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St. John's wort can help with the treatment of depression

St. John's wort can help with the treatment of depression

John or St John's wort is scientifically named Hypericum perforatum and belongs to the Guttiferae family. For centuries the plant has been employed as a laxative, diuretics, antipyretic, healing, neuralgia, insomnia, headaches, gastritis, hemorrhoids, tetanus, mental illnesses and even for some types of cancer. However, its main and most effective benefit is in the fight against depression.

Nutrients of St. John's wort

St. John's wort contains essential oil, tannins, resins, pectin, flavonoids, procyanid, catechins, phytosterols, vitamin C, carotenes, amino acids and saponins. The main substance responsible for the benefits is hypericin and its phytocomplexes. It has calming action and so researchers believe it is capable of fighting depression. The herb-de-são-joão also counts on hyperforina, substance that many researchers believe to be the main responsible for the negative effects of the plant, like some mental disorders verified in studies. Therefore, already extracts of the herb of são-joão with only traces of the hyperforina are elaborated.

Benefit in study of the Grass-of-São-João

Helps to combat depression: São-João is widely used in the treatment of mild and moderate depression. In Germany, it is the most commonly used antidepressant, accounting for 25% of the prescribed antidepressants. Most researchers believe that the hypericins present in the plant are responsible for antidepressant activity, but the mechanism is not yet fully understood. However, the plant should only be used after medical advice, as it has a number of side effects and can cause health problems.

How to consume

Guidance is to ingest the St. John's wort extract capsules.

Recommended amount

The recommendation of the herb-de-são-joão ranges from 100 to 300 milligrams per day, and it is your doctor who will determine the daily amount to be

Consuming care

The main care is to only ingest the weed after medical advice and follow exactly the recommendation of this professional. This is because consuming this plant in the wrong way can cause serious health problems.

Side effects

The herb-de-são-joão has photosensitizing action, so that cases have already been described of patients who ingested the plant and presented pain after a sunbath. There are reports of cases in which the ingestion of St. John's Wort has led to psychosis with hallucinations and delusions in people with no history of personal psychiatric disorders or in the family. There are also papers that describe cases of patients who developed manic state after the ingestion of the herb-de-são-joão. There is still a danger of hypertension if St. John's wort is combined with some foods such as cheese, cabbage, pickles and wine.

Interactions St. John's wort and antiretrovirals:

The Food and Drug Administration, the United States Food and Drug Administration, issued a warning about the interactions caused by the use of St. John's Wort concomitantly with antiretroviral drugs. This is because the plant may interfere with the action of anti-HIV drugs.

Understand the problems of St. John's Wort - Photo: Getty Images St. John's wort and transplant patients:

Researchers at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, have found that the plant interferes with the immunosuppressive effect of cyclosporin, which is used to prevent organ transplant rejection. Heart transplant recipients who used cyclosporine and ingested the St. John's Wort presented acute rejection. St. John's wort and contraceptive pill:

Research shows that bleeding and failure of oral contraceptives occur in women who use St. John's wort.

Studies still suggest that the herb-de-joão can interact with simvastatin and with the following drugs: tricyclic antidepressants, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, anticonvulsants (carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital) , anticoagulants, phenprocoumon and warfarin (Stockley, 2002).

St. John's wort still decreases the anticoagulant effect of warfarin and may increase the toxicity of other drugs such as nefazodone or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. When used with paroxetine, St. John's wort produced nausea and psychiatric disturbance.

Sources consulted:

Pharmacist Sérgio Tinoco Panizza, president of the Brazilian Council of Phytotherapy


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