St. John’s wort is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years to treat mental health problems, such as mild and moderate depression, seasonal affective disorder, mild anxiety, and sleep problems. It has yellow, star-shaped flowers and grows in Europe, North America, South America, and Eastern Asia.
Research suggests that St. John’s Wort can increase the activity of brain chemicals, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, which play an important part in regulating our mood. For a long time, investigators thought a chemical found in St. John’s wort called hypericin was responsible for its antidepressant effects. However, recent studies suggest that hyperforin, adhyperforin, and several other similar chemicals may also play a larger role. They act on chemical messengers in the nervous system that regulate mood to fight against mental disorders.
Here are 5 facts about St. John’s Wort that you might not know:
When did St. John’s wort become popular in the U.S.?
According to the American Botanical Council, St. John’s wort has a long history in Europe as a part of the local folk medicine, but it was relatively obscure until when the first European studies proved its effectiveness for treating depression in the late 1990s. On the other hand, its popularity rose in the United States in the 1990s due to its purported antidepressant action. Up to now, St. John’s Wort is a big business with US sales of more than $57 million every year.
How quickly does St John’s wort work?
It may take 3 to 6 weeks to feel any effects from St. John’s wort. Do not stop taking St. John’s wort all at once because that may cause unpleasant side effects.
How should I use St. John’s Wort?
If you are considering trying St John’s wort as an herbal alternative to antidepressants, you can buy St John’s wort extract from a pharmacy without a prescription. Chenland’s MoodElite® is a specially formulated botanical blend with three traditional Chinese herbs: Hypericum perforatum, Eleutherococcus senticosus, and Paeonia suffruticosa. Its development was based on 2,000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine history and it can effectively enhance sleep quality, alleviate nervousness and prolong time spent asleep.
Who should not use St John’s wort?
You should not use St John’s wort if you are:
pregnant or planning a pregnancy
having bipolar disease
taking antidepressants such as paroxetine, citalopram, fluoxetine, or sertraline
taking triptan medication for migraine
Is depression the only thing that St. John’s wort is effective for?
According to the American Botanical Council, lotions and oils that contain St. John’s wort can be used to treat bug bites, sunburns, and wounds. Oils or tinctures taken internally are effective for inflammatory bowel problems for some people. In addition, some studies have shown that St. John’s wort might be promising in treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.