5 Benefits Of St. John’s Wort [And A Special Warning] 4.8/5 (5)

St. John's Wort

St. John’s wort has long been used for its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties in alternative medicine. Now modern science is also studying its therapeutic value with research showing mixed results. While the plant does seem to have some definite relieving properties, it can also bring about counter indications when used with certain medications. So here’s what I have to share about the potential benefits and side effects of this herbal remedy.

Helpful at relieving anxiety

Can treat mild depression

Relieves menopausal symptoms

Could cause possible allergic reactions

May bring about some fatigue and restlessness

Could elevate blood pressure levels

St. John’s Wort Review

St. John’s wort dates back to ancient Greece where its use as a treatment for various nervous and mood disorders has been recorded. Apart from its medicinal value, the ancient Greeks also attributed mystical and protective qualities to the plant.

The plant gets its biblical sounding name from the fact that it blossoms near the birthday of John the Baptist.

St. John's Wort

St. John’s Wort

On the scientific front, it goes by the name of Hypericum perforatum and belongs to the genus Hypericum. Despite its extensive use as an herbal remedy, St. John’s wort is often considered a weed in some parts of the world.

If you view it as a nootropic, you’ll see that it fits the definition fairly well. The most well-known claim to St. John’s wort’s fame is its ability to relieve mild-to-moderate depression and reduce anxiety which can help improve cognitive health.

Even today, St, John’s wort is used more extensively in Europe than elsewhere in the world. This is true of German-speaking countries where it has a long history of use and is often recommended by physicians.

St. John’s Wort: The Science Behind The Healing

St. John’s wort has a number of medicinally active compounds that lend it its healing prowess. [1] Among these, the following are the most prominent:

  • Cyclopseudohypericin
  • Hypericin
  • Hyperforin
  • Isohypericin
  • Protohypericin
  • Pseudohypericin

However, the extent to which each ingredient contributes to antidepressant properties varies.

But what they all do is increase the levels of chemical messengers such as serotonin and dopamine, among others, in the brain. When this happens, it tends to uplift and regulates mood. [2]

St. John’s Wort Benefits

So, which benefits does St. John’s Wort bring?

Let’s find out.

1. St. John’s Worth Reduces Mild to Moderate Depression

Hyperforin is the major anti-depressive constituent of St. John’s wort. Some clinical trials show that the level of the antidepressant effect of St. John’s wort is entirely dependent on the concentration of hyperforin. [3]

When compared in scientific studies with the effects of antidepressants, the use of St. John’s wort extract was as effective. In fact, both antidepressant medication and the extract were more effective than a placebo.

Plus, St. John’s wort doesn’t produce the same side effects as pharmaceutical antidepressants. And there won’t be any severe withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.

St. John Benefits

St. John Benefits

2. St. John’s Worth Decreases Oxidative Stress

Some research also indicates that St. John’s wort can also reduce oxidative stress, preventing neurotoxicity and inflammation.

In this regard, it may have the possibility of becoming an effective treatment for oxidative stress-related conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. [4]

3. St. John’s Worth And Wound Healing

An oil made from St. John’s wort has also been used topically for healing wounds. The same may also be used for other skin conditions such as eczema and hemorrhoids.

This potency for wound healing comes from St. John’s wort antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. An application inhibits pro-inflammatory agents like cyclooxygenase-2, interleukin-6, and inducible nitric-oxide synthase. This causes the inflammation to subside and you can use St. John’s wort to reduce the severity of cuts and abrasions. [6]

4. St. John’s Worth And Menopausal Relief

There is some evidence to suggest that using St. John’s wort paired with a specific form of black cohosh extract may help reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. The results seem to be less compelling when St, John’ wort is used alone. [5]

Results from different studies also show improvement in both psychological and psychosomatic symptoms with menopausal complaints diminishing significantly. Plus, sexual well-being was also observed after treatment.

5. St. John’s Worth And Premenstrual Syndrome

Closely related to its ability to improve mood, St. John’s wort has also been used to relieve PMS symptoms such as chronic fatigue, irritability, and hormonal imbalances.

When used in studies to observe its effects, St. John’s wort showed to improve the physical and behavioral symptoms of PMS. But more research is needed to determine its efficacy for improving pain and mood symptoms associated with PMS.

Other uses of St. John’s wort include using it for treating the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), OCD, and smoking cessation. However, not enough research has been done in these areas to warrant any surety and evidence remains inconclusive.

