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St John’s Wort for Depression – the Pro’s and Cons


St John’s Wort for Depression – the Pro’s and Cons

St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a plant that grows in the wild in Europe, Britain, Western Asia, North Africa and South Africa’s Western Cape region. Many people believe the plant is named after St John the Baptist and wort is the old English name for plant. It was used for depression treatment for centuries because people realised it could relieve anxiety, stress and nervous tension naturally.

Why Use St John’s Wort for Depression?

This herb is also sold in in some nations as a dietary supplement. St John’s Wort may be a useful plant for depression and dieting but there are pro’s and cons to its utilization. People who take it need to understand the way the plant works in the body and that it can be dangerous. When you decide to use St John’s Wort for depression, or for dieting, please contact your local doctor first to clarify the effects of the herb on your mind and body.

When St John’s Wort was tested by scientists, they found pro’s and cons to using the plant for depression. Many people take St John’s Wort home from the pharmacy or health shop, believing it will cure them. This perception needs to change. Yes, it is an effective antidote to depression but there are also other ways to reduce feelings of sadness and anxiety. St John’s Wort has been used by many professionals for years to treat depression and the best part is that the plant has fewer side effects than any pharmaceutical drug prescribed for depression. Researchers found that St John’s Wort is better at treating mild to moderate depression, not severe depression.

St John’s Wort has Several Medical Values

Fewer people seem to stop taking St John’s Wort as opposed to antidepressants and while the herb and the antidepressants seem to have the same effect on the patient, the herb does not have as severe side effects as the pharmaceutical drug.The plant can also treat wounds, bruises, sores and burns. This is because the plant has potent antiviral qualities but it is not a rapidly acting remedy. It takes longer to get results but they are effective in the long term. Some doctors warn patients with depression not to rely on St John’s Wort to cure them but they need to maintain contact with a carer or counsellor while taking the plant remedy. They advise not to mix St John’s Wort with other antidepressants or other medications which could result in a dangerous rise in serotonin. a chemical that the nerve cells make. Also, anyone who is depressed needs professional help. For some people with severe depression, suicide becomes their way out. It is therefore important to understand the pro’s and cons of taking St John’s Wort for depression.

Pro’s For Using St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort can be used for depression but should be taken by someone who has educated themselves about the plant and depression. Today in Europe, doctors use the herb for depression, raw wounds, burns and insomnia. It has been shown to relieve symptoms of the menopause as well as nervous excitement, anxiety, sleep issues, fibromyalgia, sciatica and neuralgia. It can treat physical illnesses linked to emotional or mental stressors, or even psychological or psychiatric conditions. A preparation made using the plant oils is used for stomach or gastrointestinal issues which help relieve diarrhoea. 

St John’s Wort is also a great healing balm if used on the skin. Oily products are made to treat open sores, ulcers on the skin, burns and cuts after surgery. It is an effective pain killer and antiseptic and can also help alleviate frost bite, sunburn, insect stings and dry skin conditions.

Studies are showing that St John’s Wort changes chemistry in the brain by hindering the disintegration of a range of neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin. So there is an increase in the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain which regulate mood and stable emotions. Scientists have also found a phoroglucine in the plant called hyperforin which can act as an antidepressant. It is possible that St John’s Wort improves the signal that the serotonin creates after it clings to receptors on brain cells. Messages regarding mood and a sense of well-being are then carried with more impact from one brain cell to the next. Serotonin is the good mood neurotransmitter while dopamine is the feel good brain chemical and noradrenalin is the chemical we rely on for being alert and energetic. St John’s Wort can work with all three of these neurotransmitters as its own chemicals work together to have a combined good effect on someone who is depressed.

Cons for Using St John’s Wort

This natural plant remedy takes a long time to start working and many healers say it must be taken constantly for up to eight weeks before any changes will be noted, especially in mood. No one really knows how the plant cures depression but they are saying that it can clash with antidepressant medication.

St John’s Wort has been found to rob other medications of their intentions. Taking other antidepressants along with St John’s Wort can be dangerous and will have a negative effect on these medications. This could also cause what is known as serotonin syndrome, when blood pressure suddenly rises causing confusion, fever, agitation, perspiration and shivering, diarrhoea, muscle spasms and faster heart beat. This herbal medicine has also reacted to oral contraceptives, medicine for seizures and for thinning of the blood. Be careful of taking St John’s Wort if you are on heart medication, cancer or HIV. Always tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking St John’s Wort so that they can rule out any risks or stagger the medications during the day. St John’s Wort can also make some people ultra sensitive to sunlight.

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Take St John’s Wort as Part of  Healthy Lifestyle

The best way to take St John’s Wort is as part of an organised health programme to ward off depression. Take the plant every day along with Ginkgo biloba, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and folic acid. Add to this calcium and magnesium supplements to assist with sleep and nerve and muscle relaxation at night. Taking Vitamins A, C and E for antioxidant effects is great, with pycnogenol, zinc and selenium,  plus cysteine and glutamine amino acids. A healthy lifestyle is vital to the holistic picture of being free from depression:  getting out daily into nature, meditating, practicing de-stressing techniques and sticking to a healthy, mostly raw diet.

St John’s Wort is a good choice for depression if you are looking for natural medications. We have listed the pro’s and cons and we still advise you to contact your health advisor about your plans to take St John’s Wort.










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