Pharmacological studies in an herbal drug combination of St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) and passion flower (Passiflora incarnata): in vitro and in vivo evidence of synergy between Hypericum and Passiflora in antidepressant pharmacological models

Fitoterapia. 2011 Apr;82(3):474-80. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2010.12.006. Epub 2010 Dec 24.


Extracts of Hypericum, Passiflora and Valeriana are used for the treatment of mild depression and anxiety. We were interested whether a combination of Hypericum and Passiflora exerts comparable effects to Hypericum alone. We used two well-established models for investigating extracts for their anti-depressant activity, namely the effects on synaptic uptake of serotonin and the forced-swimming-test. We show here for the first time, that Passiflora significantly enhances the pharmacological potency of Hypericum in both models. Our data suggest that anti-depressive therapeutic effects of Hypericum are possible with lower doses, when it is combined with Passiflora, than with mono-preparations of Hypericum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Hypericum*
  • Passiflora*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Swimming
  • Synapses / metabolism


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Serotonin