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Pharmacopsychiatry. 2001 Jul;34 Suppl 1:S98-102.

Hyperforin--antidepressant activity by a novel mechanism of action.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt/M., Germany.


Hyperforin represents a major antidepressive constituent of St. John's wort (SJW) extract. It not only inhibits the neuronal uptake of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine like many other antidepressants, but also inhibits GABA and L-glutamate uptake. This broad-spectrum effect is obtained by an elevation of the intracellular Na+ concentration, probably due to activation of sodium conductive pathways not yet finally identified but most likely ionic channels. This makes hyperforin the first member of a new class of compounds with a preclinical antidepressant profile due to a completely novel mechanism of action.

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