St. Johnís Wort (hypericin extract) is a weak inhibitor of monoamine oxidase (MAO), which may destroy dopamine in the brain and lead to low spirits. It has also been shown to inhibit re-uptake of several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, GABA, and L-glutamate in the brain, and to reduce expression of interleukin-6.34 Each of these actions can contribute to alleviating low mood status by slowing the recycling of neurotransmitters needed for maintaining emotional balance. Flavonoids, hypericin, and pseudo-hypericin are the constituents thought to be associated with the benefits of St. Johnís Wort. In particular, hypericin appears to be the active ingredient.35-40
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