St. John's Wort Usage

St. John’s Wort Usage

St. John’s Wort Usage

St. John’s wort is available from health stores and online. It is typically taken in capsule, tablet or powder form, but if you prefer, you can also get it as tinctures, teas, and oil-based lotions.

Most products are standardized to contain 0.3% hypericin but make sure to read the label carefully before use.

Since preparations in the US is varying amounts of the active ingredients in them, be careful to note how much is included in each tablet.

St. John’s Wort Dosage

Doses that have been studied in scientific research run along the following lines:

Adult dosage

To treat mild to moderate depression, to be taken orally:

  • The most common dosage used is 300 mg, three times a day as a standardized extract.
  • Some studies have also use the extract standardized to 0.2% hypericin at a 250 mg dose twice daily.
  • An extract standardized to 5% hyperforin has been used at doses of 300 mg 3 times every day.

To relieve menopause symptoms:

  • An extract containing 0.2mg/mL hypericin taken in doses of 20 drops 3 times daily for a duration of 2 months
  • 300 mg taken 3 times daily for 3-4 months

For wound healing purposes:

  • Apply 20% St. John’s wort in petroleum jelly to affected skin 2 weeks

Oral dosage for children

Some studies have used 150-300 mg of St. John’s wort to treat mild to moderate depression in children.

The dosage was given 3 times daily for a period of 8 weeks in children aged 6-17. That said, there is relatively limited information on safety for children, so always consult with a doctor first.

St. John’s Wort Side Effects

Given its ready availability in drug, grocery and health food stores, you may think that this is very safe to use nootropic. However, this product can have very serious interactions with a large number of commonly used medications.

Most of this comes from the way St. John’s wort is broken down in the liver. This action can work to either increase or decrease the effectiveness of medications.

The side effects associated with this herbal remedy are generally mild and include upset stomach, fatigue, and restlessness. However, some people may also experience skin rashes, hives or some dizziness.

Some St. John’s wort extracts may make your skin and eyes overly sensitive to light.

St John's Wort Side Effects

St John’s Wort Side Effects

Some Considerations

Research shows that St. John’s wort may reduce the effectiveness of several drugs. This seems to be the biggest concern associated with using this nootropic.

Foremost among these are antidepressants and birth control pills. Others that need mention are Warfarin, a blood thing medication whose effectiveness has been studied to reduce when used with St. John’s wort. This can potentially lead to greater clot formation.

The same has also been reported to reduce the effectiveness of some cancer drugs and Xanax, an anxiety medication.

It is also possible that an overdose could result in a condition called serotonin syndrome. This happens when there is too much serotonin in the Central Nervous System. The overdose could be the result of taking St. John’s wort while also taking other antidepressant drugs.

The condition can cause you to experience confusion, hallucinations, fever, loss of muscle coordination, excessive sweating or even shakiness.

While anyone can suffer from serotonin syndrome, you may be more susceptible if you take more than one drug known to increase serotonin levels. The same can also happen if you take supplements known to increase serotonin levels.

Where To Buy St. John’s Wort?

If you want to order St. John’s Wort you can do it here.

Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me or post a question in the comment section below.

Your Inception Final Recommendation

Your Inception potentially recommends supplementing St. John’s Wort. 

It is true that St. John’s wort has some scientific backing for its mind-calming properties.

That said, I would also consider this as one of the strongest warnings for any nootropic.

  • Never combine St. John’s wort with any prescription antidepressant as the combination can put you in serious danger of serotonin syndrome
  • John’s wort may also nullify or amplify the effects of other nootropic drugs you may be using
  • pregnant and nursing women should not use this supplement

If you keep these considerations in mind before taking St. John’s wort, you should be okay using it otherwise. It is tolerated well by most people and I feel that this nootropic can be especially helpful for people suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress.

Try half the dose first thing in the morning and then the other half early afternoon.

And since it can cause insomnia, avoid taking it during the latter part of the day.

When you need to withdraw, slowly reduce the dosage as there have been some reports of experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

While these are not severe, it can be bothersome if you experience sickness, dizziness, and anxiety if you stop taking St. John’s wort abruptly.

Important: Before supplementing St. John’s Wort, I definitely recommend consulting your doctor.

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By |2019-07-05T17:34:22+00:00October 12th, 2018|Categories: Nootropics|Tags: |0 Comments

About the Author:

Greg Gostincar is the founder of Your Inception. He has been researching, testing and experimenting with nootropics since 2015. Greg is one of the most recognized researchers in the field of nootropics.

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