ST. JOHN’S WORT

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ST.  JOHN’S WORT

 

St. John’s Wort is  the plant species Hypericum perforatum, and is also known as Tipton’s Weed, Chase-devil, or Klamath weed.  It is a herb with flowers and leaves used to make medicine.

 

St John’s Wort is widely known a s an herbal treatment for depression, in some countries, such as Germany.  It is commonly prescribed for mild depression, especially in children and adolescents.

 

Standardized extracts are generally available over the counter, though in some countries (such as the Republic of Ireland) a prescription is required.  Extracts are usually in tablet or capsule form, and also in teabags and tinctures.  Herbalists are more likely to us a fluid extract than a tincture.  Hypericum was prescribed in ancient Greece, and it has been used ever since.

 

Other uses include heart palpitations, moodiness and other symptoms of menopause, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-complusive disorder (OCD), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).   St. John’s Wort has been tried for exhaustion, stop-smoking help, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), migrane and other types of headaches, muscles pain, nerve pain, and irritable bowel syndrome.  It is also used for cancer, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.

 

Oil can be made from St. John’s Wort.  Some people apply this oil t their skin to treat bruises and scrapes, inflammation and muscle pain, first degree burns, wounds, bug bites, hemorrhoids, and nerve pain.  But applying St. John’s Wort directly to the skin is risky, it can cause serious sensitivity to sunlight.

 

St. John’s Wort is generally well tolerated with an adverse affect profile similar to placebo.  The most common adverse effects reported are gastrointestinal symptoms, dizziness, confusion, tiredness and sedation.  Photosensitivity may result from taking this herb, but only in rare instances.  This can lead to visual sensitivity to light and susceptibility to sunburns in situations that would not normally cause them.  Related to this, recent studies concluded that the extract reacts with light, both visible and ultraviolet, to produce free radicals, molecules that can damage the cells of the body.     These can react with vital proteins in the eye which, if damaged, precipitate out causing cataracts.   Women who use the contraceptive implant implanon  are advised not to take St. John’s Wort as it reduces the Implant’s effectiveness.

 

St. John’s Wort is used in all pulmonary complaints, bladder troubles, in suppression of urine, dysentery, worms, diarrhea, hysteria and nervous expression, haemoptysis and other hemorrhages and jaundice.   For children troubled with incontinence of urine at night an infusion or tea given before retiring will be found effectual:  it is also useful in pulmonary consumption, chronic catarrh of the lungs, bowels or urinary passages.  It is externally used for fomentations to dispel hard tumors, caked breasts and ecchymosis.

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