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St. JOHN'S WORT - Hypericum Perforatum

Updated on September 30, 2014

What is St. John's Wort?

St. John's Wort is a herbaceous plant (30-70cm). St. John's Wort grows along forest edges, in meadows, thickets and along the hedges. It is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs. St. John's Wort can be found in the north to the middle of Scandinavia, east to Altai and China, south to North Africa and was transferred to North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Tips of branches are full with yellow flowers. Leaves of St. John's Wort watched in light look like they are pierced with tipped needle. These dots are glands with essential oil. Wort blooms during the summer, from May to September, but mostly in July. It is picked the upper part of plant while in bloom.

St. John's Wort preparations are used externally - for the treatment of wounds, cuts, bumps, muscle injury, burns, hemorrhoids and ulcers, and inside - for the treatment of diseases of the stomach, liver, gall bladder, intestinal parasites, headache (particularly migraine), nocturnal enuresis in bed, diarrhea, inflammation, cancer, asthma, bronchitis, lung catarrh. It also improves blood circulation and increases general (psychological) mood. Proven to have slightly sedative and antidepressant effects. It is used for making tea, and is particularly well known and appreciated St. John's Wort oil.

Pale-skinned people should be cautious when using St. John's Wort oil due to photosensitisation. In fact, for them, under the influence of sunlight, inflammatory processes occurring in the skin are similar to sunburn!

Photo credit: Mrs Magic / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

FOR WHAT WE USE ST. JOHN'S WORT?

St. John's Wort is known to have antibacterial and antiviral properties and thanks to the anti-inflammatory effect is used for wounds and burns. It is also used for ulcers of stomach and duodenum, for digestion disorder, stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and facilitates digestion. The oil of St. John's Wort prevents cramps, eases bloating and gastric problems. It is used to reduce pain in the healing of gastritis, gastric ulcer and duodenum.

In recent years, St. John's Wort is becoming increasingly popular as a tool in the fight against depression, and there are numerous scientific studies that confirm this kind of use. It is used for treatment of mild to moderate depression. In comparison with the antidepressant St. John's Wort is effective, but shows fewer side effects. St. John's Wort is used for depression, anxiety, mood disorders, menopause, obsessive-compulsive disorder and seasonal depression (occurring during the winter months due to lack of sun light).

St. John's Wort shows antiviral effects, and there are some studies and researches of its use in viral diseases of HIV and hepatitis C. St. John's Wort is applied for the treatment of sudden changes of mood in postmenopausal women, as well as bedwetting.

St. John's Wort is the most popular for skin injuries, wounds, cuts, bites, sores. Traditionally, St. John's Wort oil is applied to reduce the pain of rheumatism, gout and injuries, swelling, bruises. Externally wort oil or oil-based preparations of St. John's Wort are used for injury, inflammation of the skin, burns, healing of wounds, insect bites, hemorrhoids.

It is a frequent ingredient in teas for the treatment of liver disease. There is an interesting theory that yellow plants help the treatment of liver (celandine, agrimony, dandelion, calendula, gentian). There was a popular theory in 18th century that says that plants that have some similarity with some organ may cure that organ. This can in some cases proved to be true, but there are a number of herbs that are known to have healing properties but their appearance isn't correlated with the appearance of organs on which they have healing effect. Probably by this principle yellow plants are associated with gall. Like all tannic plant is used to stop diarrhea.

St. John's Wort - Try them out!

Teas, tablets, oils, tinctures, extracts - pick what suits you the best. Great selection of very healthy products. Keep your health!

REMARK

BECAUSE ST. JOHN'S WORT AFFECTS THE METABOLISM OF MANY MEDICATIONS THE SAFEST IS TO TAKE IT ONLY IN CONSULTATION WITH A DOCTOR.

IN WHAT CASES SHOULDN'T BE USED ST. JOHN'S WORT?

ST. JOHN'S WORT SHOULDN'T BE USED DURING PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING, BECAUSE THERE ARE NO DATA ON USE IN THESE CONDITIONS.

How does St. John's Wort work?

Previously it was thought that the most active component is Hypericum, but is now known to have a number of other compounds also responsible for its effects, and the increasing importance is given to hyperforin. St. John's wort prevents the breakdown of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, which are responsible for the well-being and thereby reducing the symptoms of depression. In the same way are acting antidepressant drugs SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), MAO inhibitors.

St. John's Wort in the treatment contributes to inflammatory processes in the skin and superficial wounds by reducing inflammation of skin. Since it contains photosensitive components, you should take into account the possibility of making a reaction in susceptible people, especially in the summer. St. John's Wort acts against many Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and viruses (influenzy virus, herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, cytomegalovirus, hepatitis C). It was found that hyperforin acts by preventing the development of penicillin and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Some studies suggest that St. John's Wort prevents the development of malignant cells, but such an effect has not been clinically confirmed. From St. John's Wort has been isolated and melatonin, which is secreted by the body to support the introduction of sleep and sleep maintenance, and so certainly St. John's Wort works with insomnia.

