White Plains, New York — April 14, 2010 — St. John's wort has been shown to be effective in treating mild to moderate forms of major depression, but a new report from ConsumerLab.com shows that few of the herbal supplement brands recently tested met quality standards. Among the ten St. John's wort supplements selected for testing, only four met ConsumerLab.com's quality standards. Americans purchased $55 million of St. John's wort supplements in 2008 according to the Nutrition Business Journal, down significantly from a high of $315 million in 1998.

St. John's wort is known to accumulate heavy metals from the soil. Four supplements failed testing due to contamination with cadmium, a heavy metal that is a carcinogen and a kidney toxin. Levels ranged from 0.18 to 0.86 micrograms of cadmium per gram of herb or extract in the four products. One of these products was also contaminated with an amount of lead that, although small, would necessitate a warning label in the State of California. Although each of these products alone does not pose a health risk, they represent avoidable sources of contaminants.

Three products, including one of those contaminated with cadmium, contained only 22.6% to 36.2% of St. John's wort plant chemicals (hypericin or hyperforin) expected from their labels.

ConsumerLab.com's Product Review of St. John's Wort Supplements is available at www.consumerlab.com/reviews/St_Johns_Wort/stjohnswort/ and includes results for thirteen supplements. Ten were selected by ConsumerLab.com and three others are included in the report for having passed the same evaluation through ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. Also listed are two products similar to ones that passed but sold under different brand names. Brands included in the report are CVS, FreeLife Depeze, Kira, L.A. Naturals, Nature's Answer, Nature's Bounty, Nature's Sunshine, Nature's Way, New Chapter, Puritan's Pride, Rite Aid, Solaray, Standard Process, Vitamin Shoppe, and Vitamin World. The report provides evaluations, ingredient comparisons, and expert tips on buying and using these supplements.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Reviews of other popular types of supplements are available from www.consumerlab.com. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. 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.

— END —

back to top