St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)
This herbal supplement is a popular anti-depressant, working in a pharmacologic manner similar to the prescription serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It may be effective in mild to moderate depression but two studies reported no benefit in major depression.
In Germany, where it is the most frequently prescribed antidepressant medication, the dose commonly used is 300 mg three times daily.
Although Hypericum Perforatum is one substance known to be present in the flowers and leaves of this plant, it also contains other unidentified compounds, which appear to be very active.
In one study of Hypericum Perforatum in a mouse model of PD, there appeared to be some inhibition of the effect of the toxin (MPTP) used to cause Parkinsonism.
St. John’s Wort may interfere with certain PD medications, most particularly MAO-B inhibitors.
St. John’s Wort should not be used concurrently with other antidepressant medications. People taking Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil or other SSRIs risk serious overdose effects by using Hypercom.
St. John’s Wort should not replace traditional prescription medicine for the treatment of a serious or major depressive episode.
Those who take blood thinners such as aspirin, heparin or warfarin (Coumadin) should not take St. John’s Wort.
People with PD who also take asthma medications, steroids or birth control pills should consult their physicians or health care providers before taking St. John’s Wort.