St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herb that bears yellow flowers and can grow around 1 meter high. It has small transparent dots that make the leaves look perforated. The ancient Greeks have been using this herb as documented in the writings of Pliny the Elder. In some countries, farmers and ranchers consider St. John’s Wort as an invasive weed that invades prime pastures.
Who would benefit from it?
St. John’s Wort suits people with moderate depression. It also helps those who are currently undergoing smoking cessation therapies. Although it usually takes a few weeks to obtain maximum relief from taking the herb, the chemicals found in this herbal medicine do not cause drug dependence. However, you should avoid taking it with alcohol because it is a MAO inhibitor. Children below 6 years old and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid this herb.
St. John’s Wort can supposedly curb anxiety disorders and mild to moderate types of depression.
Aside from depression, it also treats obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), mood swings and premenstrual syndrome.
It lessens nicotine and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
It has recently been discovered that the active substances found in St. John’s Wort have antiviral properties.
Applied topically as oil packaged in amber bottles (the active substances are destroyed by light), it helps with bruises, wounds, scabies, psoriasis, hemorrhoids, sore muscles and burns. It also makes scars less noticeable.
It helps in achieving overall relaxation by soothing muscle and nerve pain, migraine and headaches.
Detailed Information on its Benefits
Medical professionals in Germany, consider St. John’s Wort as the best treatment for mild to moderate depression due to the plant’s chemical makeup. Hypericin, pseudohypericin and hyperforin delay the reabsorption of ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Once these neurotransmitters are reabsorbed, they become inactive.
As long as these neurotransmitters are not reabsorbed, they will continue to exhibit their effects. As for the antiviral properties, the aforementioned substances stick to the surfaces of viruses to prevent them from binding to cells.
Sadly, because it reacts with numerous drug medications, this herb is banned in France. Canada, Japan, and UK are planning to follow suit.
Should you Consider Taking It?
Consider herbal medicines as Nature’s gift to humanity. This herb has very potent active substances so make sure to take it with precaution. Nevertheless, it is an excellent substitute for antidepressant drugs.