West Nile Virus, although new to the U.S., is
well-documented. The Centers for Disease Control
identifies it as a flavivirus, a member of the
Togavirus family. It is closely related to yellow
fever and dengue fever. This is important because
the Togavirus family are encapsulated viruses,
i.e., they are covered with a lipid (fatty)
This is exciting, because it means the virus is
accessible to treatment utilizing high quality St.
John's Wort (SJW). Several studies have been done
on a variety of encapsulated viruses, including
herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, parainfluenza
virus, vaccinia virus, cytomegalovirus and several
retroviruses including HIV1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10.
Non-encapsulated viruses or "naked" viruses were
also studied for comparison purposes10,13.
SJW was a potent anti-viral agent across a variety of
encapsulated virus families, but showed no
activity against naked viruses.
Unlike a vaccine that is specific to each
organism, SJW is active against encapsulated
viruses by a variety of mechanisms, including
light activation, interference with DNA
transcription, impairing the assembly of intact
viral particles and the lipophilic (fat-loving)
nature of the ring structures (the quinone and
phenolic groups)4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.
These ring structures are critical to the biologic
activity of SJW.
From these results, it is reasonable to use high
quality, pharmaceutical grade SJW in combating
West Nile Virus, since there are no effective
Quality is critical since the level of hypericin
and pseudohypericin are
key. I can only recommend the SJW product
produced by Medi-Herb, which is a pharmaceutical
house in Australia, adhering to pharmaceutical
manufacturing standards. The product is
distributed by Standard Process through
alternative health care practitioners, including
doctors of chiropractic, acupuncturists and
veterinarians. SJW is quite unstable and the
active ingredients degrade on store shelves. An
independent analysis of 3 products (all of which
were certified to contain 0.3% hypericin) were
shown to be widely variant, with one product 25%
below label claims. It is critically important
that the phytochemical integrity of the whole
plant be preserved for maximum efficacy.16
1Andersen DO, Weber ND, Wood SG et al. Antiviral
Res 1991; 16(2): 185-196.
2Lopez-Bazzocchi I, Hudson JB, Towers GHN.
Photochem.Photopbiol. 1991; 54(1): 95-98.
3Moraleda G, Wu TT, Jilbert AR et al. Antiviral
Res 1993; 20: 235-247.
4Tang J, Colacino JM, Larsen SH et al. Antiviral
Res 1990; 13 (6): 313-325.
5Hudson JB, Harris L, Towers GHN. Antiviral Res
1993; 20 (2):173-178.
6Lenard J, Rabson A, Vanderoef R. Proc Natl Acad
Sci USA 1993; 90 (1): 158-162.
7Degar S, Prince AM, Pascual D et al. AIDS Res Hum
Retroviruses 1992; 8 (11): 1929-1936.
8Carpenter S, Kraus GA. Photochem Photobiol 1991;
53 (2): 169-174.
9Lavie G, Valentine F, Levin B et al. Proc Natl
Acad Sci USA 1989; 86 (15): 5963-5967.
10Meruelo D, Lavie G, Lavie D et al. Proc Natl
Acad Sci USA 1988; 85 (14): 5230-5234.
11Kraus GA, Pratt D, Tossberg J et al. Biochem
Biophys Res Commun 1990; 172 (1): 149-153.
12Takahashi I, Nakanishi S, Kobayashi E et al.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1989; 165 (3):
13De Witte P, Agostinis P, Van Lint J et al.
Biochem Pharmacol 1993; 46 (11): 1929-1936.
14Panossian AG, Gabrielian E, Manvelian V et al.
Phytomed 1996; 3 (1): 19-28.
15Lavie G, Mazur Y, Lavie D et al. Transfusion
1995; 35 (5): 392-400.
16Constantine GH, Karchesy J. Variations in
Hypericin concentrations in Hypericum perforatum
L. and commercial products. Pharmaceutical
Biology 1998; 36 (5): 365-367.
Dr. N. Rowan Richards was recently awarded the
distinction of being one of the top five
chiropractors in the state of California.
She is a Diplomate of the American Board of
Chiropractic Internists, a certified herbalist,
and a Fellow of the International Academy of
Clinical Acupuncture. Dr. Richards has been in
practice for over seventeen years providing caring, individualized
complete alternative health care in the Los Angeles area.
Her web site is www.richardsfamilyhealth.com