There are many benefits of St Johns wort as an herbal remedy. Also called hypericum, this plant can be found growing all over the world and is actually a weed that grows wild. It can spread quickly if not cultivated properly.
It has properties which can lift the mood, and when used topically in creams it can be beneficial for burns and insect bites.
St Johns Wort and Depression
One of the most widely known benefits of St Johns wort is its use as an antidepressant, and it has been proven to have a very positive effect on mood.
There are many symptoms of depression, and these could include lethargy, lack of concentration, continual sad mood, lack of interest in life, and feeling worthless. The severity of these symptoms can vary, and the herb is believed to work by keeping a chemical called serotonin in the brain for longer.
A number of studies have shown that St Johns wort just as effective as some prescription medications for the condition and in 2000 was classified as a “prescription only” remedy in the Republic of Ireland. In Germany it is the most popular remedy for depression.
The benefits of St Johns wort can be particularly effective for teenagers, as most prescription medications for depression are not considered to be suitable for adolescents. These medications are also not suitable for pregnant women, so an herbal remedy is a welcome alternative.
Studies are under way to determine its effectiveness in other mood related disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder. It is also thought to be beneficial for other conditions which affect the mood, such as PMS and menopause symptoms.
St Johns Wort Dosage
The St Johns wort dosage that is generally recommended is between 500 and 1000 mg per day. It may take several weeks for the effects of the herb to be noticed, as it can take a little time for the herb to fully enter the system.
Severe cases may require a higher dosage, but this should be recommended by a health care professional. It can be taken as a capsule, which is the most common method of administering the herb, or as tincture or tea form.
St Johns Wort Side Effects
St Johns wort side effects include the potential interference with a number of prescription drugs. If taking any medication, it is better to check with your doctor before beginning a course of St Johns Wort.
Alcohol consumption is not recommended while taking this remedy. The herb is also not recommended to be used by anybody taking contraceptive pills, as it can reduce its effectiveness.
A number of foods do not work well with the herb. These include cheese and red wine. Skin may become more sensitive to sunlight when using St Johns wort, and eyes may require protection in the sun.
One danger of St Johns wort is its reaction with blood thinning medications and therefore should be avoided by those taking these medications.
Rare side effects from the herb include headaches, stomach upsets, and drowsiness. The herb may also lead to a condition called serotonin syndrome, of which the symptoms include fever and confusion.