St. John’s wort has been used since the ancient Greeks. The Greek physician Hippocrates was one of the first to document its therapeutic use. Since the time of the Swiss physician Paracelsns (ca. 1540 C.E.) it was used to treat mental disorders. SJW rose from virtual obscurity in the United States to become the fifth best-selling dietary supplement in mainstream retail stores in the U.S. in 2000 following major media coverage of clinical
research documenting its relative safety and efficacy for treating mild to moderate depression.
The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recently funded a three-year, multi-center trial comparing the effects of a
standardized extract of SJW and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sertraline.
Depression is the most common psychiatric illness with a lifetime prevalence of 28 % and a prevalence of 5–9 % for severe depression.
In what form you can find St. John’s wort?
- Liquid or capsule form
St. John’s wort is most commonly used for treatment of depression and symptoms, such as anxiety, tiredness, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping. It’s also used to treat heart palpitations, moodiness, the symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and symptoms of menopause.
Research published in the medical journal Phytotherapy Research showcases St. John’s Wort’s effectiveness as a natural anti-anxiety medicine. While many people attempt to attribute the herb’s anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects to the naturally-present compound hypericin, the reality is that St. John’s Wort is a highly complex herb with many different active compounds, including: naphthodianthrones, xanthones, flavonoids, phloroglucinols (hyperforin) and hypericin. Because pharmaceutical drugs tend to contain one substance intended to function using one active mechanism in the body, we often try to compartmentalize herbs in the same way, when they repeatedly show greater effectiveness as a whole than as individual compounds.
Menopausal Mood Swings:
There are two distinct periods in feminine sexual health that can be challenging in terms of mood swings; pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause. St. John’s Wort is widely recommended for women in both of these periods of their life, as the chemical constituents have been shown to reduce mood swings and anxiety in menopausal women, and also reduce the severity of cramping and pre-menstrual irritation and depression.
As already expressed in the explanation of the antidepressant effects of St. John’s Wort, the active ingredients have strong effects on hormone regulation in the body. Hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid disorders and it has been shown to reduce those symptoms and help the thyroid gland produce normal levels of hormones again.
While pregnant, hemorrhoids or other stretched out areas of the body can become very painful. Although it is not recommended to take oral supplements throughout the pregnancy, topical application of St. John’s Wort salves and pastes are highly recommended for women suffering from these pregnancy-related conditions.