Hypericum perforatum is not traditionally used as a nootropic agent. Known more prevalently as perforate Saint John’s wort, this flowering plant is a natural remedy to anxiety, depression and inflammation. Just because it’s natural, however, doesn’t mean it is not potent or potentially dangerous. The herb increases the amount of enzyme CYP3A4 in the body and can thus cause serious drug interaction complications when taken with pharmaceuticals that are metabolized by CYP3A4. Aside from drug interactions, Saint John’s wort is considered a relatively safe, all-natural remedy. It has far fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs used in the treatment of depression.
A recent study reveals that Saint John’s wort may do more than alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. The study points to the herb’s nootropic abilities. Like many studies, this one involved rats. Specifically, the study performed a literature review to examine how hypericum perforatum impacts the cognitive abilities of healthy rats and of impaired rats.
The review included 13 independent studies involving 20 relevant experimental comparisons. Each looked at how rats given hypericum perforatum performed on memory tasks when compared to rats given a placebo. In both cases – healthy and cognitively impaired rats – those given the herb performed better than those given a placebo. This held true independent of whether the study tested reference memory or working memory. It is worth noting, however, that the difference was greater between impaired rats who were and were not given the treatment.
These findings imply that perforate Saint John’s wort has high potential as a nootropic agent. The results are especially stunning given how few scientific studies look specifically at how nootropics impact healthy individuals. Also, the relative safety of this herb makes it an ideal agent of enhancement. Just one more substance with nootropic potential to add to our bag of tricks.