The properties of St. John’s wort or St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) have been studied for quite some time for their potential to reduce depression and alleviate mental problems.
This fact is given by the presence of hypericin in St. John’s wort, a compound with many properties.
St. John’s wort is a herbaceous plant that grows wild and spontaneously. As we have said, it has been used for centuries for mental health disorders, and to this day, Hypericum perforatum it is still used for depression in many areas of Europe.
However, its use has been banned in France, as well as other countries have decided to tighten the prescription of this type of herbs, with more descriptive and appropriate labeling.
This is because, although the properties of St. John’s wort have been investigated and proven (although not all), it is enough to talk about low probability or inconclusive but positive results to offer good marketing and consumption campaigns of this type of medicinal properties.
Description of the hypericum plant
- Family: hypericaceae (clusiaceae)
- Gender: Hypericum
- Species: hypericum perforatum
Botanically, Hypericum is no different from the rest of the medicinal plants that we can find in this blog. It contains a large group of active ingredients and alkaloids that form the set of properties of St. John’s wort that we are going to discuss below.
Many of the properties of Hypericum are typical of the genus hypericum, which share different concentrations. However, Hypericum (hypericuym perforatum) has stood out for the balance in its composition.
St. John’s wort stands out for its characteristic yellow flowering, whose flowering begins in June (hence it is called St. John’s wort, festivity of June 24).
Its origin comes from Europe, with spontaneous crops found in North Africa and part of Western Asia.
Currently, specimens can be found spread all over the world, including in areas of America and Australia, especially on roadsides and stony terrain.
Its properties as a medicinal plant have been known since the time of the Greeks and Romans, and it is not surprising that today it is still used for specific purposes.
Normally both flowers and leaves are used, but we will discuss that later.
Something to highlight about this plant is its content in hypericin a medicinal derivative that characterizes the properties of St. John’s wort.
You don’t have to look far around the internet to realize all the potential it can have, especially to treat or reduce the effects of depression.
In fact, there are several current investigations that continue to work on the issue of the properties of St. John’s wort through the hypericin and its relationship with depression, some of which also highlight the potential of another substance present in St. John’s wort, hyperforin, which is also attributed antidepressant properties (even more potent than hypericin).
According to what has been seen and studied, hypericin and hyperforin have a direct action on chemical messengers that are able to regulate and modify the nervous system, changing mood.
Propagation of seeds
If we want to grow hypericum in our garden or garden we will not have any problem about it. Once we have the seeds (purchased in seedbed, internet or provided by a third person), we can sow them in a seedbed or directly in soil or substrate, in spring.
It takes quite a while to germinate (1 to 3 months), especially when the temperature is relatively low. Once we have the seedling, we can transplant it into a pot or the garden, with normal care and protecting it from the cold when temperatures drop.
Properties of St. John’s wort
Active ingredients that form the properties of St. John’s wort
- Essential oils: caryophyllene, cineole, pinene.
- Acids: ascorbic (vitamin C), stearic and palmitic.
- Hyperforin: effective for the treatment of depressive problems and anxiety.
- Hypericin: increases levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter.
- Limonene: it has antioxidant potential, also present in citrus fruits.
- Quercetin: it has antioxidant effect, like limonene.
- Routine: with anti-inflammatory activity.
We can also find in St. John’s wort minerals, flavonoids and tannins essential for our body. However, not enough research has been done to establish its relationship with the current properties of St. John’s wort.
Apart from what has been said about the treatment of depression, Hypericum perforatum has been successfully tested to help healing skin wounds, caused by cuts, scratches, or burns.
Treatment of digestive problems
St. John’s wort can also help us strengthen the immune system of our body.
Applied as an extract in infusions, it can help us reduce digestive disorders associated with stomach problems, diarrhea or heavy meals. These properties of St. John’s wort can also be used by tablets, which in some cases and for certain types of people is more comfortable and practical.
Is it a proven therapy against depression?
Faced with this question there is diverse opinions, because some governments, such as the United States (in the opinion of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), the studies that have been carried out on St. John’s wort make them inconclusive to treat depression.
However, there is no doubt that it has positive effects, especially when combined (consistently) with other treatments to solve the same problem.
In fact, advanced countries such as Germany do have it included in the list of effective products for the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Within the properties of St. John’s wort, a anti-inflammatory effect produced by the hyperforin component, since it acts in the modulation of COX-22 expression. Similarly, this effect also shares medicinal properties to treat problems related to allergies.
Although today its involvement in the reduction of herpes, influenza, hepatitis C, etc. is being investigated at the viral level, what is confirmed is that the properties of St. John’s wort based on its composition in hyperforin they have an antibacterial and microbiological activity-reducing effect on gram-positive bacteria.
Another compound present (although in lower concentrations), the bhutanolic fraction of this element, has a reducing activity of Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that affect the stomach.
Ways of use and applications
We have different possibilities to take advantage of the properties of St. John’s wort
By infusion: flower extract of 15 to 30 g/L, taking 3 to 4 cups daily.
By decoction: using a concentration of 5% and a dose of 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per cup, for subsequent external application (on the skin).
Liquid extract: we can buy the liquid concentrate, applying 5 to 10 drops, 3 times a day, or follow the manufacturer’s recommendations (since it depends on the concentration).
Fresh St. John’s wort juice: take 2 tablespoons of coffee, 2 to 3 times a day, reducing the dosage to 50% in the following week.
By Tincture: 30 drops, three times a day.
Topical use: different forms based on oil at different concentrations. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Buy Hypericum Extracts
You have different ways to use the properties of St. John’s wort, both for the treatment of digestive problems and topical use (antimicrobial effect).
One of the most common and practical ways is through tablets with c extractoncentric. Its dosage is 1 tablet a day, with a glass of water. It contains 400 mg of wortium floral extract, supported with magnesium carbonate, which is the material that makes up the appearance and shape of the tablet.
However, you can also find oil extracts to apply topically.
These are the most profitable ways to use the properties of St. John’s wort.
It is nothing new to say that medicinal plants must be consumed in moderation, always at doses recommended by experts.
In fact, the properties of St. John’s wort can turn against us in high doses, as it can affect the absorption of essential minerals such as iron (caused by hypericin).
This compound mentioned is the cause of toxicity problems, so the recommended dose is 600 mg per day, in two or 3 doses (200 mg on average in tablets).
All this should be clarified in the package leaflet of drugs or natural products, being advisable to consult with a medical specialist before starting a treatment against depression.
The contents of naftodiantrons in the properties of St. John’s wort could produce, according to concentrations, certain photosensitivity effects when administered orally. In some cases, effects of small allergic reactions, dry mouth or states of confusion and sleep disturbances have also been seen.
Pregnancy and lactation
The properties of St. John’s wort have been analyzed in pregnant women who wish to take this medicinal plant orally. However, there does not yet seem to be scientific research with sufficient criteria to decide on its safety during pregnancy or whether it can be toxic.
Many of the properties of St. John’s wort are related by the 3 or 4 most concentrated principles, so these investigations try to find out if these principles can be transported through breast milk to the child.
Early research seems to indicate that only the compound hyperforin it can be excreted through milk to the child, but in concentrations that, a priori, do not adversely affect his health and in small concentrations.
However, current recommendations recommend continuing with the trials and their long-term response in the health of the mother and fetus.
Do you know more properties of St. John’s wort? Let us know through the comments!