St. John’s Wort: Dosage, Dangers, And Benefits For The Body And The Brain.

An increasing number of people suffer from stress, burnout, or depression. The medications usually prescribed are powerful, but some have important side effects. They should not be used on a long-term basis.

In a context where we are subjected to increasing demands, which exhaust the nervous system, it is sometimes good to turn to natural alternatives to escape the vicious circle of stress and depression. 

St. John’s Wort is a plant that comes from the traditional pharmacopeia, which has many benefits for the brain and for the regulation of your everyday feeling. It is a soft medication, belonging to western phytotherapy, which allows obtaining good results by a soft and progressive action. In this article, we propose you discover the main uses of this natural nootropic.

Presentation Of St. John’s Wort (St. John’s Wort).

St. John’s wort or Hypericum Perforatum is used to treat mild to moderate depression. St. John’s wort oil, also called red oil, can relieve skin problems. It is an oily macerate.

The Essentials About St. John’s Wort.

First of all, here are the main facts about this plant. There are many species of St. John’s wort. St. John’s wort, of the Hypericum perforatum type, is the one used as a medicine against depressive states. It can lighten and calm the mood. The effect is not immediate. 

It is a perennial plant, in small bushes, with sparkling yellow flowers, which can be grown in the garden. 

It is also important to know that St. John’s Wort can interact with many medications and should therefore be used with caution. We will discuss this further below.

What Products Does St. John’s Wort Contain And What Are The Effects Of These Substances?

The entire plant is used therapeutically, particularly for its mood and brain benefits. St. John’s Wort contains red substances, naphthodianthrones, hypericin, and pseudo hypericin.

In addition, the plant contains phloroglucinol derivatives, in particular hyperforin, as well as flavonoids. These derivatives have been the subject of several studies which have confirmed the intuitions of traditional pharmacopeia.

The Beneficial Effects Of St. John’s Wort.

St. John’s wort is a plant that has two main indications: the treatment of depression and the improvement of certain skin problems.

St. John’s Wort And Depression.

St. John’s Wort is an herbal antidepressant commonly used in the traditional pharmacopeia. The plant relieves nervous agitation and depression. The substances that contain (hyperforin and hypericin) are probably responsible. However, it is not yet known precisely how these products influence the psyche.

The question of whether St. John’s wort really helps to combat a depressed mood or not remains controversial, and studies on the subject have come to contradictory conclusions.

Nevertheless, without necessarily being based on a precise study, this treatment is commonly recommended for seasonal depression or temporary mood disorders of mild to moderate intensity. Because of the specificities of its spectrum of action, it is best to consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking St. John’s Wort.

St. John’s Wort And Skin Problems.

St. John’s wort oil or herb oil macerate, also called red oil because of its color, has mild anti-inflammatory properties. It is said to help small wounds heal more quickly and to help heal sprains, bruises, and minor burns. 

When massaged into the skin, it is also said to relieve mild muscle pain. These traditional uses are based on experience, not scientific findings.

Mechanisms Of Action Of St. John’s Wort.

When researchers began to look at the components of St. John’s Wort, they were primarily looking for similarities to chemical antidepressants, since that is what hypericum perforatum does. 

They discovered that St. John’s wort extract, like other antidepressants, can inhibit the neuronal uptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. 

This mechanism action of the plant extract is exclusively explained by the constitutive hyperforin of St. John’s wort. In addition, the researchers were able to show effects at various biochemical and pharmacological levels. In many ways, these effects are similar to the known pharmacology of classical antidepressants. 

For example, hyperforin leads to changes in the concentration of the three neurotransmitters and their metabolites in the brain, it causes adaptive changes in receptor structures (e.g. beta-down regulation). As a result, changes in the electroencephalogram of rats and humans comparable to what occurs with other antidepressants are observed. 

Recent studies have also examined the mechanisms by which hyperforin differs from known antidepressants. For example, hyperforin inhibits neuronal uptake of the amino acid transmitters GABA and L-glutamate.

This effect is not caused by direct binding to neuronal membrane transport proteins, but hyperforin apparently causes an increase in intracellular sodium concentration. This results in a reduction of the sodium gradient, which in turn is the driving force for the transport proteins. This explains why hyperforin can inhibit many transport mechanisms at the neuronal level.

The research group at the University of Frankfurt led by Prof. Walter E. Müller is currently working on identifying the molecular mechanism by which hyperforin causes an increase in intracellular sodium concentration. 

The molecular mechanism is likely to lead to complex changes in various intracellular ions, including pH and calcium. Animal studies have shown that hyperforin is not only effective in typical antidepressant models but also exhibits anxiolytic properties at very low doses. 

An improvement in learning and memory performance was also found, independent of the actual antidepressant effect. This suggests that St. John’s Wort is likely to be used for the brain and not only against depression.

What Does St. John’s Wort Look Like?

As we have seen, St. John’s Wort is a small shrub with yellow flowers and all parts of the plant are used therapeutically except the root. You will find St. John’s wort in the form of an infusion of the plant in herbalist shops.

The preparation method for the infusion is as follows: 1 tablespoon per cup, infused for 10 to 15 minutes. 2 to 3 cups per day.

Most often, however, St. John’s Wort is used in the form of a herbal capsule. In this case, it is recommended to check the composition and to choose products offered by recognized laboratories. Large variations in the concentration of active substances have been observed.

Posology: How To Use This Treatment?

How To Take St. John’s Wort?

St. John’s wort is available, among other things, in the form of plant capsules, but also in bulk, in the form of dried leaves, for infusions. Hypericum perforatum is also used in homeopathy and proposed for example by Laboratoires Boiron. 

In all cases, it is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s indications and dosage. As food supplements are generally offered on the market is very low doses, you do not risk overdosing and limit the risks of side effects. 

Risks and Dangers Of St. John’s Wort.

Undesirable Side Effects Of St. John’s Wort.

The presence of hypericin can make the skin more sensitive to light and cause reactions similar to sunburn if you use it internally. More rarely, St. John’s Wort can cause gastrointestinal upset, allergic skin reactions, and fatigue.

Important: ask your pharmacy or doctor for advice on dosage, application, and side effects.


St. John’s Wort should not be used in the following situations: 

  • You have a major depressive disorder. 
  • You are taking other synthetic chemical antidepressants. St. John’s wort extract may weaken the effectiveness of some of these drugs and increase it in other cases.
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not take St. John’s Wort, as should children and teenagers.

Drug Interactions.

St. John’s Wort can interact with many drugs and these interactions can sometimes be dangerous. 

St. John’s Wort Interacts With:

  • HIV (AIDS) medications.
  • Blood thinners.
  • Certain chemotherapy products.
  • Synthetic antidepressants.

Opinions On St. John’s Wort.

Consumers generally report positive effects on their physical and mental health and improved mood. In any case, they appreciate finding a natural remedy that allows them to reduce their consumption of antidepressants.

St. John’s Wort Buying Guide.

Above all, it is always advisable to be cautious when buying food supplements. The best solution is to buy your products in a pharmacy, to benefit from traceability, but also to be able to take advantage of capable advice. 

You can also buy your St. John’s wort in bulk in a city herbalist’s shop or an online herbalist’s shop. Finally, there is the solution of food supplement stores on the Internet.

In Conclusion. 

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) has been appreciated for centuries as a versatile medicinal plant. St. John’s Wort is particularly effective as a medicinal plant for mild to moderate depression and general psychological stress.

St. John’s Wort is an extremely versatile herbal medicine that is commercially available in capsule, tablet, tea, or oil form. Its effect is particularly promising in relieving symptoms of mild to moderate depression. 

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