Planta Med 2000; 66(1): 3-6
DOI: 10.1055/s-2000-11119
Rapid Communication
Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Flavonoids from Hypericum perforatum Show Antidepressant Activity in the Forced Swimming Test

Veronika Butterweck1,*, Guido Jürgenliemk2 , Adolf Nahrstedt2, and, Hilke Winterhoff4
  • 1 Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany
  • 2 Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Phytochemistry, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
31 December 2000 (online)


It has been shown recently that a flavonoid fraction (fraction II) obtained from a crude extract of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) was remarkably active in the forced swimming test (FST). Fraction II was further separated using MLCCC to give fractions IIa and IIb. Both fractions proved to be active in the FST at different dosages. Further separation of fraction IIa by preparative HPLC yielded fraction IIa1 which mainly was composed of hyperoside, isoquercitrin, miquelianin and quercitrin, and fraction IIa2 which contained small amounts of hyperoside and astilbin, while most compounds were not known. Both fractions were active after acute treatment in the FST. Isolates obtained from these fractions including hyperoside, isoquercitrin, quercitrin, miquelianin, the aglycone quercetin and astilbin, were tested for activity in the FST. Except for quercetin, quercitrin and astilbin all compounds were active. To exclude false positive results in the FST the validity was checked in open field experiments and in the FST after 12 days of daily treatment.


Dr. Veronika Butterweck

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität

Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie

Domagkstr. 12

D-48149 Münster