Anxiety Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment and Therapy How Is St. John's Wort Used for Anxiety? By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology. Learn about our editorial process Updated on August 02, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Elena Klimenko, MD Medically reviewed by Elena Klimenko, MD Facebook LinkedIn Elena Klimenko, MD, is a board-certified doctor in internal medicine and licensed in medical acupuncture and homeopathy. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Anna Yu/Stockbyte/Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Dosage Interactions Side Effects Risks and Effectiveness Social Anxiety Disorder Other Supplements for SAD St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herbal medicine that has historically been used for treating various mental disorders and physical ailments, most notably depression. St. John’s Wort is usually taken daily in pill form. Dosage Guidelines In studies of social anxiety disorder, the typical dosage ranges from 600 to 1800 milligrams of St. John’s Wort daily. However, because ingredients can vary, doses may also vary. Before taking St. John’s Wort, you should read the product label and discuss the dose with a qualified healthcare provider. Contraindications There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend the use of St. John’s Wort for children under 18 years of age or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. St. John’s Wort also has the potential to interact with many other medications, herbs, and supplements and may not be recommended in those cases. Medication Interactions St. John’s Wort interferes with the way the body processes or breaks down many medications, herbs, and supplements. It may speed up or slow down this process causing increased or decreased effects, adverse reactions, or increased side effects. The medications that may potentially interact with St. John’s Wort include, but are not limited to the following: Birth control pills Cancer drugs, such as Irinotecan Cyclosporine (used to prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs) Digoxin (strengthens heart muscle contractions) HIV drugs, such as Indinavir Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Tricyclic antidepressants Warfarin and related anticoagulants In general, check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional and/or pharmacist about possible interactions. Side Effects The most common side effects of St. John’s Wort are sensitivity to sunlight, restlessness or anxiety, dry mouth, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue/sedation, headache, sexual dysfunction, and skin reactions. Generally, only a small percentage of people will experience side effects and the side effects tend to be less than those associated with standard antidepressant medication. Speak with a healthcare provider immediately if you experience any side effects. Risks and Effectiveness The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the production of herbs and supplements. Although there are known medication interactions for St. John’s Wort, most herbs, and supplements are not thoroughly tested. There is also no guarantee regarding the ingredients or safety of the product. Current research suggests that St. John’s Wort is useful in treating mild to moderate depression. However, the usefulness of St. John’s Wort as a primary treatment for anxiety has not been established. A 2005 study on the effectiveness of St. John’s Wort in treating social anxiety disorder (SAD) found that patients who took the medicine didn’t improve any more than patients who took a placebo. Uses for Social Anxiety Disorder Given that no research evidence exists to support the use of St. John's Wort in treating SAD, its usefulness for this purpose is questionable. However, if you suffer from depression in addition to social anxiety disorder, you may experience some benefit. As a bottom line, if you have been diagnosed with SAD, be sure to consult with your healthcare professional about effective primary treatment methods, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other Supplements for SAD Chamomile Kava Kava Passion Flower Rhodiola Rosea Valerian Root Winter Cherry 4 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Herbs at a glance: St. John’s Wort. September 24, 2017. Kobak KA, Taylor LV, Warner G, Futterer R. St. John's wort versus placebo in social phobia: results from a placebo-controlled pilot study. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005;25(1):51-8. doi:10.1097/01.jcp.0000150227.61501.00 Sarris J, Kavanagh DJ. Kava and St. John's Wort: current evidence for use in mood and anxiety disorders. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(8):827-36. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0066 Chrubasik-hausmann S, Vlachojannis J, Mclachlan AJ. Understanding drug interactions with St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.): impact of hyperforin content. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2019;71(1):129-138. doi:10.1111/jphp.12858 By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Social Anxiety Disorder Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.