Monday 30 June 2014

The Happy Plant: St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a medicinal herb with distinctive star shaped flowers. Nutritionally St John’s Wort has some interesting properties. In particular extracts of St John’s Wort can used as an effective treatment for mild depression. In clinical studies investigating the effects of St John’s Wort, it has been noted that extracts standardised for the active ingredient hypericin (usually 0.3 %) are as effective as some prescription antidepressant drugs. However, consistently St John’s Wort is better tolerated and shows fewer side effects. St John’s wort is so effective at treating mild depression that it is used as a prescription drug in Germany. One common side effect of St John’s Wort is its photosensitising effect, whereby those who take the extract can expect to tan more quickly in the sun. So not only will the individual feel better, they will look better as well.

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