St John’s wort is a yellow-flowered plant. It belongs to the species hypericum perforatum, other names being “tipton’s weed”, “klamath weed” and “chase devil”. It is a perennial herb and is native to Europe. The most well-known use of St. John's wort is for treatment for depression. Other uses of St. John's wort is for somatoform disorders (unexplainable disorders of the mind) and for the treatment for alcoholism.
The primary benefit of St John’s wort is that of an antidepressant.
St John’s wort is also useful in treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or anxiety, premenstrual stress (PMS) or menopausal mood swings.
It has also been proved that St John’s wort can provide relief from withdrawal symptoms of nicotine and alcohol.
There is a lot of research going on in connection with the possibility of antiviral properties of St John’s wort in treatment of hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS among other viral conditions.
Some other benefits of St John’s wort include treatment for bruises, insect bites, burns and scabies.
It has also been used to treat hypothyroidism.
This is most likely to exclude children, but as all age groups in adults are prone to depression, adults in general are likely to benefit from taking St John’s wort.
A few side effects might occur from taking St John’s wort as given below:
It can cause side effects if taken with contraceptive pills, anti-depressants or epileptic drugs.
A reaction can occur if it is taken with foods containing tyramine (preserved meats, cheese, yeast extracts and red wine).
St John’s wort may make the skin extra-sensitive to sunlight.
There have been some rare cases reported of “serotonin syndrome” which may result in seizures, coma and ultimately death.
If any symptoms develop resembling the above occur, a doctor should be contacted immediately.
Capsules are available the form of 300 mg capsules. A single capsule of about 300 mg per day for 3 to 4 days should be sufficient as it takes about 900 to 1200 mg to clear a depression. It is however advisable to take the recommendation of a doctor before taking St John’s wort.
Disclaimer: While it is held that there are several benefiting factors of St. John's Wort, this article is not binding in its conclusions and is subject to further evidence, as research still goes on in matters regarding St. John's Wort.