Depression and anxiety are growing mental health
disorders in the United States, perhaps in part thanks to a culture that pushes
Zoloft and Paxil during breaks in the nightly news. Fortunately, there are a
number of natural remedies worth trying, like St. John's Wort, which show great
promise in treating depression and anxiety without resorting to possibly
dangerous and personality altering drugs. St. John's Wort has been shown to
improve mood in many people, and some swear by the positive effects of this
St. John's Wort
The history of St. John's Wort
The herb we know today as St. John's Wort is known scientifically as Hypericum
perforatum, and it gets its name in honor of John The Baptist. St. John's
birthday is believed to be in June, and it's in June that the golden flowers of
this herb begin to bloom. The word "wort" translates to "plant;" therefore St.
John's Wort is St. John's plant.
This herb grows as a perennial, meaning it will grow back
year after year on a single planting. St. John's Wort grows wild like a weed,
having grown abundantly in Europe for thousands of years. The history of using
St. John's Wort also goes back thousands of years, and it has been used as a
safe and effective herbal medication for at least 2400 years. The founder of
medicine, Hippocrates, was known to prescribe St. John's Wort for relief of such
common ailments as dysentery, tuberculosis, hemorrhage, jaundice, colds, and
In European countries, St. John's Wort has been studied
for many decades, and scientists have discovered it contains a combination of
compounds, the most important of which is hypericin. These compounds are thought
to react with certain chemicals in the brain, thereby providing emotional
comfort, a calming element and freedom from depression. Point of fact, St.
John's Wort is thought to work much the same way as many common prescription
St. John's Wort and depression
In Europe and other countries, PHDs have been prescribing St. John's Wort for
the treatment of depression for years, and the therapeutic effects of this herb
have been shown to include relief from mild to moderate depression, relief from
anxiety, relief from insomnia, and even increased cardiac circulation.
In the United States, St. John's Wort is available over
the counter in a number of preparations and a variety of strengths. When taken
orally, St. John's Wort is often prepared in a capsule form, at a standardized
dosage of 300 mg, with a 0.3 hypericin concentration. The suggested dosage from
herbalists or health practioners ranges from 2 to 12 capsules per day, depending
on the condition being treated and its severity.
St. John's Wort is also available in tea form. The tea is
prepared by mixing 2 teaspoons of the dried herbs with hot water and letting it
steep for 10 minutes. After the tea has time to steep, it's strained and mixed
with sugar or honey to make a tasty drink.
In addition to these common forms, St. John's Wort can be
infused with olive oil and used as a massage oil to relieve joint pain and
inflammation. This massage oil also thought may be effective against bruises and