One of the most talked about herbs today is St. John’s Wort. The funny thing about this herb is that it has been widely used for over 2000 years. The recent increase in popularity of this feel good herb is its ability to relieve depression and anxiety in Europe and the rest of the world.
According to legend ancient Christians named the plant after St. John the Baptist. The herb was traditionally harvested in full bloom on St. John’s Day, June 24th, and soaked in olive oil for days to produce a blood red anointing oil which was thought to symbolize the blood of the saint. The word wort is an old English word for plant. Hippocrates and many other herbalist of that time period (2000 years ago) wrote of the many uses of the herb. Today, St. John’s Wort is cultivated worldwide for its medicinal uses.
In Germany, doctors now prescribe St. John’s Wort eight times more often than Prozac for treating depression. These doctors have the ability to prescribe either one but choose the herb over the drug. Why? The answer is the herb produces results in relieving depression, but with few to no side effects. A review article states that over twenty different clinical trials have shown various St. John’s Wort extracts to all have antidepressant activity significantly greater than a placebo or equal to that of synthetic antidepressant drugs. Not only did the trials show that the herb was as effective as the drugs but with the St. John’s Wort there were no serious side effects reported. Patients suffering from depression received relief, increased appetite, more interest in life, greater self-esteem and restoration of normal sleep patterns. The product used in the studies was an extract of herb that was standardized to 0.3 percent hypericum. With all the news about St. John’s Wort many companies have products on the shelves. According to a recent report on Dateline, a TV newsmagazine, it is important to be very careful where you buy your St. John’s Wort. There are many products that are not standardized or they don’t even have the product that is on the label, in the bottle. Choose the company you get your herbs from wisely, buying an inexpensive bottle of herbs might not have any effect other than to frustrate you with lack of results. Buying an herb for less money and it not working is much more expensive than paying a little more from a reliable manufacture and getting the results that you desire.
Lesser known uses for St. John’s Wort include, anxiety, sleep disorders, balancing the nervous system, neuralgia, fibrositis, sciatica, healing wounds, viral infections, reduction and control of tumor growths, benign and malignant. It is an excellent blood cleanser and purifier and is useful in chronic uterine problems and will correct irregular and painful menstruation.
If you are under the care of a medical doctor for depression you should discuss St. John’s Wort with them before stopping any treatment or prescription drug. Cattle grazing on St. John’s Wort have shown sensitivity to the sun. Normal therapeutic doses of the herb have shown little or no side effects, but as a precaution one should use a good quality sunscreen if going out into the sun. I wish you all good health….