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Analysis of the hypericin and pseudohypericin content of commercially available St John's Wort preparations.
Can J Clin Pharmacol 2003; 10(3):114-8CJ

Abstract

CONTEXT

The use of herbal medications and supplements has been growing worldwide with over four billion dollars a year spent on alternative medicines in the United States. St John's wort herbal preparations are generally standardized to "total hypericins" as a means of illustrating a degree of quality control to the consumer. This standardization has been based on a nonspecific method that overestimates and sums the two major naphthodianthrone compounds (hypericin and pseudohypericin) that are found in these products.

OBJECTIVE

To use a more specific and sensitive method to accurately determine the total hypericin content (sum of hypericin and pseudohypericin) in commercially available St John's wort herbal preparations.

DESIGN

The current standard method for determining the naphthodianthrone content is a spectrophotometric method specified in the United States Pharmacopeia. Compounds other than hypericin and pseudohypericin can contribute falsely to the naphthodianthrone concentration, reducing this methods specificity.

SETTING

Fifty-four commercially available St John's wort products were purchased in Canada and the United States.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES

A specific and sensitive liquid chromatographic method with fluorescent detection was used to specifically quantify the hypericin and pseudohypericin content in commercially purchased St John's wort products.

RESULTS

Analysis revealed large variations in total naphthodianthrone content, with the percentage of label claim varying from 0% to 108.62% for capsules, and from 31.34% to 80.18% for tablets. The content of tinctures varied from zero to 118.58 microg/ml. Only two products were observed to have a total naphthodianthrone concentrations within 10% of their label claim.

CONCLUSIONS

When the active or marker compounds in an herbal or alternative medicine have been identified, standardization is an important step to ensure consistency from batch to batch. However, consistency is not apparent between brands and most products have inaccurate label claims. On average, most labels overestimate the hypericin and pseudohypericin content by a factor of almost two.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Pharmacy, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Science Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5, Canada.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

14506510

Citation

Draves, Andrew H., and Scott E. Walker. "Analysis of the Hypericin and Pseudohypericin Content of Commercially Available St John's Wort Preparations." The Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology = Journal Canadien De Pharmacologie Clinique, vol. 10, no. 3, 2003, pp. 114-8.
Draves AH, Walker SE. Analysis of the hypericin and pseudohypericin content of commercially available St John's Wort preparations. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2003;10(3):114-8.
Draves, A. H., & Walker, S. E. (2003). Analysis of the hypericin and pseudohypericin content of commercially available St John's Wort preparations. The Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology = Journal Canadien De Pharmacologie Clinique, 10(3), pp. 114-8.
Draves AH, Walker SE. Analysis of the Hypericin and Pseudohypericin Content of Commercially Available St John's Wort Preparations. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2003;10(3):114-8. PubMed PMID: 14506510.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Analysis of the hypericin and pseudohypericin content of commercially available St John's Wort preparations. AU - Draves,Andrew H, AU - Walker,Scott E, PY - 2003/9/25/pubmed PY - 2003/10/22/medline PY - 2003/9/25/entrez SP - 114 EP - 8 JF - The Canadian journal of clinical pharmacology = Journal canadien de pharmacologie clinique JO - Can J Clin Pharmacol VL - 10 IS - 3 N2 - CONTEXT: The use of herbal medications and supplements has been growing worldwide with over four billion dollars a year spent on alternative medicines in the United States. St John's wort herbal preparations are generally standardized to "total hypericins" as a means of illustrating a degree of quality control to the consumer. This standardization has been based on a nonspecific method that overestimates and sums the two major naphthodianthrone compounds (hypericin and pseudohypericin) that are found in these products. OBJECTIVE: To use a more specific and sensitive method to accurately determine the total hypericin content (sum of hypericin and pseudohypericin) in commercially available St John's wort herbal preparations. DESIGN: The current standard method for determining the naphthodianthrone content is a spectrophotometric method specified in the United States Pharmacopeia. Compounds other than hypericin and pseudohypericin can contribute falsely to the naphthodianthrone concentration, reducing this methods specificity. SETTING: Fifty-four commercially available St John's wort products were purchased in Canada and the United States. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: A specific and sensitive liquid chromatographic method with fluorescent detection was used to specifically quantify the hypericin and pseudohypericin content in commercially purchased St John's wort products. RESULTS: Analysis revealed large variations in total naphthodianthrone content, with the percentage of label claim varying from 0% to 108.62% for capsules, and from 31.34% to 80.18% for tablets. The content of tinctures varied from zero to 118.58 microg/ml. Only two products were observed to have a total naphthodianthrone concentrations within 10% of their label claim. CONCLUSIONS: When the active or marker compounds in an herbal or alternative medicine have been identified, standardization is an important step to ensure consistency from batch to batch. However, consistency is not apparent between brands and most products have inaccurate label claims. On average, most labels overestimate the hypericin and pseudohypericin content by a factor of almost two. SN - 1198-581X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/14506510/Analysis_of_the_hypericin_and_pseudohypericin_content_of_commercially_available_St_John's_Wort_preparations_ L2 - https://medlineplus.gov/antidepressants.html DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -