What are the medicinal properties of St. John’s wort

Some people prefer to relieve their ailments with herbal preparations. (Infobae)

St John’s wort, Also known as hypericum, sweetheart, yellow grass or pericón, it belongs to the family of Hypericaceae which is characterized by having multiple applications in the world of alternative and traditional medicine.

This plant, which grows in low and medium height terrain, can be found throughout Europe and Russia, although it has also acclimatized to other regions of the world such as China, Australia, North Africa and America.

In ancient Greece the physician hippocrates had already written about St. John’s wort and recommended it as a anti-inflammatory.

Characteristics of St. John's wort or hyper.  (Wikimedia Commons)
Characteristics of St. John’s wort or hyper. (Wikimedia Commons)

According to a document produced by the Colombian Ministry of HealthSt. John’s wort is a shrub of woody roots and branched whose stems can measure up to a meter in height.

The leaves on its branches are elongated, they come in pairs, when viewed against the light you can see some perforations, which is why the belief arose that they were the blood stains of Saint John Baptist and hence its name, since this plant also blooms on dates close to its birthday.

The sap of the plant is reddish in color and the flowers are golden yellow that are at their peak in late summer, It has five dotted petals and they turn red when rubbed, as they give off a pigment called hypericin. Its fruit contains small brown seeds.

One of the most studied effects of St. John's wort is its quality to combat the symptoms of depression.  (Pexels)
One of the most studied effects of St. John’s wort is its quality to combat the symptoms of depression. (Pexels)

The hypericum plant is characterized by its active principles of hypericin and pseudohypericin, which help reduce symptoms of depressionwhile being an antiviral and also exhibiting antibacterial properties.

The properties of this herb have attracted researchers who link its medicinal use with the treatment of depression mild to moderate, as well as to combat anxiety. It is in this use that several health agencies have given it the go-ahead, such as Germany, which included it in the official pharmacopoeia.

In its topical action, St. John’s wort is used to accelerate wound healing, to dermatitis, skin lesions and treat minor burns.

It is said that the consumption of this plant is also beneficial to reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and the menopauseas well as to treat stomach infections, gastritis and ulcers.

On the other hand, its oil is good for the cabello by reinforcing it and preventing it from falling or breaking; it can also be used to help eliminate dandruff and eczema.

St. John's Wort should be consumed with caution.  (Getty Images)
St. John’s Wort should be consumed with caution. (Getty Images)

Among the main contraindications for St. John’s wort is that it cannot be administered to pregnant peoplewhich are in a period of lactationnor to the under 12 years of age.

Likewise, there have been cases of hypersensitivity or allergy. When this herb is ingested it is also recommended that patients they are not consuming foods rich in tyramine such as wines, fermented cheeses, vinegar preserves; as well as alcohol and medicines to fight the flu or colds.

Excessive use of this plant can also cause agitation, anxiety, dizziness, diarrhea, constipation, stomach problems, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, and sensitivity to sunlight.

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