Sunday, January 15, 2012

St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) Health Benefits and Side Effects

St John's wort
is a yellow flower plant in the genus Hypericum belonging to the family Hypericaceae, native to the regions of North America, Europe, Turkey, Russia, India, China and Brazil. The herb is best known fot its anti depression property and has been used in tradtional medicine as sedative agent to treat mental and cognitive disorders, including depression, anxiety, and/or sleep disorders and nerve pain, etc.

Health Benefits
1. Influenza A virus

In the assessment of efficacy of an extract of H. perforatum (HPE) against influenza A virus (IAV) in mice, found that HPE has significant therapeutic efficacy for mice infected with IAV. The possible reasons for these results were concluded to be pertaining to up-regulating the expression of IL-10 and IFN-γ, and down-regulating the secretion of IL-6 and TNF-α in lung and serum, according to "Therapeutic efficacy of Hypericum perforatum L. extract for mice infected with an influenza A virus" by Xiuying P, Jianping L, Ruofeng S, Liye Z, Xuehong W, Yan L.(1)

2. Inflammatory effects
In the evaluation of the impact of H. perforatum extract and the 4 compounds on inflammatory mediators and cytokines (SOCS1-4) found that the 4 compounds inhibited LPS-induced PGE2 and NO through SOCS3 activation. The reduction of PGE2 can be partially attributed to COX-2 enzyme activity, which was significantly elevated with SOCS3 knockdown. At the same time, these results also suggest that constituents in H. perforatum extract were alleviating LPS-induced macrophage response through SOCS3 independent mechanisms, according to "The inhibition of lipopolysaccharide-induced macrophage inflammation by 4 compounds in Hypericum perforatum extract is partially dependent on the activation of SOCS3" by Huang N, Rizshsky L, Hauck CC, Nikolau BJ, Murphy PA, Birt DF.(2)

3. Antidepressant
In the analyzing the effects of a chronic hyperforin of of the medicinal plant Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort).treatment on brain cell, found that Hyperforin stimulated the expression of TRPC6 channels and TrkB via SKF-96365-sensitive channels controlling a downstream signalling cascade involving Ca2+, protein kinase A, CREB and p-CREB. In vivo, hyperforin augmented the expression of TrkB in the cortex but not in the hippocampus where hippocampal neurogenesis remained unchanged. In conclusion, this plant extract acts on the cortical BDNF/TrkB pathway leaving adult hippocampal neurogenesis unaffected. This study provides new insights on the neuronal responses controlled by hyperforin, according to "The antidepressant hyperforin increases the phosphorylation of CREB and the expression of TrkB in a tissue-specific manner" by Gibon J, Deloulme JC, Chevallier T, Ladevèze E, Abrous DN, Bouron A.(3)

4. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities
In the study of the fatty acid components of the hexane extracts of flower, leaf, stem, and seed of Hypericum scabrum, found that The antimicrobial activity of the extracts of those samples were determined against seven Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae), as well as three fungi (Candida albicans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Aspergillus niger). The bioassay showed that the oil exhibited moderate antimicrobial activity. This study reveals that the all parts of this plant are attractive sources of fatty acid components, especially the essential ones, as well as of effective natural antioxidants, according to "Antioxidant, antimicrobial activities and fatty acid components of flower, leaf, stem and seed of Hypericum scabrum" by Shafaghat A.(4)
5. Sleep deprivation-induced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage
In the exploration of the therapeutic potential of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) on behavioral alterations and oxidative damage induced by sleep deprivation in mice found that Co-administration of John's wort (200 mg/kg, P. O.) with imipramine (10 mg/kg, I. P.) further improved body weight, locomotor activity, antianxiety effect as well as reduced oxidative damage in sleep-deprived animal as compared to their effect per se (P < 0.05). The present study suggests that there is therapeutic potential of St. John's wort in the management of sleep deprivation-induced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage."Protective effect of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) extract on 72-hour sleep deprivation-induced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage in mice" by Kumar A, Singh A.(5)

