St. John's Wort - Hypericum perforatum - Part III

by Mishelle Knuteson, MH

Dosage & Usage

St. John's Wort should be taken for ten days to two weeks before any antidepressant effect can be noticed, 3-6 weeks for full effect. The active ingredients need time to build up in the body, the brain needs time to respond and produce the therapeutic effect. Taking higher doses will not speed up the process. Higher doses will however provide a stronger effect once the herbs take effect. There is no limit to how long you can take the herb if you are getting the results you are seeking.

For anxiety, depression and SAD - Initial dosage is 2 droppers 2 times a day. Increase to double dose if desired effects are not felt after 4-6 weeks. A full dose is 3-5 droppers 2 times a day or 1-2 droppers 3 times a day between meals. Tincture should be a dark red. For capsules take 1-2 for each dosage.

As a pain reliever before and after exercise and in fibromyalgia - it reduces muscle pain because it decreases lactic acid build up within muscles. Take 25-30 drops along with 3-5 drops of skullcap tincture. Use the oil extract to relieve pain in back and joints, for eczema, cold sores, swollen glands, labor pains and shingles.

For sleep imbalances add tincture to a cup of hops or lemon balm tea.


Must taper off antidepressant slowly and use caution when using conventional MAO inhibitors. SJW inhibiting activity may add to the drug's inhibition of MAO, so use caution.

Person's taking MAO inhibitors should not eat aged or fermented foods (cheese, wine, pickles, aged meats, soy sauce, and sauerkraut), avocados, broad bean pods or over ripe fruit. It is not clear if this has the same effect on the MAO inhibiting effect of SJW so a person should be aware of the possible interaction with these foods.

SJW does not work for Bipolar disorder or Schizophrenia.

Do not use SJW with the herb Yohimbe as it may potentiate the action of the herb.

SJW should be avoided if you have an estrogen driven cancer of the reproductive system.

Due to its emmenagogue and abortifacient effects SJW should not be used on its own during pregnancy.

In rare cases SJW taken in large doses may cause sensitivity to the sun in extremely fair skinned people.

SJW also has cleansing action, so if someone's blood is very toxic it may cause skin rashes and itching due to the body attempting to detox.