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This ancient medicinal plant has been used in folk medicine for centuries. Thanks to its mood-enhancing effect, St. John’s wort capsules promise relief in case of depressive moods. Numerous studies have shown efficacy in mild to moderate depression. The antidepressant effect is mainly attributed to the ingredient hyperforin. This active ingredient ensures inner calm, balance and a strengthening of the nerves. In addition to hyperforin, the plant contains many other positive properties. The anti-inflammatory tanning agents of the plant can, for example, remedy inflammation in the intestine. In addition, wounds close faster if the affected area is rubbed with St. John’s wort oil.

What is St. John’s wort?

For centuries, many people have relied on the healing powers of St. John’s wort. The effect is described as mood-enhancing. The ingredients of the plant relieve depression of mild to moderate degree. The persistent and upright medicinal plant belongs to the family of the Hypericaceae and is branched in the upper part. Genuine St. John’s wort is widespread in Europe, Western Asia, the Canary Islands and North Africa. The plant prefers dry soils and grows on heaths as well as dry grass, on embankments and at the edge of the road. From June to late summer, the real St. John’s wort blooms. The effect is also anti-inflammatory and therefore promises rapid relief for wounds and burns.

gdp infografic St. Johns wort

How does St. John’s wort work?

The mood-enhancing effect of Hypericum perforatum has already been proven in numerous studies. Since the medicinal plant relieves mild to moderate depression, the research began by looking for analogies to known antidepressants. Similar to other antidepressants, St. John’s wort extract inhibits the neural uptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine.

This mechanism of action is attributed exclusively to the active substance hyperforin contained in the plant. At the biochemical and behavioral pharmacological level, similarities in pharmacology could be found between hyperforin and classical antidepressants. Hyperforin, for example, changes the concentration of the three neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine and their metabolites in the brain. Furthermore, hyperforin causes an adaptive change of receptor structures as well as a change in the electroencephalogram of humans. These changes are similar to those of classic antidepressants. Thus, the corresponding antidepressant effect on humans could be confirmed in all relevant pharmacological levels.

In numerous other studies, researchers found that in addition to hyperforin, other ingredients such as hyperoside, isoquercitrin and biflavone biapigenin also show a clear effect. However, unlike hyperforin, these active substances do not have a linear cause-and-effect relationship. This means that the effect of the ingredients is lost with increasing dose.

Basically, it is assumed that the effectiveness of the ancient plant is based on an interplay of several active ingredients. So far, however, hyperforin is best documented as an effective ingredient.

Which St. John’s wort is the best?

Genuine St. John’s wort exists in the following dosage forms:

  • Tea
  • Tablets
  • Capsules
  • Pill
  • Alcoholic extract in the form of drops
  • Fresh plant press juice
  • St. John’s wort oil

 

If you want to buy St. John’s wort, you should consider the following: For use as a herbal antidepressant, the medicinal plant is best suited as a dry extract, i.e. in the form of dragees, pills, tablets or capsules. The use of a self-produced St. John’s wort teas to relieve depression is not recommended. St. John’s wort oil is applied externally to the affected area. In this way, burns are triple the speed and wounds close without too conspicuous scars.

The Dragees H from Kneipp have proven to be particularly effective. The dragees with the natural power of the medicinal plant can be taken for internal balance under nervous stress. The dragees contain the upper, particularly rich, flower-rich parts of the plant. These strengthen the nerves, relieve nervous restlessness and strengthen the ability to concentrate. The traditional herbal medicine is particularly recommended in case of temporary mental exhaustion. The gluten- and lactose-free dragees do not lead to habituation or dependence and are well tolerated. If you want to buy St. John’s wort, you should pay attention to a flawless quality of the product as well as a high dosage.

What complaints does St. John’s wort help against?

The ancient medicinal plant can be used in a very versatile way. Genuine St. John’s wort is helpful in:

  • mild to moderate depression
  • inner restlessness and fears
  • Mood
  • Insomnia
  • Wounds, burns, injuries
  • Lumbago
  • Gout
  • Rheumatism
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Back pain and muscle tension

against mild to moderate depression

Depressive upsets can have numerous causes. They are often associated with severe psychological stress such as grief or stress situations, hormonal fluctuations or are side effects of various chronic diseases. The WHO estimates that around 25 of the population in Europe experience depression or anxiety once a year. Mild to moderate depression can be alleviated by St. John’s wort capsules. [1] However, the effect for severe depression has not been proven. St. John’s wort must be taken in a high dose in the form of ready-to-use medicines in order to achieve the desired effect. In the respective leaflets or at the doctor or pharmacist, the St. John’s wort dosage, type and duration of use is explained in more detail. Kneipp, for example, recommends a dosage of 900 mg daily. This equates to 3 dragees per day.

against inner restlessness and anxiety disorders

Panic attacks and anxiety are often linked to depressive moods. But they can also be the result of traumatic experiences. In some studies, the effectiveness of the medicinal plant against anxiety has already been confirmed. Affected persons who react fidgety, irritable or hyperactive to everyday demands often have to contend with many other ailments such as tension headaches, migraines, sciatica or gastritis in addition to internal restlessness.

