St Johns Wort What?

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Many people know of St John’s Wort for its antidepressant qualities. It has some other benefits that are worth mentioning.
-Anxiety and Mood Swings
-Menopausal Mood Swings
-Addiction and Withdrawal
-Hormonal Balance

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The benefits of St John’s Wort for depression are thought to stem from a chemical combination. These chemicals block or stall neurotransmitter reabsorption. This means that norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine remain in the body longer so their effects also last longer.
These three neurotransmitters are:

Dopamine – according to Psychology today dopamine “is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brains reward and pleasure centers”

Serotonin – according to “serotonin is also key to mood regulation”

Norepinephrine – according to RICE University “As a stress hormone, norepinephrine affects parts of the brain where attention and responding actions are controlled.”


Mood Swings
St Johns Wort balances the hormones, resets the metabolism and the internal clock. This helps with irritability, insomnia and chronic fatigue.

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This is the most exciting research presently being done on St John’s Wort. There is current research on the benefits of St John’s Wort for HIV, Hepatitis C and other viral illnesses. It has had some good results on Bovine Diarrhea virus which has similarities to Hepatitis C.
The issue that researchers are having is that such high doses of St John’s Wort are needed that it may make it invalid for this use.

Cautions and Interactions
My favourite site for cautions has got to be WebMD. I use them because they tend to err on the side of being overly cautious. In this case they state that there is “There is some strong scientific evidence that it is effective for mild to moderate depression.”
One of the cautions is that St John’s Wort may cause sun sensitivity. To me this makes sense since the active chemicals in St John’s Wort are destroyed by light.
There are a number of interactions with other drugs and they are listed on WebMD here.

St John’s Wort is not an herb that I have used often. I did use it for my Dad’s nerve damage in his hand which gave him some relief. I have also used it on my wrists when they are a tad numb from too much crafting. Again, there was slight relief.

What I can say is that St John’s Wort is one of the more well researched herbs for the treatment of depression. It also has a large number of cautions and interactions. If you do decide to use it make sure you do your research. When in doubt check with your Doctor.