2009 Volume 26 Issue 2 Pages 86-92
St John's Wort (Hypericum Perforatum L., SJW) is one of the most famous traditional herbal medicines. In the present study, the anti-stress effects of SJW extracts were examined using mice exposed to mild, consecutive, and persistent social stress, which reflects human daily life. Male BALB/c mice fed diets without or with 0.5% SJW extracts were exposed to isolation stress for 7 or 30 consecutive days. Adrenal hypertrophy and a significant increase in blood corticosterone were observed in mice exposed to isolation stress for 30 days with the control diet. However, these changes were significantly prevented by the consumption of SJW. Moreover, similar results were obtained in the mice exposed to stress for 7 days. These results indicate that the daily consumption of SJW can control the events related to social stress exposure via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system and, consequently, may prevent social stress-related diseases, such as depression.