St. John’s wort , Hypericum perforatum, is a plant widely used in alternative medicine as a treatment for mild to moderate depression and problem-related symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.
As it is herbal, it is still commonly used to relieve and treat gastritis, hemorrhoids , headaches, constipation, wound healing, among others.
According to pharmacist Rafaelly Siqueira, the “São João herb, also known as “Hipérico”, is a plant originating in Europe, which has the appearance of a bouquet, with very intense yellow flowers”.
Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort
“It has several natural substances with medicinal properties for physical clinical conditions such as tension or generalized muscle pain and menopause, as well as action for psychic background conditions such as anxiety , nervousness, restlessness, discouragement and depression,” indicated Rafaelly.
Thus, the benefits of the herb are many, most of them scientifically proven. Check out some:
Helps to cure depression
The consumption of this herb showed satisfactory results and superior to placebo in patients with mild to moderate depression, having an effect similar to that of antidepressant drugs . ( 1 )
helps to lose weight
Due to its calming and anxiety-eliminating properties , it can help patients who eat from binge eating , indirectly assisting in weight loss.
St. John’s wort is used to treat headaches and migraines , decreasing the intensity of pain.
The plant is highly effective in healing wounds , burns and ulcerous wounds. Object of research, the oil extract of the plant was applied daily on the wounds of patients for forty successive days. The compound proved to be active, above all, in the treatment of bedsores (pressure wounds). ( 2 )
Prevents degenerative diseases
The herb has an interesting neuroprotective activity, which is efficient in preventing Alzheimer’s and degenerative diseases. ( 3 )
St. John’s wort: where to buy and how to take
According to the pharmacist, “in Brazil, it is mostly sold in pharmacies in the form of capsules , or it can also be found at fairs and in the natural products section of supermarkets in sachet or package format to be consumed as tea.”
How to make St. John’s wort tea
- 1 teaspoon of St. John’s wort leaves
- 500 ml of water.
Put the ingredients in a pan and bring to the fire. When it boils, turn it off. Let it cool with the lid on, then just strain and drink 3 to 5 cups a day.
Care and contraindications
The use of St. John’s wort should be done with caution and, whenever possible, under the supervision of a specialist. When taken for long periods or in doses higher than recommended, it can cause tachycardia, irritability, trembling, dizziness and fainting. There are reports of sensitivity to sun exposure.
However, the great danger of the plant is the drug interaction . St. John’s wort is the studied herbal medicine that has the most interactions, which can be potentially serious. ( 4 ) If you are taking antidepressants, anticoagulants and contraceptives, are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid using them without a doctor’s prescription.
The contraindication is even greater for people who use anti-HIV drugs or chemotherapy, as the interaction can be potentially fatal.