Hypericum perforatum

What is St. John’s Wort? St. John’s Wort is an ancient plant grown in the wild, and native to Europe. Greek civilizations used this herb to deal with a wide-array of mental health issues. The plants appearance is yellow, flower-like and it blooms around the same time of St. John the Baptist at the end of June (hence the name.)

In the United States, St. John’s Wort is classified as a dietary supplement and sold over the counter. In Europe, it is widely prescribed for depression. It has been moderately researched for it’s short term effects but little is known about it’s long term effects.

St. John Wort Flower

How does it work? Research indicates that some of St. John Wort’s active ingredients maybe responsible for the effects, including hypericin, hyperforin, and adhyperforin. It is thought that St. John Wort increases neurochemicals in the body that increase a positive mood. These can include dopamine (the pleasure hormone) and serotonin (the happiness hormone.)

What are the benefits?

  • Reduces depression symptoms similar to antidepressants and when compared to placebo.
  • Fewer side effects than antidepressants
  • Reduces symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual syndrome)
  • Can help with SAD (Seasonal affective disorder)
  • Can be applied topically to help with skin healing
  • Helps tone down symptoms of menopause.

How is it consumed? Oil topically to skin, oral form as a dietary supplement.

Important Notes

Combining St. John’s wort with certain antidepressants can lead to a potentially life-threatening increase of serotonin. Do not take if pregnant.

Depression can get serious if you don’t get competent, meaningful support. For some people, the risk of suicide may increase with depression. If you, or someone you know, might be depressed, speak to your health care provider.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health – St. John’s Wort and Depression: In Depth
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health – St. John’s Wort
Mind for Better Health – St John’s wort – Hypericum perforatum
How St. John’s Wort Fights Depression