchen
10 tips for living with COVID-19 quarantine

In many countries, a large percentage of the population is being told to stay at home in order to stem the progress of the coronavirus. Here we offer some advice on how to get organised, stay in shape and keep your spirits up.

Science proves it’s possible to nourish creativity and positive mood

Not only do the nutrients we consume affect our mood, but they also influence our desires and behavior. And for a considerable period of time...

Going on holiday
Going on holiday: 4 solutions to ensure peace of mind during your trip

Every year, it’s the same. We can’t wait to go on holiday, but when it’s time to go, there’s always something that puts a dampener on things. Pre-departure stress, travel sickness, the effects of jetlag, travellers’ diarrhea … These minor worries are far from infrequent but the good news is they can be easily avoided. Read on for our tips on how to travel with complete peace of mind!

MSM: the benefits of organic sulfur!

The experts at SuperSmart have put together the following guide which contains everything you need to know about MSM: its characteristics, properties, benefits, uses, doses and scientific opinion …

The neurotransmitter GABA: a natural stress-buster

Everything you need to know about natural GABA: its characteristics, mechanism of action, properties, benefits, uses, latest research and scientific opinion …

After the holidays: how to go back to work painlessly

All the benefits you’ve gained from being on holiday seem to evaporate within a few days: the stress and fatigue return, your mood darkens, your motivation deserts you … Read on for our top tips on how to ease yourself back into work or school!

Products which must be of interest

Gaba 750 mgGaba 750 mg

Inhibitory neurotransmitter, essential for combating stress effectively.

PharmaGABA® 125 mgPharmaGABA® 125 mg

A natural aid to restoring quality sleep and managing stress

Peptidea® 200 mgPeptidea® 200 mg

Effective relief for stress-related fatigue, anxiety and depression.

5-HTP 50 mg5-HTP 50 mg

Supports Serotonin synthesis Griffonia Simplicifolia extract

AFA ExtractAFA Extract

Neuroamine associated with pleasurable feelings and mental acuity

Adrenal SupportAdrenal Support

Supports adrenal function and improves the body's response to stress

CBD 25 mgCBD 25 mg

Natural, powerful analgesic for long-lasting pain relief

CBD Oil 6 %CBD Oil 6 %

CBD hemp oil standardized to 6.4% cannabidiol (CBD)

© 1997-2020 Fondation pour le Libre Choix. All rights reserved
© 1997-2020 Fondation pour le Libre Choix. All rights reserved