St John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)
| St. John's wort has long been used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory for strains, sprains, and contusions. St. John's wort also has been used to treat muscular spasms, cramps, and tension that results in muscular spasms.|
The plant, especially its tiny yellow flowers, is high in hypericin and other flavonoid compounds. If you crush a flower bud between your fingers, you will release a burgundy red juice -- evidence of the flavonoid hypericin. St. John's wort oils and tinctures should display this beautiful red coloring, which indicates the presence of the desired flavonoids.
Bioflavonoids, in general, serve to reduce vascular fragility and inflammation. Since flavonoids improve venous-wall integrity, St. John's wort is useful in treating swollen veins. St. John's wort preparations may be ingested for internal bruising and inflammation or following a traumatic injury to the external muscles and skin.
The oil is also useful when applied to wounds and bruises or rubbed onto strains, sprains, or varicose veins. When rubbed onto the belly and breasts during pregnancy, the oil may also help prevent stretch marks. Topical application is useful to treat hemorrhoids and aching, swollen veins that can occur during pregnancy.
St. John's wort is reported to relieve anxiety and tension and to act as an antidepressant. It was once thought that hypericin interfered with the body's production of a depression-related chemical called monoamine oxidase (MAO), but recent research has shed doubt on this claim. Research now is focusing on other constituents, such as hyperforin and flavonoids.
Studies have shown St. John's wort extracts may exert their antidepressant actions by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The required dosage is three grams of powder per day, but it must be taken for weeks -- and sometimes several months -- before results are noted.
St. John's wort is useful for pelvic pain and cramping. According to the 1983 British Pharmacopoeia, St. John's wort is specifically indicated for "menopausal neuroses": Many women who experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional disturbances during menopause may benefit from this herb's use.
The National Cancer Institute has conducted several studies showing that St. John's wort has potential as a cancer-fighting drug. One study showed that mice injected with the feline leukemia virus were able to fight off the infection after just a single dose of St. John's wort.
Disclaimer: The information presented
herein is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not
been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or
prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements,
it is always advisable to consult with your own health care