St. John’s wort tablets provide inner calm and balance in case of anxiety disorders. The traditional medicinal plant brings relaxation and patients can regain their strength. The herbal medicine does not have an anaesthetic effect, but achieves the opposite effect: the ability to concentrate and perform improves. However, those who suffer from massive panic attacks, forced neurosis or post-traumatic stress disorder must also seek professional help.

against insomnia

In the fight against non-organic sleep disorders, many sufferers use St. John’s wort. Experience shows that the remedy tackles the problem at its root by tackling the causes of sleep disorders such as nervousness, anxiety, restlessness and compulsive thinking. The effect on sleep disorders has been scientifically proven and, unlike sleeping pills, the medicinal plant does not produce dependence. [2] St. John’s wort capsules are so effective because they influence melatonin production through the receptors of neurotransmitters in the brain. With the help of the plant, poor sleep can be combated in the long term. However, the effect takes about two to three weeks. Until the effect begins, it requires some patience. However, this time can be bridged with other calming and sleep-promoting plant preparations. Genuine St. John’s wort has a lasting effect and unpleasant side effects remain.

against wounds and burns

In addition to its mood-enhancing effect, the medicinal plant is also known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. [3] Long before antibiotics were used to treat wounds and injuries, people used the healing power of the St. John’s wort plant. In the case of open wounds and injuries, St. John’s wort oil in particular has proven its worth. The medicinal plant contains tannins (tannins), which are helpful in breastfeeding bleeding or closing wounds. Due to its anti-inflammatory and disinfecting properties, the vegetable oil can be safely used in case of open injuries. The oil prevents infections and the formation of pus herds. St. John’s wort is also used during surgery or the pulling of teeth. Experience shows that pain peaks are avoided in this way.

Tea against gastrointestinal discomfort

The anti-inflammatory tannins of the St. John’s wort plant can also be helpful for gastrointestinal discomfort. Tannins and other ingredients cause inflammation in the stomach and intestines to subside and mucous membranes to calm down. If gastrointestinal problems cannot be attributed to a specific cause such as food intolerances, the medicinal plant is often used. [4] Due to a decrease in the inflammatory processes in the intestine, often also unpleasant bloating or stomach pain swell swells. Taken as a tea, the plant is also helpful in case of diarrhea.

against back pain and muscle tension

In case of back pain and muscle tension, the application of St. John’s wort oil to the affected areas has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Massages or warming envelopes with St. John’s wort oil also provide quick relief. The so-called red oil enhances the relaxation during the back massage. [5]

How is St. John’s wort taken or how to dose it?

The medicinal plant with its mood-enhancing effect has been known since ancient times and was previously mostly drunk as St. John’s wort tea. For this purpose, the dried plants were simply poured with boiling water. According to the current state of science, however, a dry extract standardized on the active substance hyperforin should be used for depression, anxiety or sleep disorders. You should eat at least 300 mg of this dry extract per day in order to achieve an antidepressant effect. In the form of pills, capsules and tablets, patients take St. John’s wort. The onset of action takes place only with continuous intake over a longer period of time. The herbal medicines can be purchased in the pharmacy.

If the drug is approved for the treatment of moderate depression, sufferers need a prescription from the doctor for the drug. However, the various over-the-counter preparations can also be taken to support mild depressive moods. These are not subject to prescription. It is not recommended to produce tea independently.

However, St. John’s wort oil for external use can also be produced by itself. For this purpose, freshly blossomed flowers are collected between June and September and then filled into a light screwed glass with high-quality olive oil. The glass is placed in a sunny place for 4 to 5 weeks and shaken up from time to time. At the end, the flowers are sifted and the remaining oil is filled into a dark bottle. Patients with wounds, sunburn or tension rub themselves with this extract of St. John’s wort. The onset of action takes place quickly. St. John’s wort oil can of course also be purchased in the pharmacy, online or in the drugstore.

Side effects may occur when taking St. John’s wort. However, these are less common than with conventional antidepressants. Nevertheless, before using St. John’s wort, you should be aware of side effects such as increased sensitivity to sunlight. The herbal medicine can also in some cases lead to fatigue, allergic reactions, restlessness and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Conclusion: Why is St. John’s wort so healthy?

St. John’s wort has been used for depression since ancient times. The mood-enhancing effect is due to the ingredient hyperforin. The efficacy of the herbal drug in mild to moderate depression has been proven in numerous studies. Scientists have found that St. John’s wort extract, like other antidepressants, inhibits the neural uptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. When comparing the St. John’s wort pill and antidepressants, researchers found numerous similarities but also differences.

Since anxiety and sleep disorders are often associated with depressive moods and compulsive groaning, the medicinal power of the plant can also be used for these mental ailments. In addition to hyperforin, the plant contains many other active ingredients. The antibacterial and antiviral properties help, for example, with injuries, inflammation or burns. In case of back pain, tension or dizziness, the medicinal plant is also used.

The plant is available in many dosage forms. If St. John’s wort is used for depression, it is recommended to take a dry extract in the form of pills, dragees or capsules. St. John’s wort must be used in high doses. For external use in case of injury, burns or tension, it is recommended to rub the affected skin areas with St. John’s wort oil.

Ready-to-use medicines, teas and oils are available in pharmacies or drugstores. However, St. John’s wort oil can also be easily produced at home. If a drug is approved for the treatment of moderate depression, a prescription is required from the doctor. Only those preparations that are used for mild depression are freely available. The ancient medicinal plant provides inner calm and balance, strengthens the nerves and promotes the ability to concentrate.

Source directory:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31331546
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29034955
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30536388
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30121675
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29785769
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Über den Autor

Giacomo Hermosa ist 37 Jahre alt, Vater von zwei Kindern und verheiratet. Vor elf Jahren hat er die Magister der Biologie und Anglistik erfolgreich absolviert. Hier hat er sich interdisziplinär mit den Themen Bioverfügbarkeit und Medizinalhanf beschäftigt. In seiner Freizeit schreibt er v.a. in den Bereichen Fitness, Ernährung und – familiär bedingt – über einige besondere Autoimmunerkrankungen. Seine Veröffentlichungen findet man u.a. auf seiner Website und bei der taz.

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