A pilot randomised, open, uncontrolled, clinical study of two dosages of St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) herb extract (LI-160) as an aid to motivational/behavioural support in smoking cessation

Planta Med. 2006 Mar;72(4):378-82. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-916219.


There is an association between smoking and depression, yet the herbal antidepressant St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.; SJW) herb extract has not previously been investigated as an aid in smoking cessation. In this open, uncontrolled, pilot study, 28 smokers of 10 or more cigarettes per day for at least one year were randomised to receive SJW herb extract (LI-160) 300 mg once or twice daily taken for one week before and continued for 3 months after a target quit date. In addition, all participants received motivational/behavioural support from a trained pharmacist. At 3 months, the point prevalence and continuous abstinence rates were both 18%, and at 12 months were 0%. Fifteen participants (54%) reported 23 adverse events up to the end of the 3-month follow-up period. There was no statistically significant difference in the frequency of adverse events for participants taking SJW once or twice daily (p > 0.05). Most adverse events were mild, transient and non-serious. This preliminary study has not provided convincing evidence that a SJW herb extract plus individual motivational/behavioural support is likely to be effective as an aid in smoking cessation. However, it may be premature to rule out a possible effect on the basis of a single, uncontrolled pilot study, and other approaches involving SJW extract may warrant investigation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypericum* / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Hypericum extract LI 160
  • Plant Extracts