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St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a plant that people in European countries have used for centuries as a medicine for problems like depression. In Canada, it is sold as a dietary supplement.
Some people use St. John's wort to help with anxiety, depression, menopausal symptoms, or other conditions, such as seasonal affective disorder. There isn't clear proof from science that taking St. John's wort helps with these or other conditions.
St. John's wort may cause side effects, such as stomach upset, dizziness, fatigue, or a rash with sun exposure.
St. John's wort may interact with many medicines, such as antidepressants, birth control pills, blood thinners, cancer medicines, and heart medicines. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking this supplement.
St. John's wort shouldn't be taken while you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD), within the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada, regulates natural health products in Canada. Natural health products, including St. John's wort, must be reviewed and approved by the NNHPD before they can be sold in Canada.
Always tell your doctor if you are using a natural health product or if you are thinking about combining a natural health product with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a natural health product.
When using natural health products, keep in mind the following:
Current as of: March 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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