9 Amazing Benefits of St. John’s Wort

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The impressive health benefits of St. John’s wort include its ability to improve mood swings, relieve anxiety, reduce the severity of pre-menstrual symptoms, ease addictive tendencies, regulate hormonal activity, protect against viral infections, reduce inflammation, and soothe the nervous system.

What is St. John’s Wort?

St. John’s wort has become extremely popular in recent decades as a potential cure-all herbal remedy for many health issues. Unlike other herbal treatments, many of its health benefits have been verified by the scientific community and its herbal supplements are commonly prescribed by medical professionals. St. John’s wort is a small flowering plant from the Hypericum genus that has the scientific name of Hypericum perforatum, and it grows wild in Europe, but has since spread to the Americas, Russia, Asia, China, and the Middle East. You might know St. John’s wort by a different name, such as rosin rose or goatweed, but they all have the same impact. The vast range of its health benefits make it an important factor in herbal supplementation, and it is now widely available throughout the world. [1]

St. John’s wort can be found in capsule, tincture, oil or raw form. The chemical constituents of St. John’s wort include bioflavonoids and a range of antioxidants that can have a significant impact on the hormonal, physical, and chemical behavior of the body. While the components can be very valuable to human health, there are also a number of side effects or complications that can arise with the use of St. John’s wort in combination with certain conditions or medications. Consult your doctor before using St. John’s wort. [2]

Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort

Health benefits of this amazing herb include its anti-depressant qualities, skin care, and many more.

Anti-depressant Qualities

Perhaps the most well-known effect of St. John’s wort is its anti-depressant nature. It has been widely used to relieve symptoms of anxiety for generations and is now a popular natural solution that doctors and psychiatrists often prescribe to their patients. It contains a rare combination of antidepressant chemicals that inhibit or delay the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. [3]

Relieves Anxiety

The health benefits of St. John’s wort extend beyond anxiety, as they help people suffering from anxiety and mood swings as well. By helping to regulate the hormonal balance in the body, St. John’s wort is able to get the metabolism and internal clock back in line, providing help for sleeplessness, irritability, and chronic fatigue. Eliminating chronic stress hormones from the body can also improve overall health and cognitive function, as excess stress hormones can affect various organs. [4]

A wooden spoon of fresh St. John's Wort flowers

St. John’s-wort is a very small, mound-shaped, deciduous shrub. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Reduces Mood Swings

There are two distinct periods of 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 these periods, as its chemical constituents have been shown to reduce mood swings and anxiety in menopausal women. Moreover, they reduce the severity of cramping and pre-menstrual irritation. [5]

Eases Withdrawal Symptoms

Early indications show that the use of St. John’s wort can be very helpful in easing cravings and withdrawal symptoms after quitting cigarettes, alcohol or other addictive substances. This could prove very useful, as recovery from addiction is challenging. However, additional research on this particular benefit is still ongoing. [6]

Antiviral Agent

New research has recently come to light saying that St. John’s wort has certain antiviral capabilities, which reduce the risk of hepatitis, and other serious viral conditions. The only problem with this is that very high doses of it are required for this sort of antiviral effect, which would also cause a range of unpleasant side effects. [7]

Restores Hormonal Balance

As we already know about the antidepressant effects of St. John’s wort, the active ingredients also have strong effects on hormone regulation in the body. Hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid disorders and this herb has been shown to reduce its symptoms and help the thyroid gland release normal levels of hormones again. [8]

Anti-inflammatory Agent

The soothing nature of St. John’s wort and the rich concentration of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds make it perfect for easing the pain of arthritis, gout, joint discomfort, and muscle ache. Just as it helps to ease inflammation on the skin and in the gut, St. John’s wort also lowers inflammation in the cardiovascular system, thereby helping lower blood pressure and decrease stress on the heart. [9]

Skin Care

If you use St. John’s wort for topical application in the form of a salve or tincture, it can speed the healing process of burns, bruises, and scrapes by stimulating circulation of oxygenated blood to damaged skin cells. [10]

Reduces Pregnancy Pains

During pregnancy, hemorrhoids and 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 paste are highly recommended for women suffering from these pregnancy-related conditions. [11]

Word of Caution: The most common negative effects of St. John’s wort are dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and confusion. St. John’s wort can also be a dangerous mix with a variety of medications. It is essential to discuss your current conditions with a physician before adding this herb to your supplement regimen.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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