St John’s wort, also known as St John’s wort, Hypericum perennial, is a perennial herb originating from a generation of Eurasia and West Africa, with bright yellow flowers as its main feature, because the flowering date coincides with the birthday of religious historical figure John the Baptist, hence the name (wort represents the plant).
St. John’s wort has been regarded as an important medicinal plant for thousands of years, often used in anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, wound treatment, and the most common use to improve related symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
What are the recommended empirical benefits of St. John’s wort?
1. Improve depression
So far, more than 3 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and due to the high rate of disability, patients lose the ability to live normally.
According to the relevant UK health department, the national cost of treating depression (including the loss of inability to work) has long exceeded the combined cost of diabetes and high blood pressure, accounting for about 60-85% of all total medical expenditure, seriously dragging down the growth of gross national product. Note 1
A systematic review (27 studies, 3808 participants) and meta-analysis pointed out that compared with traditional first-line treatment SSRIs, the use of St. John’s wort (St. John’s wort) not only showed comparable efficacy and remission rates (especially for patients with mild to moderate depression), but also had fewer side effects and adverse effects, and a lower dropout rate. Note 2
In addition, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) score also improved significantly compared to the base period.
*Conclusion: Although St. John’s wort is commonly used to improve depression, it cannot replace medications and does not have the immediate effect of drugs. If the depression has seriously interfered with life, or even suicidal self-harm or hurtful thoughts, seek medical attention immediately without delay
2. Relieves menopausal symptoms (hot flashes/hot flashes)
The main clinical manifestations associated with menopause include vasomotor symptoms, genitourinary symptoms, sleep disturbances, and mood changes.
The most common of these is hot flashes (associated with vasomotor disorders), which are prevalent in about 75% of menopausal women, with symptoms of redness of the skin above the chest, fever and night sweats, sometimes accompanied by palpitations and anxiety.
Most menopausal women experience hot flashes that stop within 1 to 2 years. But about 15 percent last for 30 years, often causing serious distress. Note 4
A double-blind controlled study (8-week study of 100 women with a mean age of 50.4 years) showed that St. John’s wort helped improve the severity of hot flashes compared with placebo. Note 3
3. Somatoform Disorders
Psychosomatic disorders, also known as physical form disorders, are a synonym for a variety of mental diseases, often appearing with various physical and mental symptoms, but cannot be correctly explained or diagnosed by medical methods.
Somatization disorder (symptoms related to emotions and manifested in the body), undifferentiated somatoform disorder, conversion disorder (motor or sensory dysfunction), pain disorder, hypochondriasis , body dysmorphic disorder, etc.
A double-blind controlled study (6-week study of 184 people with non-major depression) showed that taking St. John’s wort extract helped improve six key efficacy measures, with a response rate of 45.4% in the treatment group compared to 20.9% in the placebo group. Note 5
The authors suggest that St. John’s wort may be an effective alternative to acute treatment for patients with mild to moderate to severe psychosomatic disorders.
4. Accelerates wound healing
Delayed wound healing and scarring after caesarean section is a common problem for many pregnant women (this process is often altered by pregnancy), and wound complication rates range from 2.5% to 34%.
These factors can also lead to scarring, causing pain, itching, shrinkage, obstruction of movement and other dysfunctions.
A double-blind controlled study (16-day, 144 women who had a caesarean section) showed that topical Hypericum perforatum extract cream accelerated surgical wound healing and reduced scarring compared with placebo. In addition, the wound healing process is less painful and itchy. Note 6
The mechanism behind it may be related to the fact that flavonoids can increase fibroblast production, stimulate collagen synthesis, and affect epithelial cell proliferation and migration.
Are there any side effects of St. John’s wort?
According to the current evidence, St. John’s wort is still safe for use at normal doses in the short term (less than 3 months), but possible side effects include difficulty sleeping, rash, diarrhoea, fatigue, irritability, headache, dry mouth, dizziness and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Safety precautions (contraindications)
Do not use by pregnant women, nursing women, young children, liver and kidney dysfunction (may cause unknown danger)
It may cause skin photosensitivity, called photodermatitis, so please be careful if you have sensitive skin or take related photosensitive drugs
Do not use for several weeks before surgery, it may interfere with the action of anesthetic drugs, please inform your doctor about the use of these products
Be careful with bipolar disorder, severe depression, or schizophrenia, which may cause mania or other psychiatric symptoms
May interfere with conception and make pregnancy difficult
May cause inattention disorder (ADHD) or worsening Alzheimer’s disease
If you take any medication, do not take St. John’s wort preparations at the same time, which may trigger cross-reflection and cause unknown risks
Common drugs that may cause interaction include: antidepressants, sedatives, sleeping pills, antihistamines, platelet inhibitors, dexmethadromethorphan (antitussive), digoxin, immunosuppressants, antiAIDS drugs, contraceptives, hypertension medications, anticoagulants, antifungal drugs, hypolipidemic drugs, etc