Common Names: Wort, St. John’s Herb.
Botanical Name: Hypericum perforatum, or Hypericaceae family Clusiaceae.
English names: St. John’s Wort, SJW.
Parts used: flowering tops, mainly flowers and young leaves surrounding the inflorescence.
Habitat and origin:
Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, the plant is now naturalized everywhere, including Africa, Asia, Australia and North America. It is a perennial plant whose flower, a beautiful bright yellow, peaked around St. John (June 24), the ideal time to harvest the flowering tops. In the wild, it is found in dry meadows, fields, abandoned or neglected fields, along roads, along railroads, etc..
History of St. John’s Wort:
Long before our era, the ancient Greeks, the founders of Western medicine, knew very well the properties of St. John’s Wort for the treatment of wounds and injuries, internal infections and nerve disorders. From the late Middle Ages, its use to treat psychological problems took precedence over other uses.
St. John’s Wort is then considered as a plant capable of chasing “bad spirits.” Its flowering tops were also used to treat neuralgia, anxiety, neurosis and depression. In the eighteenth century, until the mid- twentieth century, American eclectic doctors prescribed in cases of hysteria and psychosomatic disorders to depression. In Germany, the plant is now considered an antidepressant and prescribed medical prescription.
Herbalists also use St. John’s Wort oil for a variety of skin ailments : injuries , wounds, bruises, chapping, diaper rash , burns, etc. . (More info in the Herbarium Wort medicinal section).
Effectiveness of St. John’s Wort:
Mild to moderate depression.
Data on the effectiveness of standardized extracts of St. John’s wort are convincing. Several meta – analyzes, including an update in 2008, concluded that St. John’s Wort is more effective than placebo and as it is as much as synthetic antidepressants , while causing fewer side effects these derniers4 -6 . Antidepressants that were compared St. John’s wort also understand those of (Zoloft ® ), fluoxetine kind (Prozac ® ) , sertraline, citalopram (Celexa ® ) and parotéxine (Paxil ® ) and type drugs such as imipramine older .
Both studies indicate that St. John’s wort superfood has also proved safe and effective long-term to prevent relapse. In one of them , which took place in single-blind , 426 participants prone to relapses took a placebo or 900 mg of hypericum extract (WS ® 5570 ) for 26 semaines7 . In another test, carried out with the knowledge ( without placebo ) , 440 subjects with mild to moderate depression took 500 mg for 1 year of Hypericum ( Ze 117 ® ).
In addition, conclusive evidence continues to accumulate . For example, in Germany, were followed for 12 weeks 1,541 depressed patients treated with St. John’s wort and monitored by their physician. Treatment significantly reduced depressive symptoms and was well tolerated by participants9 . St. John’s wort extract ( LI160 , 600 mg daily for 8 weeks) has also proved useful in cases of depression called “atypical” , in another trial in Germany involving 200 patients10 . Atypical depression is characterized by mood swings , excessive consumption of food in a short time ( binge ) and daytime sleepiness . However, a study published in 2001 reported that St. John’s wort (810 mg / day for 3 months ) , no more has beneficial effects ( depressive symptoms, quality of life) than placebo treatment , and moreover increases the risk of side effects.