A study has proved that St. John’s wort enhances the synaptic activity of the nucleus of the solitary vagal tract.
The herb, commonly used to treat depression, actually inhibits the reuptake of several neurotransmitters, including glutamate, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
The study evaluated if the herb extract modulates glutamatergic neurotransmission within the solitary tract.
The research was published in the July 2014 edition of the journal Nutrition.
The study concludes that the extract of St. John’s wort significantly increases the probability of glutamate release from vagal afferents into the neurons of the solitary tract and is an ideal model system to use for examining the action of botanical agents on glutamatergic neurotransmission.
Dr. Adam Graves, ND, LAc, practices at Colorado Natural Medicine in Castle Rock, Colorado says “This is a good study about how St. John’s wort work in the body to help with depression. It is one of many that continue to demonstrate that St. John’s wort and other natural treatments like diet, exercise, and counseling should be used first before medications in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.”