St. John's wort has been valued as a medicinal plant for centuries. Today it is mainly used for its antidepressant and calming effects. But is St. John's wort really safe?
In this article you will learn how St. John's wort works, what side effects it has and how to use it correctly. Here you will find everything you need to know about St. John's wort: definition, history, effects, side effects, application and much more.
Definition of St. John's wort
St. John's Wort (lat. Hypericum perforatum) is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It has a long history and has been used medicinally since ancient times. The bright yellow flowers contrast beautifully with the dark green foliage. The flowers produce aromatic oils that are used for medicinal purposes.
St. John's wort contains many different ingredients, some of which are biologically active. The main active ingredient is hypericin, which has antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. Other ingredients are
- Hyperforin - an antidepressant
- Flavonoids - anti-inflammatory substances
- essential oils - antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory
- Vitamin C - antioxidant and immune stimulant
- B vitamins - regulate the nervous system
- Silica - promotes wound healing
- Carotenoids - strengthen the immune system .
St. John's wort is available as a dietary supplement and is recognized by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) as a 'traditional immune system supporter'.
History and use of St. John's wort
St. John's wort, also called Hypericum perforatum, is a medicinal plant that has been used since ancient times. It is believed that Hippocrates and Dioscorides recognized its healing properties and that it is one of the oldest medicinal plants.
St. John's wort is traditionally used as a recognized medicine to treat depression and circulatory disorders. It can also be used as a wound ointment.
John's wort is said to help
- Functional disorders of the sexual organs
- slight headache
- premenstrual syndromes.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), St. John's wort can help relieve mild to moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can also help improve the functioning of the female sexual organs.
John's wort is also used in naturopathy as an immune stimulant and as a remedy against infections. It is said to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties and to reduce inflammation.
Why is St. John's wort so popular?
John's wort has been used therapeutically for centuries. In Germany, it is mainly used for mild to moderate depressive moods. It is a natural remedy that has no side effects.
St. John's wort is also used for other complaints, for example
- mood swings
- difficulty falling asleep
- menstrual cramps
- Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome
The uses of St. John's Wort are increasingly being researched and more and more benefits are being discovered. It is currently recognized as a traditional medicine for relieving mild to moderate depressive moods.
Because of its many health-promoting properties, St. John's wort is also being used more and more as a dietary supplement. It can help improve focus, reduce stress and act as a natural antioxidant. The European Union recognizes that St. John's Wort supports normal mood and psychological well-being and promotes mental performance.
II. Effect of St. John's Wort
St. John's wort has long been used as a natural remedy for many ailments, and its effects are the subject of intense scientific study. St. John's Wort has been shown to possess a number of properties that may be helpful in relieving various signs and symptoms:
- According to the European Food Safety Authority, St. John's wort supplements improve mental health and mental performance in people with dementia.
- Some studies suggest that St. John's wort may help relieve anxiety and depression.
- Some studies have shown that St. John's wort supplements can relieve the typical symptoms of a mild to moderate depressive episode.
- There is also evidence that St. John's wort supplements can relieve menstrual cramps.
- St. John's wort supplements can help with mild to moderate insomnia.
- Some studies indicate a possible positive effect of St. John's wort preparations in the treatment of migraines.
- Some studies suggest that St. John's wort supplements can relieve menopausal symptoms.
- St. John's wort is also used to treat premenstrual symptoms and PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
St. John's wort, also known as Hypericum perforatum, is repeatedly touted as an effective antidepressant. The exact chemical composition is not yet fully understood, but it is believed that the herb is rich in flavonoids and substances containing indole and lignans. Therefore, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are attributed to St. John's wort, making it an ideal antidepressant.
There are many scientific studies that indicate that St. John's wort can be a helpful and effective treatment for depression. St. John's Wort has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depressive disorders and may be helpful in the treatment of mixed disorder and anxiety. Some studies even show that St. John's wort can be as effective as certain antidepressants.
Some benefits of St. John's wort as an antidepressant are
- It causes less serious side effects than synthetic antidepressants, which usually cause nervousness, drowsiness, and other side effects.
- It is a natural treatment that can be used not only for depression but also for other mental health issues such as irritability, nervousness and insomnia.
