St John’s wort (also called Hypericum or Hypericum perforatum) is a herb. Its flowers and leaves are used to make a plant product marketed for the treatment of depression and other conditions such as anxiety, symptoms of menopause and pain.
- In New Zealand St John’s wort is not registered as a medicine but is considered a herbal supplement or complementary medicine.
- Although St John’s wort is a herb, it is still an active treatment that has specific chemical effects.
- The mechanism of action of St John’s wort is not fully understood but it is believed to affect certain chemicals in your body, such as serotonin and noradrenaline. In this way it is thought to improve mood.
- St John's wort interacts with medicines used to treat depression and other illnesses. It is important to let your doctor or pharmacist know if you want to try St. John's wort so that he or she can check if it might interfere with other medicines you are taking.
- There are no standardised St John's wort preparations in New Zealand. St John's wort is available in a variety of formulations such as tablets, capsules, liquid tinctures and teas from health food stores and pharmacies.