Question: What is St John’s Wort?
17 September, 2008 – 14:13
Answer: St. John’s Wort has been used as an herbal remedy since the Middle Ages. Early Christian mystics named the plant after John the Baptist and made it in to an oil, but it can be taken as a tea or a tablet.
St John’s Wort is now generally is generally used as a natural aid for depression. It extends the life span of neurotransmitters in the brain, in a similar way to other antidepressant drugs.
The herb is also effective in treating other illnesses. It can repair nerve damage and has anti-inflammatory qualities can help with PMS, sciatica, and arthritis.
The flower blossoms were used in folk medicine to relieve ulcers, diarrhoea and nausea. Externally it was used on cuts as a disinfectant and to relieve inflammation. The oil can be applied to sprains, bruises and varicose veins.
However, it has some side effects. It may decrease the effectiveness of modern drugs for heart disease, depression, seizures, cancer and contraceptive pills.
Therefore it should not be taken with any other medication or if you are pregnant without consulting your GP.
Many companies produce St John’s Wort, and price varies according to potency and purity. Ask your local health food shop for advice on the best makes.