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St. John Wort
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Nature's Plus, Herbal Actives, St. John's Wort, 450 mg, 60 Vegetarian Tablets
Cost Per Serving : $0.40
Enzymatic Therapy St. John's Wort Extract, 240 Tablets, From Enzymatic Therapy
Cost Per Serving : $0.17
Natural Factors St. John's Wort Extract, 180 Capsules, 300 mg, From Natural Factors
Cost Per Serving : $0.10
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St. John Wort
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) concentrate is specially cultivated and extracted to be rich in hypericin and pseudohypericin content and to retain hyperforin, the amentoflavone biapigenin and other flavonoids, all components important to the prope.
Because Hypericum perforatum L., an aromatic perennial herb belonging to the family Hypericaceae, produces golden yellow flowers that seem to be particularly abundant on June 24, the day traditionally celebrated as the birthday of John the Baptist, the plant is commonly known as St. John's wort. Its overground parts (leaves and flowering tops) that are medicinally applied also begin to be harvested at about that time. The plant is native to Europe but is found throughout the United States.
St. John's Wort was known to such ancient authorities on medicinal plants as Dioscorides and Hippocrates; indeed it is described and recommended as a useful remedy in all of the herbals down through the Middle Ages. But as with many plant drugs, it fell into disrepute in the late nineteenth century and was nearly forgotten. Quite recently, a tea prepared from the herb acquired a renewed reputation, particularly in Europe, as an effective nerve tonic, useful in cases of anxiety, depression, and unrest. Users also value it internally as a diuretic and in the treatment of various conditions, ranging from insomnia to gastritis.
St. John's Wort is a shrubby perennial plant with numerous bright yellow flowers. It is commonly found in dry, rocky soils, fields, and sunny places. St. John's Wort has been thoroughly researched as a natural anti-depressant. Research has shown that this centuries-old herb has all the benefits of prescription antidepressants, such as Prozac, but without the side effects. It has shown to produce improvements in psychological symptoms such as Anxiety, Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Sleep Disturbances. St. John's Wort naturally contains compounds of hypericin, a property that soothes the nerves relaxing the entire body. It can also reduce painful menstrual cramps and muscle spasms.
An olive oil extract of the fresh flowers of St. John's wort acquires a reddish color after standing in sunlight for several weeks. This so-called red oil is taken internally for the same conditions as is the tea, but it is also applied externally to relieve inflammation and promote healing. It is highly valued in the treatment of hemorrhoids.
Chemical investigations have detected a number of constituents in St. John's wort, including about 1 percent of a volatile oil and approximately 10 percent of tannin. The latter compound probably exerts some wound-healing effects through its astringent and protein-precipitating actions. Much of the activity reported for the plant was initially thought to be due to the presence of hypericin, a reddish dianthrone pigment. Studies then tentatively linked the anti- depressant effects of St. John's wort to various contained xanthones and flavonoids. However, most recent investigations definitely suggest that other constituents in the whole extract, rather than hypericin and related compounds, are responsible for efficacy in mild to moderate forms of depression. Hyperforin is one currently being investigated.
The exact mechanism of action by which St. John's wort improves these depressive states is still unknown. It may involve the dopaminergic system. Other proposed mechanisms of action in- clude an increase of neurotransmitters; inhibition of catechol-O- methyltransferase; modulation of cytokine activity; hormonal effects; and photodynamic effects. It is quite possible that the herb functions by a variety of these, or similar, mechanisms, thereby explaining its minimal side effects.
It is a wonderful remedy for the nervous system, relaxing tension and anxiety, and lifting the spirits -it is considered specific for emotional problems during the menopause. Its tranquilizing effect has been attributed to hypericin, which reduces blood pressure, capillary fragility and benefits the uterus. St. John's wort can be used for painful, heavy and irregular periods as well as PMS. St.John's wart has a diuretic action, reducing fluid retention and hastening elimination of toxins in the urine. St.John's wort has been used to good effect for bed-wetting in children. St.John's wart is also useful for gout and arthritis.
