St. John’s Wort

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Biological Name: Hypericum PerforatumSt. John's Wort

Other Names: St. John’s Wort, Johnswort, Tipton weed, Amber, Hypericum, Touch-and-heal, Rosin Rose, Goat weed, Klamath Weed, Hardhay

Elements Applied: The commonly used plant parts are stem tips and flowers.

Active Components: St. John’s Wort is a treasury of various components. It’s anti-bacterial and anti-depressant effect comes from pseudohypericin and hypericin. St. John’s Wort’s medical potency can also be referred to the presence of flavonoids and xanthones in it. Several core components are listed below:

  • Volatile oil, which includes myrcene, limonene, b-pinene, n-decanal, n-octanal, n-nonane, methyl-2-octane, and caryophyllene.
  • Hyperforin, pseudohypericin, hypericin, phloroglucin derivates;
  • Other: epicatechin, flavonoids.

History: In Ancient Greece the plant was linked with religion and believed to scare the evil away. It was almost a panacea, St. John’s Wort was even used to cure poisonous snake bites and the majority of diseases. In European regions the plant was applied locally to cure sores and wounds. In folk medicine it was a remedy for kidney and lung illnesses, and psychological disorders like depression.

Used For: In general, plant’s potency is defined by its ability to cure skin sores and damages, inflammations, depression and anxiety, as well as chronic ear diseases. It was even referred to as a possible remedy for AIDS.

Expectorative effect, anti-bacterial effect and pain relieving ability are also listed among its characteristics.

St. John’s Wort was discovered as an effective remedy for nervous system conditions two thousand and several hundred years ago. However, hypericum, its main active component with relation to nervous treatment, is able to reduce and fight depression in its mild manifestation only, being powerless when it comes to serious condition. This said, the remedy can only be used in unserious cases, though quite effectively. According to scientific researches conducted on the medicine’s effectiveness, St’ John’s Wort has positively changed the nervous system condition in case of insomnia, depression, fear, nervous state and so on. What more, in comparison with chemical remedies for depression St. John’s Wort produces less negative impact on the organism, if any. So, in cases where synthetic medicines may be avoided, this plant may serve a good alternative.

Hypericum, extracted from the plant, is the first remedy any psychiatrist prescribes when it comes to depression. Due to this reason hypericum outpaces chemical substances on the market, accounting for over a half of its share. In Germany it’s also used to treat insomnia and nervous condition, and is even recommended as a safer alternative for Valium (diazepam), which causes an addiction, if taken on a regular basis. St. John’s Wort is also used in special conditions, like irritability or nervousness connected with menopause or PMS. The herb is also applied to treat spasms and pains, induced by neuralgia and rheumatism.

The plant extract aided by oils is also applied for treating digestive system disorders, like stomachaches, bowel disorders, and colic, as well as respiratory system problems, like strong coughs.

As an external remedy the plant is successfully used to heal wounds, sores, skin inflammations and other problems.

What more, hypericin has been researched with regards to its ability to fight AIDS virus. In some cases it has shown a positive effect on patients with HIV, especially when accompanied with AZT. However, this fact is being investigated now.

Preparation and intake: Commonly St. John’s Wort is sold as an extract with hypericin content equaled to 0.3%. This remedy is taken in a dose of 300 mg 3 times daily in case of depression. Some pharmaceuticals contain St. John’s Wort with 0.2% hypericin content. In this case the dose comprises 500 mg, but can be elevated to 900 mg in certain cases. In both forms the plant should be taken either with food, or after food intake. The effect herb produces can be seen only in a month after the first dose was taken.

In form of infusion dried herb is taken in a quantity of 1 ½ teaspoon on average, and dropped into boiling water. The mixture is infused for 15 minutes and consumed three times daily.

In form of a tincture the plant is used in a dose of 3 ml on average 3 times per day.

The dose quantity of St. John’s Wort is still being investigated by medical researchers.

Safety: Hypericum is not recommended to mix with MAO inhibitor remedies for depression, like Parnate and Nardil. It may lead to abnormally high blood tension, nervousness, muscle spasms, and fever. Even if you stop using these remedies in preference to Hypericum you should wait for a month before changing the course.

Hypericum has also been linked with a decrease in effectiveness of medicines applied in course of organ transplantation (like liver or kidney). For this reason hypericum should be quitted if you are going to or have already passed through transplant surgery.

Medicines (5-hydoxytryptophan, L-dopa) and food products which have been reported to produce a negative effect if taken together with MAO-inhibitors should be avoided. St. John’s Wort should not be combined with any antidepressant medicines, or applied when pregnant or nursing.

St. John’s Wort is known to make skin vulnerable to sunlight. Consequently, if you take hypericum, it’s necessary that you stay aside of direct sunlight, unless you get a skin condition like dermatitis.

St. John’s Wort has proven its reliability with the centuries of its usage. There are no registered fatal cases after hypericum administration, if compared with chemical medicines. The extensive studies have justified its effectiveness and reliability on thousands of people, and millions of depression sufferers use it on a regular basis.