By maintaining levels of serotonin, St. John’s Wort can be a capable weapon against depression. It also has a calming effect on over-firing neurons, leading to even more relaxing effects. It can bring peaceful, tranquil feelings to sufferers of OCD and ADHD, and has powerful anti-anxiety qualities.
Today, St. John’s Wort is often used as an herbal treatment for depression and has been one of the traditional uses for this plant since its discovery. In Germany, St. John’s Wort is generally prescribed for mild depression, especially for children and adolescents.
Despite the mystery in its method of action, St. John’s Wort is known to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. It acts by inhibiting the production and absorption of the neurotransmitter Serotonin within the brain, thereby increasing Serotonin activity. This neurotransmitter has an inhibitory effect on the firing of neurons, resulting in a reduction of symptoms of anxiety.
There are several active ingredients within St. John’s Wort herbal extract supplements. Most experts consider hypericin to be the main agent working within St. John’s Wort, which has been shown to have anti-depressive effects as well. Recent research suggests that plant components known as flavonoids and tannins might play a role in the methods of action.
Side Effects & Dosages
St. John’s Wort has a few side effects to consider, most of which are mild and can include an upset stomach, adverse skin reactions, fatigue, restlessness, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, dizziness, dry mouth, and/or headache. Despite this supplement’s well-tolerated and generally safe nature, there are some very rare serious side effects as well.
St. John’s can possibly be the catalyst for a condition known as Serotonin Syndrome, which is characterized by obscene levels of Serotonin throughout the central nervous system. It can result in delusions and confusion, a high fever, hallucinations, nausea, loss of muscle control, excess sweating, and shakiness. If any of these serious side effects occur, discontinue use immediately and seek medical assistance. Typical dosages for St. John’s Wort range between 900 and 1,800 mg daily.