- It's usually cheaper than synthetic antidepressants.
- It can be used in combination with other treatments such as psychotherapy or medication.
St. John's wort is a popular remedy to achieve a calming effect in certain situations. It is often recommended for mild to moderate mood swings.
The calming effect of St. John's wort can be traced back to some of its ingredients. The main ingredient is Hyperforin, which also has well-known antidepressant properties. In addition, St. John's wort contains other ingredients such as diterpenes, flavonoids and phenols, all of which have a calming effect and can enhance the effects of hyperforin.
There is evidence that St. John's wort may have calming properties in certain situations. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved a scientifically proven health claim stating that oral intake of St. John's wort extract reduces arousal.
The following points can be observed when taking St. John's wort in order to maximize the calming effect:
- Avoid strong coffee, tea and alcohol.
- Try to reduce your consumption of foods and drinks high in sugar.
- Intense physical activity can also help.
- Avoid stressful situations as much as possible.
In addition to the psychological and neurological effects already mentioned, St. John's wort has other effects that are confirmed by many users.
A real treatment option for people with depression is that St. John's Wort can be used as a natural antidepressant. Some studies show that St. John's wort helps with both moderate and mild depression.
There is also evidence that St. John's wort can reduce the symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and PMS. There is also evidence that it can help with asthma, allergies and even psoriasis.
The list of health claims has been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as follows
- St. John's wort contributes to the normalization of mental performance and nerve strength.
- St. John's Wort contributes to the normalization of mental function.
- St. John's wort contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
- St. John's wort contributes to normal mental and intellectual function.
- John's wort helps with mild depression.
However, this information does not indicate whether St. John's wort is effective for other conditions. Therefore, you should always consult your doctor before taking St. John's wort.
III. side effects and risks
St. John's wort is a herbal medicine with a long tradition in medicine. However, if taken regularly, undesirable side effects can occur. This includes
- Gastrointestinal complaints
- skin rash
- Hypersensitivity to sunlight
- Changes in blood pressure and cardiovascular system
It may also interact with other medications or dietary supplements, so always consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking.
The use of St. John's wort can lead to serious health risks, especially in the case of bleeding disorders, depression, liver diseases and in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Those affected should therefore consult their doctor or pharmacist before taking them.
Current EU law only allows the following official health claim: "St. John's wort helps relieve mental and physical fatigue caused by stress".
Possible side effects of St. John's wort
John's wort is used to treat various ailments, but it can also have side effects. Despite its reputation as a natural remedy, St. John's wort is not a panacea. Taking St. John's wort can increase your risk of possible side effects, which can range from mild stomach upset to severe physical reactions.
As with many other natural remedies, it is important to consult a doctor before taking St. John's wort. This is especially true if St. John's wort is taken with other medications, as interactions can occur.
Although most people can safely take St. John's wort, some may experience side effects. The most commonly reported side effects include
- Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, flatulence or diarrhea
- fatigue and drowsiness
- Increased excitability
- Increased risk of blood clotting disorders in people taking blood-thinning medication.
Rare side effects may include hallucinations, increased sweating, drop in blood pressure, increased body temperature and seizures.
Interactions with other drugs
St. John's wort can affect the way some medicines work. If St. John's wort is combined with other medicines, different effects can occur. It is therefore important to ensure that St. John's wort is not taken with other medicines.
Some medications can affect the metabolism of St. John's wort. This includes, for example, the antibiotic rifampicin. This means that the body processes the St. John's wort differently than it is used to. Other medications can also increase or decrease the effect of St. John's wort. These drugs include
- Antidepressants such as SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
- Immunosuppressants such as ciclosporin
- HIV medications such as ritonavir
- Heart disease medicines such as digoxin
- Medicines for high blood pressure such as verapamil
- Anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine
When these drugs are combined with St. John's wort, dangerous interactions can occur. Therefore, St. John's wort should not be combined with other medicines without first consulting a doctor.
Fields of application confirmed by EFSA
- St. John's wort helps improve mood
- St. John's wort helps with mild to moderate depression
- John's wort has an anxiolytic effect
- John's wort has a calming effect and helps with insomnia
Contraindications for certain diseases
Since St. John's wort can be harmful in certain diseases, a doctor should always be consulted before taking it.
