St. John’s Wort: Health Benefits

st-john-s-wort-herb-180-capsules-nature-s-waySt John’s Wort has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years.  It is a perennial plant which is said to have first bloomed with its yellow flowers around June 24 the birthday of St. John the Baptist.  The plant was named for him.  In Old English the word wort means plant.

For a very long time, St. John’s wort has been used for treating mild to moderate depression. (It is not to be used for major depression. ) Clinical studies have shown some success when using  St. John’s wort for mild depression for short periods of time.  It is said to be as effective as some antidepressant medication without their side effects.

St. John ‘s wort is available in pill or liquid form, in a tincture, or a tea bag or a dried herb which may be used as a tea.

Other uses for St. John’s wort are said to be help as treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety.  More studies are needed in these areas.  It may also assist with the ability to stop smoking.  It may aid insomnia, headaches, lung congestion or colic.

St John’s wort may interfere with some other medications.  It is not indicated for use by those suffering from bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, infertility, major depression  or those taking chemotherapy.

When taking St John’s wort be aware of any symptoms of allergic reactions, an increase in blood pressure, an increase in sensitivity to the sun or a stomach problem.  Other side effects may include dry mouth, irritability, dizziness or drowsiness.

Be sure to discuss St. John’s wort with your health care professional before starting to take it.  A professional can decide if it is right for you, if it is compatible with your other medications,  the proper amount you should use and the length of time you should continue on the treatment.