6. Insulin resistance
In the identification of St. John's Wort (SJW) extracts as inhibitors of adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 cells and demonstrated the effect against insulin-sensitive glucose uptake in mature fat cells.
found that the profound effects of SJW on adipogenesis, IRS-1 activation, and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake are not mediated by HI and/or HF. Nonetheless, we propose that extracts of SJW may contribute to adipocyte related diseases by limiting differentiation of preadipocytes and significantly inducing insulin resistance in mature fat cells, according to "St. John's Wort inhibits insulin signaling in murine and human adipocytes" by Richard AJ, Amini ZJ, Ribnicky DM, Stephens JM.(6)
7. Antimicrobial properties
In demonstration the antimicrobial properties of Hypericum, found that Hypericum prolificum, and Hypericum punctatum as inhibitors of bacterial growth and biofilm production. Assays were conducted against Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Acinetobacter baumannii. Five of the seven compounds demonstrated growth inhibition against the Gram-positive bacteria with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) ranging from 1.95 µg/mL to 7.81 µg/mL, according to "Inhibition of Bacterial Growth and Biofilm Production by Constituents from Hypericum spp" by Sarkisian SA, Janssen MJ, Matta H, Henry GE, Laplante KL, Rowley DC.(7)

8. Neuroprotective effects
In the observation of the neuroprotective effects and mechanism of hyperin on CoCl2-induced hypoxic/ischemic PC12 cells, found that Hyperin could inhibit CoCl2-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis on PC12 cells, show neuroprotective effects on hypoxic/ischemic neural injuries, according to "[Protective effects and mechanism of hyperin on CoCl2-induced PC12 cells].[Article in Chinese]" by Zeng K, Wang X, Fu H, Liu G.(8)

9. Hypolipidemic and Antiobesity-Like Activity
In the investigation of the effect of Hypericum perforatum in a battery of animal models for metabolic disorder, found that Hypericum significantly lowered total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol in normal rats. Hypericum significantly inhibited weight gain in high-fat-fed rats. In fructose-fed rats, Hypericum normalised the dyslipidemia induced by fructose feeding and improved the insulin sensitivity, according to "Hypolipidemic and Antiobesity-Like Activity of Standardised Extract of Hypericum perforatum L. in Rats" by Husain GM, Chatterjee SS, Singh PN, Kumar V.(9)
10. Malignant gliomas (Aggressive brain tumor)
In the determination of the efficacy of p38SJ, a novel member of the DING family of proteins, derived from Hypericum perforatum calluses, on the growth of malignant glioma cell lines,
found that p38SJ reduces glioma cell viability and arrests cell cycle progression at G0/G1. The observed growth inhibitory effect of p38SJ is likely mediated by the downregulation of several cell cycle gatekeeper proteins, including cyclin E, Cdc2, and E2F-1, according to "Growth inhibition of malignant glioblastoma by DING protein" by Bookland MJ, Darbinian N, Weaver M, Amini S, Khalili K.(10)
11. Menopausal symptoms
In the study of the sample included 59 menopausal women who had the conditions for entering into the study. The individuals were selected via simple sampling and were assigned randomly into two groups of Hypericum Perforatum treatment group (30 women) and Passion Flower group (29 women), concluded that With regard to the effects of Hypericum Perforatum and Passion Flower on treating menopause precocious symptoms (vasomotor signs, insomnia, depression, anger, headache, etc.), these two herbs can be used as an alternative treatment for individuals who cannot, whatsoever, use hormone therapy, according to "A comparative study on the effects of Hypericum Perforatum and passion flower on the menopausal symptoms of women referring to Isfahan city health care centers' by Fahami F, Asali Z, Aslani A, Fathizadeh N.(11)

12. Etc.

Side effects
1. The herb may interact with other medicine, including anti depressants, birth control pills, anticoagulants, etc., please consult with your doctor if you are currently taking any types of prescription medicine(a)
2. Do not use the herb in new born, children, or if you are pregnant or breast feeding without approvals of the related field specialist.
3. Long term uses of St. John wort may increase the risk of iron and other minerals deficiency.
4. Overdoses can increase the risk of intermenstrual bleeding, delirium or mild serotonin
syndrome, etc.
5. The herb may cause certain side effects including headaches, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, etc.
6. Etc.

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