Interactions with other medicines and natural remedies are possible. St. John's wort preparations should therefore never be taken without consulting a doctor, since the combination with certain medications can be harmful to health.
Contraindications for taking exist, for example, in the following diseases:
- Liver and kidney diseases
- multiple sclerosis
- Crohn's disease
- lung and kidney diseases
- macular degeneration
Certain groups of people should take St. John's wort preparations with caution because of the active ingredients they contain:
- Pregnant and lactating women
- Children and young people under the age of 18
- elderly people
- people with pre-existing conditions
- People who regularly take medicines
Before taking St. John's wort preparations, it is therefore strongly recommended to consult a doctor in order to rule out interactions and contraindications.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a health notice on St. John's wort, according to which the active ingredient Hypericum perforatum should only be used in adults under medical supervision.
pregnancy and breast feeding period
St. John's wort should not be taken as a dietary supplement during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as undesirable effects of the ingredients on the mother and the unborn child cannot be ruled out. Use during pregnancy can cause birth defects in the unborn child. In addition, the fetus can suffer health damage from the active ingredient hypericin. In some cases, taking St. John's wort extract has been shown to harm the fetus.
St. John's wort should therefore be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is recommended to take St. John's wort only after consulting the attending physician in order to minimize possible risks.
There are neither scientifically recognized studies nor clear statements that St. John's wort can be taken during pregnancy. To avoid possible risks, it is therefore advisable not to take St. John's wort preparations during pregnancy.
Some studies have shown that the compounds in St. John's wort can increase milk production in breastfeeding mothers. However, this property cannot be taken for granted as the effect on the newborn is unpredictable. Therefore, breastfeeding mothers should not take St. John's wort supplements to avoid possible risks.
IV. Buy and use St. John's wort
St. John's wort is easy and safe to take. It is available in various dosage forms such as tablets , capsules , tea, and tinctures. When taking it, you should follow the instructions on the product label exactly. Since instructions vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, it is best to seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing.
It is important to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all dosage for everyone. In most cases, it is recommended to take St. John's Wort one to three times a day. Therefore, it is important for your doctor to determine the recommended dosage for your situation.
Here are some key points to consider when buying and using St. John's wort:
- Buy only high quality St. John's wort products manufactured under pharmaceutical conditions.
- Check the label on the product to make sure it contains the right amount of St. John's wort.
- Observe the “intended use” stated on most products.
- Take the product regularly and in the recommended dosage.
- St John's wort can change the way other medicines work. Therefore, tell your doctor about all medications you are taking.
- If you experience an allergic reaction or other serious side effects, stop taking it immediately and contact your doctor.
Where can you buy St. John's wort?
St. John's wort is available in pharmacies, health food stores, drugstores and sometimes in supermarkets.
When buying St. John's wort, you should pay attention to high quality and purity. Also, it's important to read the product's ingredients list carefully and check the manufacturer's claims to ensure you're getting a quality product.
Caution should also be exercised when buying St. John's wort online. It's important to choose a trusted source to ensure you're getting a genuine, quality product.
Finally, it's always a good idea to seek advice from a qualified doctor or pharmacist before purchasing St. John's Wort. This is especially important if you have certain medical conditions or are taking medication and/or other herbal products. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), St. John's wort can support mental function.
What dosage forms are there?
St. John's wort is available in different dosage forms:
- Tinctures and Liquid Extracts: St. John's Wort can be taken as a tincture or as a liquid extract. This form contains the active ingredient hypericin and is the most commonly used.
- Capsules and tablets: This dosage form contains St. John's wort in an easily absorbable form. It is also the most commonly used dosage form.
- Tea: St. John's wort can also be made into a tea. It contains the active ingredient hyperforin.
- Ointments and creams: St. John's wort can also be used as an ointment or cream. They are used externally.
- Oil: St. John's wort can also be taken in the form of oil. It contains the active ingredients hypericin and hyperforin.
St. John's wort can be used universally due to its diverse forms of application. Because of this property, it can help with many ailments and can be used as a dietary supplement. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the following effects of St. John's wort can be demonstrated:
- Has a positive effect on the mental and emotional state.
