St. John's Wort
Hypericum Perforatum. Family: Hypericaceae
amber, goatweed, hardhay, hyperici herba, klamath weed, tipton weed
St. John's wort is an herb. It has a five-petaled yellow flower. It grows in much
of the world. It’s named after St. John the Baptist. This is because it blooms around
his celebration day (June 24). The medicinal part of the plant is made up of the dried
above-ground parts. These include the stem, petals, and flowers.
Two constituents that play a major role are hypericin and hyperforin. These and other
related compounds are the main active parts. They may affect serotonin, dopamine,
and norepinephrine. These are neurotransmitters in your body.
Medically valid uses
St. John's wort is used to treat mild to moderate depression. Studies show that it
works just as well as prescription antidepressant medicines for these conditions.
But St. John's wort doesn’t work to treat major or severe depression.
You can apply oily hypericum forms directly to your skin. It can help treat injuries,
muscle pain, and first-degree burns.
Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated
St. John's wort has been said to work as the following:
Muscle relaxant. It’s used to ease menstrual cramps.
Nerve tonic. It may have a positive effect on the nervous system.
Anti-inflammatory. It may reduce swelling.
Astringent. This action contracts tissues or canals of the body.
Vulnerary. This may heal wounds and swelling.
Antineoplastic. This means it may fight cancer.
Antiviral. It may help fight viral infections. These can include herpes and human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
St. John's wort has also been claimed to be good for nerve pain (neuralgia), anxiety,
and tension. It may also aid in weakness, stress, irritability, and sleeping issues
(insomnia). It’s also claimed to ease the pain due to some conditions. These include
sciatica, rheumatoid arthritis, and menstruation. It may also ease the itching and
burning of hemorrhoids and vaginitis.
When you apply it topically, St. John's wort is said to speed healing in certain conditions.
These include bruises, wounds, varicose veins, mild burns, and sunburns.
St. John's wort comes in many forms. These include oil, dried herb, tea, and salve.
It may take four to six weeks for St. John’s wort to work. If it doesn’t work after
this amount of time, you should consider other treatments.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
St. John's wort can interfere with other medicines. These include the following:
St. John’s wort can keep your body from absorbing iron and other minerals.
In large amounts, St. John's wort can make you more sensitive to the sun. This is
especially true for people with fair skin. Stay out of the sun as much as you can.
When you must be in the sun, wear sunscreen.
Don’t take large amounts of St. John's wort. Follow the directions on the package.
You shouldn’t take St. John's wort if you have major depression. You also shouldn’t
take it if you’re taking a medicine to treat depression.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers
before taking any supplements.