St. John's wort also has an expectorant action, clearing phlegm from the chest and speeding recovery from coughs and chest infections. St.John's wort has an antibacterial and antiviral action, active against TB and influenza A, and is being researched for its beneficial effect in the treatment of AIDS and HIV as well as cancer. Its astringent and antimicrobial action is effective in the digestive tract where it can treat gastroenteritis, diarrhea and dysentery. St.John's wort is also said to heal peptic ulcers and gastritis. Used both internally and externally, St. John's wort is a wonderful remedy for nerve pain and any kind of trauma to the nervous system. St.John's wort can be used for neuralgia such as trigeminal neuralgia and sciatica, fibrositis, back pain, headaches, shingles and rheumatic pain. The herbal oil soothes and heals burns, cuts, wounds, sores, ulcers and calms inflammation.
ST. JOHN'S WORT BENEFITS
ST. JOHN'S WORT USES
In homeopathy St. John's wort ( Hypericum ) is often prescribed for bodily injuries, among other conditions, but it is selected for the soothing effect it is said to have on injured nerves rather than for any traditional reason. For homeopathic use the entire plant is harvested in summer, when its yellow flowers are in full bloom. It is pounded to a pulp and soaked in an alcohol solution before being weakened to the desired potencies through a vigorous dilution process. Hypericum is used to treat shooting nerve pain that usually travels upward and nerve injuries, for example, after an operation or accident. It is the most important remedy to use whenever there is an injury to any part of the body with a high concentration of nerve endings, for example, the fingers, toes, spine, eyes, lips, nail beds, and head. Hypericum is effective for concussion with sensations in the head, such as an ice-cold feeling, and eye injuries. It acts on the spinal nerves, and is given for severe back pain that travels up or down the spine. This is an excellent first-aid remedy for any kind of puncture wound, for example, from nails, splinters, or bites, and crushed fingers or toes.
Other ailments for which the remedy is used include: asthma that is worse in foggy weather; toothache with pulling or tearing pain; and discomfort after dental treatment. Hypericum is also used for nausea; indigestion, when a person has a coated tongue with a clear tip; diarrhea; bleeding, painful hemorrhoids; nerve pain in the rectum; and late menstruation accompanied by a headache. It is useful in the treatment of depression and drowsiness.
HABITAT AND CULTIVATION
Native to Britain and Europe, St. John's wort now grows wild throughout much of the world. It is found in meadows, on banks, and by roadsides, and prefers sunny positions and chalky soils. St.John's wort can be grown from seed in spring or by dividing the rootstock in autumn. The flowering tops are harvested in midsummer.
St.John's wort contains glycosides, flavonoids (inc. rutin), volatile oils, tannins, resins.
HOW MUCH ST. JOHN'S WORT TO TAKE
Many people take 500 mg per day of herbal extract, tablets, or capsules of St. John's wort standardized to contain 0.2% hypericin. Higher intakes of St. John's wort extract, such as 900 mg per day, may be used in some instances. St. John's wort should be taken close to meals. If used to support depression treatment, its effectiveness should be assessed by a nutritionally oriented doctor after four to six weeks. Herbal tinctures are also available; they are often taken in doses of 1-2 ml three times per day.
SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS
St. John's wort makes the skin more light-sensitive. Persons with fair skin should avoid exposure to strong sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light, such as tanning beds. It is also advisable to avoid foods like red wine, cheese, yeast, and pickled herring. St. John's wort should not be used during pregnancy or lactation.
When not to use St. John's Wort
When to use St. John's Wort with caution
HOW ST. JOHN'S WORT WORKS IN THE BODY
St John's wort works primarily in the nervous system, the hypericin in combination with the other constituents acting as an antidepressant. American studies have found that this herb may be used in combination with Ginkgo biloba to increase antidepressant effectiveness. However, if you wish to combine-these herbs, or are already taking prescription antidepressants, it is advisable to first consult your medical or herbal practitioner. St John's wort is also a tonic for the nervous system as a whole, and can be used, for example, in the reproductive system in menopause, where physical changes are aggravated by mental and emotional debility. In the digestive system, the herb is beneficial to the liver, and in the respiratory system, the antiviral properties make it especially useful in colds and flues. Its antiviral benefits are used to improve the immune system as a whole. Externally, the oil is used as an antiseptic to heal wounds and to ease nerve pain, for example, in shingles and repetitive strain injury.
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