St. John's Wort Supplements & Information

 

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St. John's Wort is a bushy perennial plant with numerous yellow flowers. It is native to many parts of the world, including Europe and the United States, and is a wild growing plant in Northern California, Southern Oregon, and Colorado. St. John's Wort has been used traditionally as an herbal treatment for anxiety and depression. It is an effective astringent that promotes wound healing and has antiviral properties that counteract herpes simplex, flu viruses, as well as being investigated as a treatment for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

One of the best herbs for mood elevations is a main characteristic of St. John's Wort. Several controlled studies have shown positive results in treating patients with mild to moderate depression. Improvement was shown with symptoms of sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, headache, and exhaustion with no reported side effects.   Read more below...

 

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Its action is based on the ability of the active ingredient, hypericin to inhibit the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the brain. The herb also inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAO) and works as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI); both are actions similar to drugs prescribed for depression. In Germany, nearly half of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders are treated with hypericin. St. John's Wort should not be taken with any other antidepressants and is not effective for severe depression.

St. John's Wort has been administered in the treatment of many illnesses. The most well-known action of St. John's Wort is in repairing nerve damage, reducing pain, and lowering inflammation. The herb has been used to relieve menstrual cramping, sciatica, and arthritis. It has a favorable action on the secretion of bile and thus soothes the digestive system. The blossoms have been used in folk medicine to relieve ulcers, gastritis, diarrhea, and nausea. St. John's Wort can also be effective in the treatment of incontinence and bed-wetting in children. Externally, it is used on cuts as a disinfectant and to relieve inflammation and promote healing. The oil can be applied to sprains, bruises, and varicose veins. Folk medicine has also used it as a treatment for cancer.

The active constituents in the herb (there are over 50) include hypericin and pseudohypericin, flavonoids, tannins and procyanidins. The tannins are responsible for the astringent effect for wound healing. Hypericin increases capillary blood flow and is a MAO inhibitor. There are many studies documenting the clinical effects of hypericum as an antidepressant treatment similar to several synthetic antidepressants, but with a minimum of side effects. Hypericin has been demonstrated to increase theta waves in the brain. Theta waves normally occur during sleep and have been associated with deep meditation, serene pleasure, and heightened creative activity. St. John's Wort effectually may improve perception and clarify the thinking processes.  
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Scientific Name

Hypericum perforatum   vgo to top

Also Known As

Saint Johns wort, hypericum, goatweed, God?s wonder plant, witches herb

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Uses 

  • To treat depression

  • To treat anxiety

  • To treat chronic fatigue  

  • To treat insomnia  

  • To reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

  • To treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) 

  • To help children stop wetting their beds

  • Topically, for wound healing

  • To treat HIV   vgo to top

  

Warnings

  • This product may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight, leading to sunburn, rash, or redness of the skin.

  • This product is regulated by the FDA as a dietary supplement. Unlike approved drugs, supplements are not required to be manufactured under specific standardized conditions.

  • Do not use St. John?s wort if you are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. 

  • St. John?s wort interferes with the action of many different drugs. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that any other medications you are taking do not interact with St. John?s wort.   vgo to top


Side Effects

  • Headache 

  • Gastrointestinal upset: nausea, abdominal discomfort, constipation ?

  • Dizziness, confusion, sedation

  • Sleep disturbances 

  • Fatigue 

  • Dry mouth 

  • Skin sensitivity to sunlight 

  • Contact your doctor if you experience: pain or tingling in the extremities, wounds that will not heal, or yellowing of the eyes or skin. 

  • There is one case report of serotonin syndrome, consisting of high blood pressure, profuse perspiration, agitation, dizziness, and weakness.

  • There is one case report of sexual dysfunction.   vgo to top

 


Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical profession. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.  Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Please review the Terms of Use before using this site.  Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.

 

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