St. John’s wort is probably one of the best studied and widely used herbs around the world. In Greece, you will find it by many names, such as balsam or Hypericon, because it grows almost everywhere in the country, but its scientific name is Hypericum Perforatum. The herb has been recognized as a medicinal plant for more than 2000 years and it has been used for its healing properties, to treat bites of poisonous reptiles, wounds, and burns and as a diuretic also. In 1989, a study was published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" showing that hypericin (which is the red pigment of the plant) has an impressive activity against the HIV virus in in-vitro experiments.
Scientific researches have proven St. John’s wort to be truly effective in treating anxiety, nervousness, and depression, compared to antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs.
We can use it effectively for the treatment of bronchitis, spasmodic cough and asthma.
A hot beverage of the plant dried petals relieves from the organic and psychological symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Additionally, it helps to soothe spasms during periods.
The herb helps us to treat gall bladder, gout, and urinary tract problems
St. John’s wort is widely used for impaired people in recovery and jaundice. The herb’s infusion stimulates the immune system.
Anti-inflammatory, digestive, anthelmintic
The plant relieves of dyspepsia, dysentery, tingling, gastritis and fights certain intestinal parasites.
We can consume St. John’s wort as:
• an infusion
• a beverage
• an extract (distillate)
• oil (balsamic oil or balsamic or spatula)
• in capsules
Side effects and precautions
St. John’s wort is indeed the “king of the herbs,” due to it's in numerous therapeutic properties, but it also has some severe side effects. Thus, we should always ask our doctor or pharmacist before consuming it. Always be aware that you should:
• avoid consuming the herb during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
• not give an herb beverage to a child younger than 2 years.
• avoid the sunlight, if your skin is very white and you have consumed a herb tea, as it can cause you photosensitivity.
• stop consuming St. John’s wort, if you are HIV seropositive and you feel nauseous and sleepy.
• never consume the herb if you take slimming pills, amino acids, corticosteroids, MAO inhibitors or amphetamines. Generally, always ask your doctor before consuming the St. John’s wort, especially if you are on medications.
• avoid concomitant consumption with beer, wine, smoked sausages, chocolate, pickles, beans.
Read more on St. John’s wort unique therapeutic properties on my Beauty Guard article “Herb or balsam?”.
Always remember to ask your doctor or your pharmacist before consuming any herb!
Until the next article, do not forget: read, learn and then learn more! Because this is your superpower!
1. Bakopoulou C, “Herb or balsam?”, Beauty Guard
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