St Johns wort is an herb that is believed to have its name because it blooms on St Johns day, June 24. Some also believe that the dark red tincture in the plant resembles the martyr’s blood and some believe the herb was St Johns favorite herb.
Nevertheless, St Johns Wort, which is, also known as Klamath weed, Hypericum Perforatum, Goat-weed, Chase devils and Tipton’s weed belongs to Hypericum family and the species Perforatum is supposed to be the pigments underneath the plants leaves. St Johns wort plant is grown in temperate or subtropical regions. It produces yellow flowers. The flowers as well as the leaves of the plant are supposed to have medicinal qualities. In modern days, St Johns Wort is famous as medicinal treatment for depression whereas in olden times it was used to ward off evils by hanging it on holy pictures.
St Johns Wort contains important and useful compounds that have medicinal qualities like:
• Hypericin-( protohypericin, pseudohypericin and protopseudohypericin)
• Flavanols-(miquelianin hyperoside, , quercitrin, rutin, quercetin, I3,II8-biapigenin, amentoflavone, isoquercetin and astilbin,)
Active ingredient like hypericin in St Johns Wort is believed to have an antidepressant effect. Hypericin is supposed to affect the levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that make up for the neurotransmitters of the brain. Fundamentally, it acts upon the chemicals that regulate mood of a person through the nervous system. St John’s wort is used as mild to moderate depression treatment and there is scientific support to prove that it has worked successful in many major depression cases.
The burgundy red liquid that is found in the yellow flower is thought to contain flavanoids. Bioflavonoid also helps in reducing inflammation and treating swollen veins.
The sesquiterpenes oil produced by the plant is considered to help cure bruises, injury and varicose veins. Certain studies also suggest St Johns wort oil to be effective on hemorrhoids. It also decreases stretch marks and aches that occur during pregnancy.
The hyperforin compound found in St Johns wort plant is helpful in treatment of alcoholic patients. It is also known to contain anti-bacterial properties.
Other uses of St Johns Wort:
Research suggests St Johns wort may be useful in reducing problems related to nervous system. Problems indirectly related to nervous complaints like stammering and bed-wetting can be cured by St Johns wort. Trauma experienced by women during menopause like depression, anxiety, emotional commotion may be reduced by dose of St Johns Wort.
Some studies have also highlighted the use of St John’s Wort as treatment for sleeping disorders, malaria, insect bites, impaired concentration, muscular spasm, tension, cramps and Dysthymia, that is, variability in mood.
Certain investigative studies have revealed St Johns wort efficacy in curing muscle pain, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C and helped quit smoking
St Johns wort is also helpful in treating palpitation of heart, obsessive-compulsive disorder, seasonal affective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Studies also propose that the active antioxidant elements present in St Johns wort may aid in healing Parkinson’s disease to an extent.
Medicinal Preparation: St Johns wort is readily available in the market as off the counter medicine. They can be taken in tablet or capsule form. Special teas are available in the market that is mixed with this dried herb, Hypericum Perforatum. St Johns wort is also available in oil and liquid decoctions.
Several studies have emphasized treatment of St Johns wort as effective on various medical conditions. However, even though St Johns wort is herbal medicine it is advised to take this medicine only under qualified doctor’s guidance.