St. John's Wort: antidepressant of nature and much more

Filed in: Health.

St. John's Wort: antidepressant of nature and much more

Grass of San Juan (Hypericum perforatum) is a flowering perennial plant native to Europe and Asia. With oblong opposite leaves that are light green, St. John's wort is named because of its yellow flowers that bloom on June 24, the birthday of John the Baptist. The foliage is dotted with small translucent spots that make the leaves appear perforated when held to light, which is why sometimes it is also called perforated St. John's wort.

Its use in herbal medicine dates back to ancient Greece, where it was prescribed to treat depression and inflammation. Both the leaves and the flowers contain the phytochemicals hyperforin, hypericin and flavonoids, and it is believed that these compounds are beneficial for the body and the mind.

1. St. John's Wort is a natural antidepressant

The most well-known and celebrated use of St. John's Wort is like a natural antidepressant. Thousands of scientific studies have been carried out, comparing the herb with placebo and the established pharmaceutical treatments such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa.

in a systematic review of St. John's wort as monotherapy in major depressive disorder, the researchers evaluated the published findings of 43 studies with nearly 7,000 patients until November 2014. They found that, in cases of mild to moderate depression, St. John's wort had a significant effect on depression scale scores compared to a placebo. When faced with typical antidepressant medications, St. John's wort was just as effective in relieving symptoms with fewer side effects. The authors concluded that St. John's wort shows great effectiveness in cases of mild and moderate depression, but current research lacks its impact on severe depression.

Although researchers are not sure how St. John's wort works, it is speculated that it interacts with the brain in a manner similar to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increases the neurotransmitters of serotonin and dopamine.

2. St. John's wort as a treatment for SAD

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons, which usually start in the fall and end in the spring.

While light therapy has been an effective treatment for SAD, St. John's Wort has also been shown to be a viable remedy for SAD. A 1999 study They compared the results of two groups of people diagnosed with SAD, one who used St. John's wort alone and the other took it together with light therapy. After 8 weeks of treatment, both groups had almost equal improvements in anxiety, loss of libido and insomnia.

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3. St. John's Wort offers relief from premenstrual syndrome

In relation to the hormonal changes that occur approximately six days before menstruation, the premenstrual syndrome (PMS) covers the emotional and physical aspects. Common symptoms include anxiety, depressed mood, irritability, changes in appetite, insomnia, headache and body, breast tenderness, swelling, acne and difficulty concentrating. For some women it is a mild discomfort, but for others, PMS symptoms are severe enough to affect their daily lives.

According to a study published in 2010, women who took 900 g of St. John's wort each day experienced a significant improvement in the physical and behavioral symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, compared to placebo. Over the course of two months, participants completed daily reports on their symptoms, levels of anxiety, depression, aggression and impulsivity. The study authors concluded that while St. John's wort seemed effective for the most common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, it did not have the same effect on pain or mood-related symptoms during the 60-day trial period and that perhaps a longer period of treatment could produce these effects

4. St. John's wort relieves the symptoms of menopause

By marking the end of menstruation and fertility, the symptoms of the transition to menopause are unpleasant to say the least: hot flashes, changes in mood, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, sleep disturbances and night sweats.

Instead of the potentially dangerous Hormone replacement therapy, a safer option is to take St. John's wort to alleviate these symptoms. in a 1999 study, women who took 900 g of St. John's wort daily for 12 weeks experienced a drastic decline in the incidence and severity of anxiety, stress, moodiness and depression. The climatic complaints, which included hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue and headaches, were reduced or completely disappeared in almost 80% of the participants. Libido and sexual well-being also improved with St. John's wort.

5. St. John's wort speeds healing of wounds

St. John's wort has also been used for a long time to accelerate wound healing in folk medicine. One study, published in 2010, fully supports this claim. By using olive oil combined with floral extracts from the plant, the researchers found that the topical use of St. John's wort has remarkable wound healing and anti-inflammatory activity, thanks to its high flavonoid content.

6. St. John's wort relieves eczema and other skin conditions

Because St. John's wort possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities, its topical use has also been investigated as a natural therapy for atopic dermatitis. the 2003 Study 21 volunteers with mild to moderate eczema diagnosed, who were given the task of applying a cream containing 5% St. John's wort extract in the middle of the face for four weeks. Each week, the skin was evaluated using the SCORAD index to determine peeling, bark, redness, thickness, acne and abrasions. Compared to placebo, the final treatment result of St. John's wort showed great improvement in each evaluation criterion. SCORAD total scores decreased from 44.9 at the beginning of the study to 23.9 after treatment.

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7. St. John's Wort has anti-cancer properties

In order for cancer cells to grow and spread in the body, they need access to blood, oxygen and nutrients. Angiogenesis is the physiological process in which new blood vessels develop from old blood vessels. As a way to prevent cancerous tumors from metastasizing, scientists have explored treatments that inhibit angiogenesis, which, therefore, would reduce the spread of cancer.

St. John's wort has shown great promise as an inhibitor of angiogenesis. in a 2005 Study, hyperforin compounds extracted from St. John's wort exerted strong inhibitory effects in in vitro Y Live Experiments on cancer cell cultures. Hyperforin was able to prevent several key steps in the process of angiogenesis, from stopping the growth of cancer cells and the formation of capillaries to curbing the potential for migration and invasion of endothelial cells.

How to use St. John's wort

Because St. John's wort has a profound effect on the brain, it can interact with other medications You could be taking, making them more or less effective. As always, be sure to check with your doctor before using St. John's Wort.

Like most medicinal herbs, St. John's wort takes time to produce an effect on the mind and body. It may take three to six weeks to feel a change.

For antidepressant benefits and to improve mood, you can take St. John's Wort as a dietary supplement. These VitaStrength capsules They are well reviewed, not GMOs and approved by the FDA.

St. John's Wort is also available in loose leaf shape, to make teas and tinctures.

To use St. John's wort in skin care, you can buy it as topical oil and in balsams and lotions.

Reference:, by Lindsay Sheehan

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