Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort
Some of the most impressive health benefits of St. John’s Wort include its ability to treat depression, improve mood swings, relieve anxiety, reduce the severity of pre-menstrual symptoms, ease addictive tendencies, regulate hormonal activity, prevent cancer, protect against viral infections, reduce inflammation, and soothe the nervous system.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort has become extremely popular in recent decades as a potential cure-all herbal remedy for a wide swath of conditions. Unlike many other herbal treatments, many of the health benefits of have been verified by the scientific community, and the 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 effects make St. John’s Wort such an important factor in herbal supplementation, and it is now widely available throughout the world.
St. John’s Wort can be found in capsule, tincture, oil, or raw form and they all have their own individual uses. The chemical constituents of St. John’s Wort include bioflavanoids and a range of antioxidants that can have a significant impact on both 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 beginning herbal supplementation or use of St. John’s Wort.
Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort
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 depression 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, thereby giving out bodies additional energy and pleasure, chasing away depressive symptoms.
Other Mental Effects: This quality extends past depression, despite that being the most publicized benefit, to 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 permanently alter various organ systems.
Menopausal Mood Swings: There are two distinct periods in 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 of these periods of their life, as the chemical constituents have been shown to reduce mood swings and anxiety in menopausal women, and also reduce the severity of cramping and pre-menstrual irritation and depression.
Addiction and Withdrawal: Although additional research on this particular benefit is still ongoing, 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 addiction and recovery is a challenging and flawed science at present.
Antiviral Agent: New research has recently come to light that St. John’s Wort has certain antiviral capabilities, including the prevention or reduction of risk for AIDS, 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. Additional research into finding a happy balance in this specialized area of health is ongoing.
Hormonal Balance: As already expressed in the explanation of the antidepressant effects of St. John’s Wort, the active ingredients have strong effects on hormone regulation in the body. Hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid disorders and it has been shown to reduce those symptoms and help the thyroid gland produce normal levels of hormones again.
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 aching pains of arthritis, in addition to gout, joint discomfort, and muscle aches. Just as it helps ease inflammation on the skin and in the gut, St. John’s Wort also lowers inflammation in the cardiovascular system, thereby helping to lower blood pressure and decrease stress on the heart.
Skin Treatment: If you use St. John’s Wort in topical application in the form of a salve or tincture, it can speed the healing process of burns, bruises, and scrape by stimulating circulation of oxygenated blood to those skin cells so that repairs can begin.
Pregnancy Pains: While pregnant, hemorrhoids or 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 pastes are highly recommended for women suffering from these pregnancy-related conditions.
Anti-Cancer Effects: Cancer research has recently begun putting more faith in the role that St. John’s Wort could play. Laboratory research has shown a definite correlation between the prevention and treatment of leukemia with consistent use of St. John’s Wort supplements. Any cancer-preventing substance is highly valued, and this research will certainly be ongoing.
A Final Word of Warning: The most common negative effects of St. John’s Wort are dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and confusion. This only occurs in a small percentage of people, although other restrictions include people with diagnosed bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The intense hormonal reactions of St. John’s Wort can also be a dangerous mix with a variety of medications. It is essential to discuss your current medications and conditions with a physician before adding St. John’s Wort to your regular supplement regimen.