This study aimed at verifying a hypothesis that St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) alleviates stress-induced memory impairments. Administration of Hypericum perforatum (350 mg kg-1 daily for 21 days) significantly enhanced recall of passive avoidance behavior (PAB), but had no effect on the acquisition of conditioned avoidance responses (CARs). Rats stressed chronically (2 h daily for 21 days) displayed diminished recall of the PAB and this effect was abolished by St John's wort. Chronic administration of the ?equivalent' to the stress dose of exogenous corticosterone (5 mg kg-1 daily for 21 days) also impaired recall of PAB, and this effect was also reversed by Hypericum perforatum. None of our treatments produced significant motor coordination impairments as tested in a ?chimney' test. It appears that H. perforatum prevents stress-induced deterioration of memory in rats.