Traditional medicine Hypericum perforatum


Hypericum perforatum, known as perforate St John's-wort, common Saint John's wort and simply St John's wort, is a flowering plant in the family Hypericaceae. St. John's wort has been used in alternative medicine as a likely effective aid in treating mild to moderate depression and related symptoms such as anxiety or insomnia. The St. John's wort plant has yellow flowers and is a weed in some parts of the U.S. It has been used for medicinal purposes in other parts of the world for thousands of years. St. John's wort is most often taken in liquid or capsules. The dried herb may also be used as a tea. St. John’s wort is natural. It’s an herbal supplement that doesn’t require a prescription and you can buy it at a health food store.

Common St John's wort has long been used in herbalism and folk medicine. It was thought to have medical properties in classical antiquity and was a standard component of theriacs, from the Mithridate of Aulus Cornelius Celsus' De Medicina (ca. 30 CE) to the Venice treacle of d'Amsterdammer Apotheek in 1686. Folk usages included oily extract ("St John's oil") and Hypericum snaps. Hypericum perforatum is a common species and is grown commercially for use in herbalism and traditional medicine. The red, oily extract of H. perforatum has been used in the treatment of wounds for millennia.

St. John's wort is generally considered safe when used orally in appropriate doses. However, it can cause: Agitation, Anxiety, Burning or prickling sensation, Dizziness, Diarrhea, Dry mouth, Fatigue, Headache, Increased sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity), Insomnia, Irritability, Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), Restlessness, Stomach discomfort and vivid dreams. There isn't enough information about the safety of using St. John's wort topically. Don't use St. John's wort during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.

Don't combine St John's wort and prescription antidepressants such as SSRIs. That can cause a problem of too much serotonin, called serotonin syndrome.  You may have to wait a period of time before you start St. John's wort even if you and your doctor decide to stop taking an antidepressant. Avoid foods or drinks that contain a chemical called tyramine. These items include aged cheeses, cured meats, sauerkraut, soy sauce, miso, tofu, beer, and wine. Some research shows that when St. John's wort mixes with tyramine, it can lead to serious problems including high blood pressure, fast heart rate, and becoming delirious.

A normal dose range would be anywhere from 300 to 1200 mg a day. It’s usually taken in divided doses (300 mg three times daily or 600 mg twice daily). The effects of St. John’s wort on the body are not fully understood. A number of the supplement’s active ingredients, including hypericin, hyperforin, and adhyperforin, may be responsible for its medicinal benefits. The possible drug interactions of the herb include alprazolam, antidepressants, barbiturates, bupropion, certain chemotherapy drugs, certain immunosuppressive drugs, statins, contraceptive drugs, dextromethorphan, digoxin, fexofenadine, ketamine, narcotics, omeprazole, phenytoin, photosensitizing drugs, protease inhibitors, triptans, voriconazole and warfarin.

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