St. John’s Wort – Natural Remedy for Depression
St. Johns Wort is a plant originating from hyperricum perforatum species, also known as: chase-devil, Tipton’s weed, Klamath weed, perforated bush, hyperricum perforatum or goat weed.
Originally native to North Africa, Europe, and Asia, this herb consisting of yellow flowers is now readily available in North America. Historically, St. John’s Wort was used by ancient Greeks to treat bug bites and sciatica while Europeans used it to treat depression and injuries.
Features of St. John’s Wort
Prescription of Nutrition Healing or PNH indicates that this herb contains numerous nutrients and phytochemicals (plant chemicals). St. John’s Wort`s phytochemicals include, chlorophyll which forms a good source of magnesium, carotenoids and flavonoids which acts as antioxidants, lutein which assists in degeneration of muscles and lastly vitamin C. other minor constituents include: bitters, hypericin and tannins.
For a long duration, St. John’s Wort has been used medicinally as one of the anti-inflammatory herbs for sprains, contusions and strains. Additionally, it has been used in treatment of muscular spasms, tensions, and cramps, responsible for causing muscular spasms.
Bioflavonoids, in St. Johns Wort, serve to minimize inflammation and vascular fragility. Since flavonoids are beneficial in improving venous-wall integrity, this herb is useful in treatment of swollen veins. Its preparations may be orally consumed for inflammation and internal bruising or after suffering a traumatic damage to the external skin and muscles.
St. John’s Wort oil is also beneficial when applied to bruises and wounds or rubbed onto sprains, strains, or varicose veins. Alternatively, it can be rubbed onto the breasts and belly especially during pregnancy, thereby preventing development of stretch marks. Also, topical application is vital in treating hemorrhoids swollen veins and aching that can arise during pregnancy.
It has been reported that St. John’s Wort helps in relieving tension and anxiety, in addition to being an antidepressant. Previously, hypericin in St. John’s Wort was once believed to interfere with the production of monoamine oxidase (MAO), a depression related chemical, however, the recent research cleared the doubt regarding this claim. Research is currently focusing on other ingredients, such as flavonoids and hyperforin.
1983 British Pharmacopoeia has indicated that St. John’s Wort extracts is capable of exerting their antidepressant actions through inhibiting the reuptake of various compounds such as: the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. St. John’s Wort is useful for pelvic pain and cramping.
When using St. Johns Wort to cure antidepressant, the prescribed amount is 300 mg 3 times in a day with meals. If being consumed in its infusion form, a decoction is prepared by steeping 1 or 2 teaspoonful of the dried St. John’s Wort in 8 oz. boiling purified water for about 10-15 minutes. The recommended dosage is three cups daily. While in its tincture form it is recommended to take 1- 4 ml three times daily. For example, when preparing St. John’s Wort tincture home remedy, it involves a simple procedure i.e.
Get a piece of fresh St. John’s Wort and clean it thoroughly before chopping it using a food processor.
Add the mixture into alcohol measuring about 20 to 400 ml to form a saturated mixture
Put the mixture in a clean covered container and leave it for about 3-6 weeks for it to mature.
Strain your mixture through parchment paper or cheesecloth; discard the stems and leaves and then pout you tincture into a clean bottle for later use.
Is St. Johns Wort Safe?
St. John’s Wort is considered safe for curing mild-to-moderate depression; however, due to its complexity, it is likely to interact with certain drugs preferably antidepressants. Combining St. John’s Wort with these drugs can cause excess serotonin thereby deepening and igniting suicidal feelings and mood swings. In addition, St. John’s Wort can interfere with certain infection-fighting drugs such as cyclosporine and indinavir used for preventing organ transplant rejection.
Like any other herb, St. John`s Wart has got minor side effects and severe side effects. St. Johns Wort has several mild side effects such as: constipation, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, weight gain, dizziness, dry mouth and headache. Other serious side effects include: insomnia, which is a sleeping problem; cardiovascular effects whereby it leads to tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and palpilation (pounding heartbeat); psychological effects such as: anxiety, schizophrenia, dementia, restlessness, hallucination etc; allergic reaction and side effects relating to fertility, pregnancy and sex.