6 Things To Know Before Taking St John’s Wort For Depression

6 Things To Know Before Taking St John’s Wort For Depression

If you’re someone that suffers from occasional depression or sleep problems, but you don’t want to fill your body with strong medication, then you may be interested to know that St John’s Wort is nature’s answer to an anti-depressant. We spoke to Beth Gibbons, from the Holland & Barrett Health Hub, to discover everything you need to know about the herbal remedy…

It Grows Naturally Around The World

St John’s Wort, or Hypericum Perforatum, is a flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia, but it grows naturally around the world. Herbalists use to harvest the plant around St John’s Day on June 24th, which is how it came by the name. Originally used by the ancient Greeks, it has become a popular treatment for sleep disorders, depression and healing wounds. But nowadays, you’ll often hear it talked about more as a symptom reliver for slightly low mood or mild anxiety.

It Can Help With The Menopause

It’s traditionally known for its effect on low mood, but research has also found it reduces menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats. Plus, it could help with the anxiety that can often accompany the perimenopause too, and it’s also said to be helpful for anyone suffering with painful nerves.

There Are Some Side Effects Worth Noting

While it’s usually well-tolerated by its users, some people do report side-effects including, an upset stomach, fatigue, headache, dizziness and even increased sun sensitivity in fair-skinned people. Because it’s a stimulant, some people do often find it aggravates feelings of anxiety, so consult your doctor if you’re feeling more uneasy or irritable than usual.

It Can Interact With Other Medications

This is probably the biggest side effect of taking St John’s Wort. It can interact with certain antibiotics while also reducing the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill, so always check with your GP before you start taking it. There’s also evidence that it may slow blood clotting, so be mindful if you are taking blood-thinning medication such as warfarin or aspirin as it could increase your risk of bleeding.

Hyperforin Is The Key Ingredient That Makes It Work

St John’s Wort contains a plant chemical called hypericin, which scientists believe has a powerful effect on the brain. A 2004 study reported that hyperforin can increase the levels of the brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, which help to boost and regulate mood. Research also found that hyperforin has an anti-anxiety effect in the brain, reliving symptoms of mild to moderate depression better than a placebo. But it’s worth noting that while useful for mild cases, St John’s Wort hasn’t been found effective for those with very severe depression.

You Can Take It In Many Different Forms

Whether you take it orally as tablets, capsules or have it in your tea, you’ll find that there is an abundance of ways you can reap the benefits. It can also be applied topically to the skin in bath products if you prefer not to take anything orally.

Here are four SL-approved options to have on your radar…

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