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CONSUMERLAB.COM REPORTS ON ANTI-DEPRESSANT HERB — ST. JOHN'S WORT
— Few Supplements Pass Quality Testing —

WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — FEBRUARY 14, 2007 — St. John's wort may be helpful in treating mild to moderate cases of clinical depression, but a new report from ConsumerLab.com shows that few of the herbal products tested met quality standards. Americans purchased $64 million of St. John's wort products in 2005 according the Nutrition Business Journal.

Only four St. John's wort products met ConsumerLab.com's quality standards among the ten that it selected for testing. It found the following problems:

  • Two products did not identify the plant parts used, as required by the FDA under the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Consequently, these products did not go on for further testing. St. John's wort supplements should be specifically labeled as containing flowers or leaves — the "aerial" portions of the plant.
  • Two products exceeded World Health Organization suggested guidelines for cadmium contamination in herbal products. Surprisingly, the product with the highest cadmium level claimed to be "organically grown" and certified. The other product slightly exceeded the WHO limit for cadmium and contained slightly more than the California limit for lead contamination. The metal amounts are not toxic in themselves, but contribute to daily exposure. In these two products, unlike others tested, all or part of the St. John's wort was whole herb, rather than extract. Heavy metals may be removed during the extraction process.
  • Two products contained less of St. John's wort marker compounds (hypericin and/or hyperforin) than claimed on their labels.

The new report is available at www.consumerlab.com/results/sjw.asp. The report provides results for eleven supplements of which ConsumerLab.com selected ten. One was tested at the request of its manufacturers/distributor through CL's Voluntary Certification Program and is included for having passed testing. Also listed is one product similar to another that passed but sold under a different brand name. The report provides information on St. John's wort's effects, side-effects, and dosing. Brands included are Doctor's Trust, Gaia Herbs, Kira, MRM, Nature's Bounty, Pure Encapsulations, Sci-Fit, Solaray, Source Naturals, Spring Valley, Sundown, and 21st Century.

Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available at www.consumerlab.com. New reviews to be released in coming months cover alpha lipoic acid, eye health supplements (lutein and zeaxanthin), joint care supplements (glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM), milk thistle, resveratrol, and SAMe.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com, an evaluator of online pharmacies, and MedicareDrugPlans.com, which reviews and rates Medicare Part D plans. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. For group subscriptions or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at lisa.sabin@consumerlab.com.



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