“The popular herb St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) often gets an eyebrow raise from the media, even in the face of whole volumes of research espousing its effectiveness for many health concerns. However, St. John’s Wort is one of the best mood-lifting, anti-stress, and anti-depressant herbs out there. But there are many more reasons to reinstate St. John’s Wort as the amazing healing herb it is. I’ve compiled ten of my favorite research-supported uses for St. John’s Wort—all of which are reasons to love this versatile and highly effective herb.
While the world of psychology continues to question St. John’s Wort, study after study proves its effectiveness for depression, particularly mild to moderate depression. Some studies demonstrate that it is as effective as anti-depressant drugs. While there are fewer studies examining St. John’s Wort’s effectiveness against major depression, it has also been found to be helpful in this regard. Exciting research in the Journal of Zhejiang University Medical Sciences shows that the combination of St. John’s Wort and the nutrient quercetin boost the effects of the herb. Plus, St. John’s Wort’s safety record is far superior to drugs used for depression.
Research published in the medical journal Phytotherapy Research showcases St. John’s Wort’s effectiveness as a natural anti-anxiety medicine. While many people attempt to attribute the herb’s anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects to the naturally-present compound hypericin, the reality is that St. John’s Wort is a highly complex herb with many different active compounds, including: naphthodianthrones, xanthones, flavonoids, phloroglucinols (hyperforin) and hypericin. Because pharmaceutical drugs tend to contain one substance intended to function using one active mechanism in the body, we often try to compartmentalize herbs in the same way, when they repeatedly show greater effectiveness as a whole than as individual compounds.
St. John’s Wort flowers have traditionally been macerated into oil to make a natural dressing for wounds. And research examining this application found it to be highly effective in the treatment and healing of wounds.
Exciting research in the online journal PLoS One found that hypericin found in St. John’s Wort was highly effective against a type of cancer, melanoma, using three different mechanisms to cause cancer cells to die.
Research published in the Italian medical journal Fitoterapia found that St. John’s Wort and feverfew flower extracts were highly effective against the pain of diabetic neuropathy. What’s more is that the herbal medicine proved comparable to three different drugs used for the condition.
St. John’s Wort has proven itself effective for other types of pain as well, namely in the treatment of migraines. Research published in the medical journal Phytomedicine found that St. John’s Wort blocked pain receptors involved in migraines, making it an effective natural treatment for migraine sufferers.
Research published in the medical journal Menopause found that St. John’s Wort significantly reduced the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal, perimenopausal, and post-menopausal women. Perimenopause is considered the ten years prior to menopause. Post-menopause begins one year after periods have altogether stopped.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Swiss scientists published a novel study in the medical journal Brain Pathology, in which they found that St. John’s Wort has a protective effect against beta-amyloid plaques linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
Exciting new research in the medical journal Cell and Molecular Neurobiology found that St. John’s Wort holds promise in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
The same study published in Cell and Molecular Neurobiology also found that St. John’s Wort has potent antioxidant activity, meaning that it destroys harmful free radicals before they can do damage to the cells and tissues of the body. Because free radical damage is involved in aging and many diseases, these findings suggest that St. John’s Wort may have many other far-reaching applications.
St. John’s Wort is available in capsule, tablet, dried flowers, in teabags, tincture (alcohol extract), glycerite (glycerin extract) and oil forms. The oil form is suitable for skin applications such as wounds or to alleviate the pain of diabetic neuropathy. Simply apply the oil two to three times daily until you experience symptom improvement. For capsules, tablets, teas, tinctures, and glycerites, follow package instructions as they differ greatly from one product to another.”
From “10 Reasons to Love the Herb St. John’s Wort” By Michelle Schoffro Cook
Get Shaklee’s “MoodLift Complex” here. It contains St. John’s wort, which research shows provides dietary support for a positive mental outlook after four to six weeks of use, and inositol, which complements the activity of St. John’s wort by playing a role in the proper transmission of nerve signals.