- Supports general well-being
- Supports normal energy levels and healthy sleep.
- Supports the function of the immune system
- Supports the functioning of the nervous system.
- Supports a normal cardiovascular system.
How is St. John's wort used?
John's wort can be used in a number of ways. One of the most common methods is to take it in the form of extracts and capsules. It is important that the extracts and capsules contain a standardized concentration of hypericin to ensure the recommended dose is not exceeded. St. John's wort can also be taken as a tea or tincture.
However, St. John's wort is most effective when combined with light. For this purpose, the plant is either processed into oil, ointments or creams and applied to the affected areas or irradiated with light.
The dosage of St. John's wort depends on the respective application. For optimal effect, the recommended dosage should follow the respective package leaflet or the doctor's or pharmacist's instructions.
As a rule, a daily dose of 300 to 900 mg of St. John's wort extract is recommended, which can be divided into several individual doses. In order to achieve optimal treatment success, experts recommend continuing to take it for a period of at least 4 weeks.
The following health claims about St. John's wort are acceptable according to EFSA:
- St. John's wort helps regulate mood swings
- St. John's wort supports cognitive function
- St. John's wort supports normal mental function
Tips for correct application
St. John's wort is a very popular remedy for relieving psychological discomfort and anxiety. It can be taken in the form of tablets, capsules, tea or drops. There are a few important points to keep in mind when using St. John's wort. First of all, it is advisable to talk to the treating doctor about a possible intake of St. John's wort.
Here are some more tips on how to use it correctly:
- Choose a preparation that is characterized by high quality. For safety, the preparation should also have approval under the European Medicines Regulation (AMG).
- John's wort should only be taken under medical supervision.
- St. John's wort should be taken over a period of time to be effective, but it's important not to prolong use on your own.
- Caution should be exercised when combining St. John's wort with other medicines, as these can impair the effect of St. John's wort.
- The effect of St. John's wort can be reduced by combining it with alcohol, coffee or certain herbs such as lavender.
- When taking St. John's wort, interactions with certain medications can occur. It is therefore important that you inform your doctor about the use of St. John's wort.
St. John's wort is a plant known in Europe for its medicinal properties for centuries. It is a powerful natural remedy used by many people to treat depression and anxiety. The active ingredient in St. John's wort is called hyperforin. Hyperforin has been shown to increase levels of serotonin in the brain, thereby reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
St. John's wort is on the market in the form of tablets, capsules, extracts and tea. It is an over-the-counter medicine available in pharmacies and drugstores.
It is recommended to take St. John's wort only under medical supervision and to monitor side effects regularly. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not take St. John's wort as it can cause undesirable side effects in the unborn child or newborn.
Scientific studies have shown that St. John's wort is effective for mild and moderate depression. According to a study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), St. John's wort significantly improves mood.
Overall, St. John's wort is a safe and natural remedy for relieving the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. However, it is important to follow the recommended dosage and duration of use and to seek the advice of a doctor before taking St. John's wort.
St. John's Wort FAQ:
1. What is St. John's Wort?
St. John's Wort is a plant used to treat depression and anxiety.
2. How does St. John's wort work?
St. John's wort works by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.
3. What is St. John's wort used for?
St. John's wort is used to treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and nervous disorders.
4. How long does it take for St. John's wort to work?
St. John's wort usually takes effect after two to four weeks.
5. What side effects can St. John's Wort have?
St. John's wort can cause gastrointestinal problems, headaches and dizziness. It can also affect the way other medicines work.
6. Can St. John's Wort be taken during pregnancy?
Pregnant women should not take St. John's wort as it can lead to complications.
7. How is St. John's wort taken?
St John's Wort should be taken as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. It can be taken as a tea, capsule , or tincture.
8. Is St. John's Wort available without a prescription?
Yes, in Germany St. John's wort is available without a prescription.
9. Can St. John's Wort be addictive?
John's wort has no addictive potential.
10. How long should you take St. John's wort?
The duration of taking St. John's wort depends on the severity of the symptoms. It is recommended to check the intake after six weeks and to discuss it with the doctor if necessary.