St. John's Wort

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St. John's Wort
Legal Status
US Legal (unscheduled)
Drug Information
FDA Classification Supplement
Class Antidepressant
Addiction Risk None to Very Low

St. John's Wort is an herb that is commonly used for its antidepressant, anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used as a smoking cessation aid.

Despite not being as well-known as other antidepressants, extract from St. John's Wort has been tested in clinical trials and has repeatedly been shown to be as effective as SSRIs for Major Depressive Disorder.[1] It is also worth noting that overdoses have been reported, the herb may interfere with birth control medication, and combining St. John's Wort with other antidepressants is unsafe due to the risk of Serotonin Syndrome.

Legality and Availability[edit]

North America[edit]

St. John's Wort is legal in the United States and Canada, and is sold in many pharmacies and health stores.


St. John's Wort is generally legal and freely available in the European Union, with new regulations around manufacturing and warnings coming into effect in 2011.[2]

Ireland is one notable exception, as the herb is available by prescription only.



St. John's Wort, in what analyses and clinical studies have been completed on it, has been shown to have a profile similar to that of bupropion (Wellbutrin).

Like bupropion, it is not effective at treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Smoking Cessation Aid[edit]

St. John's Wort is sometimes used as a smoking cessation aid. Bupropion is used in a similar manner. It should be noted however that, despite scientific evidence that bupropion is effective as a cessation aid[3][4], there is not clear support for this use of St. John's Wort.[5]