As unlikely as it may seem because of the name, St. John’s Wort is one of the most popular herbs in the United States. People buy St. John’s Wort for many different reasons. This herb can be used as a type of antidepressant, to treat insomnia and as an anti-inflammatory – just to name a few. Continue reading to get a better idea of how this herb is used to treat different health conditions.
The first reason why a lot of people buy St. John’s Wort is to use it as an antidepressant. There have been arguments over what exactly it is in the herb that helps with depression, but in more recent years, it has come to light that it is perhaps the hyperforin that is found in the herb. This hyperforin, which is a neurotransmitter, along with flavonoids work on depression by making more hyperforin become produced in the brain. Of course, scientists still are not completely sure of how St. John’s Wort helps depression. All they know is that it does do a fairly good job of helping those who have milder cases of depression. As it is more for those with mild cases of depression, it is highly necessary to speak with your doctor before stopping your antidepressant treatment in favor of taking this herbal supplement. Stopping your antidepressant medications can cause severe adverse reactions and even death.
Another reason people buy St. John’s Wort is to treat insomnia. Scientists are not at all clear on how St. John’s Wort helps treat insomnia. What is even stranger is that, in some people, this herbal supplement can even cause insomnia. So, just be forewarned that this herb may not work for you if you have insomnia.
The final reason people buy St. John’s Wort is to use it as an anti-inflammatory. The ingredient in this herbal supplement that has the properties of an anti-inflammatory is hypericin. It helps soothe inflamed muscles and joints. Before you start any treatment plan with St. John’s Wort, you need to discuss the herbal medication with your doctor fully – especially if using it for depressive symptoms. It is not recommended that you stop taking any of your medications in favor of this herbal supplement until you have spoken with your doctor and he or she has given you the okay to do so. It can be dangerous to go off of your antidepressant medication, so even if the doctor cleared you to go ahead and go off of it, if you have any abnormal symptoms or thoughts, you should contact a health professional immediately.