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St. John's Wort

Posted on November 11, 2012 in Natural Mood Enhancers

One of the most widely used herbal supplements in the United States, St. John’s Wort has a loyal following among those who suffer from a variety of ailments. Records show that St. John’s Wort was used as early as hundreds of years B.C., by the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean. In addition to early use as a medical treatment for everything from skin injuries to sciatica, St. John’s Wort was also thought to have magical properties; many people believed (and some perhaps still believe) that this herb could ward off evil. It was not uncommon in the Middle Ages to see dried bundles of St. John’s Wort hung above doorways, headboards, and the cradles of newborns, to protect against the threat of demons and spirits. The herb was also used to help bring good fortune; a sprig under your pillow was thought to bring St. John, and his blessing, to your dreams.

Relieve Depression with St. John's Wort

While it’s impossible to prove any abilities in the mystic realm, the botanical properties of St. John’s Wort do give strong evidence of the herb’s usefulness in treating certain medical conditions (most notably, mild depression and anxiety). The plant, which is native to Europe but has been spread to temperate climates around the world, can grow up to a few feet tall and produces small, black-dotted yellow flowers. Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of this plant is the oil glands in its leaves, which appear as translucent dots; when held to the light, these glands make the leaves appear perforated. This hardy and adaptive plant is a survivalist, which has helped it to flourish across several climates. In fact, St. John’s Wort is so capable of thriving that it can overgrow and choke out native species of plant life and threaten the ecosystem of a region. Many countries in Europe have declared St. John’s Wort a noxious weed, because of its tendency to overtake plant communities and its dangerous effects on animals. Livestock who ingest large amounts of St. John’s Wort have reportedly caused a variety of life-threatening complications, from photosensitivity to death.

It is believed that the same compounds that can be so dangerous in large quantities are exactly what make St. John’s Wort an effective medicinal supplement. Two chemical compounds, hypericin and hyperforin, are thought to be the components that make the herb viable treatments for depression and anxiety. It is still unclear how these compounds affect the body, and how any effects would improve symptoms of depression or anxiety. The science behind how St. John’s Wort works is as murky as the evidence of its efficacy. While some studies strongly indicate that an extract of St. John’s Wort is indeed more effective than a placebo (and with significantly lower incidence of side effects), other studies lead to the conclusion that St. John’s Wort extract offers no medicinal effects beyond those of placebo. However, most evidence does seem to point out that, if taken in the correct dose, St. John’s Wort has low risk of side effects. The thousands of devoted St. John’s Wort users across the country are perhaps the greatest evidence (albeit empirical) that this herb works.

St. John’s Wort continues to capture the curiosity of the medical community. It continues to be tested to determine the exact biological response it causes, and many specialists have conducted research to find alternative uses for this hardy herb. Recent studies have begun to discover the efficacy of St. John’s Wort in a number of medical applications, like pre-menstrual syndrome, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, memory loss, and even Parkinson’s disease. There is even preliminary evidence that suggests that the extract of St. John’s Wort could be an effective topical treatment for minor wounds, like abrasions and burns. With so much potential benefit, it is very difficult to dismiss the value of St. John’s Wort, despite the lack of definitive evidence of its results.

Naturally Treat Depression with St. John's Wort

If you’re interested in the potential benefit of St. John’s Wort, your first stop should be your doctor’s office. Any symptoms of emotional disorders, like depression or anxiety, are best and most safely addressed by a healthcare professional. It is important that you know the benefits, and the risks, of any treatment program. There are certain families of pharmaceuticals that can cause dangerous drug interaction with St. John’s Wort; certain medications may also become less effective with the introduction of St. John’s Wort. While this herb has been shown to be effective in treating some forms of depression, it may not be the best option for your particular situation. In fact, some disorders (like schizophrenia) can actually be aggravated by St. John’s Wort. Only your doctor will be able to tell you if you have any contraindications to a regimen of St. John’s Wort. But with its historical record and its popularity among so many, it’s definitely worth your own careful consideration.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness. Do not take MoodBoost if you are taking SSRI's or MAOI's. Not intended for clinical depression or anxiety disorders. MoodBoost contains natural ingredients and other excipients.