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Many oral supplements of St. John's wort are actually extracts, which are formulations containing the herb's active ingredients -- including hypericin and/or hyperforin -- in concentrated form. Dosage recommendations for taking it are based on the formulations that have been used in research.
- Studies of mild to moderate depression have usually used an extract containing 0.3% hypericin. The dose has usually been 300 milligrams (mg) three times a day, although doses of 1,200 mg a day have also been tried. Other studies have used doses of 250 mg twice a day of 0.2% hypericin extract. There has also been research using 300 mg three times a day of an extract with 5% hyperforin content. The dose used in trials with children under age 12 has been 300 mg a day of 0.3% hypericin extract.
- One study of obsessive-compulsive disorder used an extended-release 0.3% hypericin extract with a dose of 450 mg twice a day.
- One study of premenstrual syndrome used 300 mg once a day of 0.3% hypericin extract.
- Research on physical symptoms associated with depression has used 300 mg three times a day.
- In studying somatization disorder (a chronic condition in which no physical cause can be found for physical symptoms involving more than one part of the body), 600 mg a day of one particular extract (LI 160, Lichtwer Pharma) has been used.
If you decide to stop taking St. John's wort, wean yourself off gradually. Quitting abruptly can cause unpleasant withdrawal effects.
There is no recommended dosage for external application (applying to the skin) of St. John's wort.
The dosage for the SJWE standardized to contain 0.3 percent hypericin and 3 to 5 percent hyperforin is typically 900 mg per day for mild depression and 1,800 mg per day for moderate to severe depression. Initially the dosage was spread out during the day, but recent studies indicate that a single daily dose is preferable.
Adults (18 years and older): Clinical trials have used a range of doses, including 0.17-2.7 milligrams of hypericin by mouth, and 900-1,800 milligrams of St. John's wort extract daily by mouth.
1.5% hyperforin (verum) has been applied to the skin for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.
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