What scientific research say?

St. John's wort has been approved as a drug for use in mild to moderate depression in Germany, and has been recognized by the World Health Organization. In Germany it is registered as a medicine which is issued on medical prescription. The reason is that there are numerous interactions with other drugs, usually increases their excretion, so there is a reduction or complete loss of their actions.

Photo credit: bob in swamp / Foter / CC BY-SA

WHAT DO YOU SAY? - Have you ever used St. John's Wort?

Have you ever used this herb as a tea or in some other form (remedy, oil)?

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How to take St. John's Wort?

It is used in the form of: tea, drops, capsules, pills. It is usually standardized to hypericin or hyperforin (the active component of St. John's Wort, whose concentration is determined). Mainly applied dosage is 300mg of Hypericum extract (standardized to 0.3% hypericin) three times a day for patients with mild to moderate depression. Mood disorders and menopausal applied dosage is 300mg daily. Since research has shown that hyperforin showed stronger antidepressant effects than hyperycine, lately preparations are standardized at 2.8% -5% hyperforin.

The content of active components in Hypericum shows seasonal and regional variations. Many components are sensitive to the effects of light, moisture and heat, so it is very important to keep the wort preparations. There are proponents of the theory that say that responsible for the effect of St. John's Wort are several active components, which should be implemented in specific doses (standardized extract - capsules, pills), and there are theories that St. John's wort exerts its numerous, complex effects only when acting together numerous components, advocates of this theory advise the use of teas, tinctures.

Photo credit: InAweofGod'sCreation / Foter / CC BY

WHAT SIDE EFFECTS CAN OCCUR DURING TREATMENT BY ST. JOHN'S WORT?

PHOTOSENSITIVITY - ST. JOHN'S WORT INCREASES THE POSSIBILITY OF BURNS, ESPECIALLY IN THE SUMMER.

With which drugs shouldn't be applied simultaneously?

St. John's Wort stimulates liver enzymes to quickly metabolize drugs and thereby reduce their concentration in the blood, and thus can be significantly reduced or absent the effect of used medication. There are cases of women who despite the use of oral contraceptives got pregnant, because they used St. John's Wort and pills. That is why the simultaneous use of oral contraceptives and St. John's wort is necessary to have additional form of protection to prevent pregnancy. Can lead to the appearance of bleeding and menstrual disorders.

St. John's Wort shouldn't be applied together with an antidepressant, because it has the same mechanism of action, ie, increases the level of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that is associated with good mood) in the brain. If St. John's Wort is taken together with antidepressants (Flunisan, Flusetin, Prozac, Flunirin, Palix, Seroxat, Zoloft) may lead to an excessive increase in serotonin, and that may cause the risk for developing serotonin syndrome.

St. John's Wort decreases the effect of simvastatin (medications to control cholesterol - Cholipam, Vasilip, Simvor, Zocor, Hollesta), tricyclic antidepressants, theophylline, warfarin, digoxin, levotiroxina, some antivirals. St. John's Wort decreases the concentration of medications that prevent organ transplant rejection, so it shouldn't be used a certain period before surgery.

Photo credit: Drriss / CC BY-NC-SA

SOME RECIPES AND HOME REMEDIES

Tea blend for ulcer of the stomach and duodenum

Mix per 50 grams

- St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)

- Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

- sweet flag (Acorus calamus)

- Plantain (Plantago major)

- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

(If you have a family history of liver disease or if you have any problems related to the liver remove comfrey). 5 tablespoons of this mixture pour with a liter of boiling water and leave covered for 2 hours. Drain and divide into 3 dosages and drink 30 minutes before eating.

Tea blend for depression

- 100 grams of wort (Hypericum perforatum)

- 50 grams of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

- 20 grams of liquorice (Glycyrhiza glabra)

All good mix. 7 tablespoons of this mixture pour with a liter of boiling water, stir, cover and leave for 1 hour. Drain and drink during the day, sweetened with honey.

Against bedwetting children to bed:

- Mix per 30 grams

- St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)

- Plantain (Plantago major)

- Nettle seed (Urtica dioica)

- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

2 teaspoons of mixture pour with a cup of boiling water and leave 1 hour. Drain and give the child to drink 3 hours before bedtime, sweetened with honey.

Your feedback - Leave your comments, thoughts and opinions. Do you find this lens useful? Thank you for your visit.

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    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I have St John's Wort growing in my garden, but haven't used the plants. Have used Hypericum cream for wounds, and it's very good. Nice lens.

    • pumpum profile image
      Author

      pumpum 4 years ago

      @NedD: Thanks!

    • NedD profile image

      NedD 4 years ago

      Great informative lens. Really good work.

    • pumpum profile image
      Author

      pumpum 4 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: Thank you very much.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I see these pretty wildflowers growing in my area of Central Florida. Very informative.