St.John's wort can be found in most parts of the world, though originally it was from Asia and Europe. Its leaves and yellow flowers secrete a blood-red juice, and this led to its use for cuts and wounds in the past. Some say that its name comes from John the Baptist. More specifically, some think the name originated from the fact that the plant was commonly harvested on St Johns Day each year (24th June).
The biological grouping or "genus" of this plant is called Hypericum and St. John's Wort is often mentioned using its biological name of Hypericum Perforatum. Interestingly, the word Hypericum comes from greek words meaning above and image. This plant was hung above religious pictures or icons to scare away evil entities during St Johns Day and hence the word Hypericum was used for the herb.
The plant is capable of adapting to a wide range of growing conditions and even has a number of ways of spreading, either through seeds or growing vegetatively underground. Because of this, it is treated as an invasive weed in some countries.
Some historic uses for the herb
It is highly valued for its treatment of mild depression, anxiety and in easing nerve pains after injury.
There are many more positive studies on the herb and it is suggested that you do your own research and reading if you are not yet convinced of its effectiveness.
Two of the active ingredients in St John's Wort are hyperforin and hypericin. These can be standardised in tablet form, but we do not recommend this method, as many other natural chemicals in the plant can be destroyed during this process. We much prefer using high quality grown plants, from which we use the whole herb in capsule form.
It is not recommended to use St Johns Wort if you are also using man-made psychotropic drugs, inhibitors or stimulants. Most unbiased studies suggest you either follow a natural approach or not, but not both.
Don't allow yourself to be mislabeled
Many mental health issues get mislabeled by the medical profession. These days people get labeled for anything, too happy, not happy enough, too anxious, not anxious enough. Is it a coincidence that there now seems to be a drug for each of these things?.... There are many experts in the physical health fields, but there is far less scientific evidence in the mental health field. Unfortunately, many psychiatric drugs are masking agents and numb emotions and feelings, rather than resolve any underlying causes. Of course, seek professional help, but you should be the judge of what is said. Always get a second or third opinion!
If these guidelines are followed, there doesn't seem to be many side effects reported, but it is not recommended to use St Johns beyond a few months at a time. There can be interactions with certain heart drugs and birth control methods. You should seek medical advice if you are taking these things.
For general health matters, we always prefer a natural approach and this would include necessary lifestyle and diet changes, taking supplements as needed and some exercise.
There is nothing much worse than feeling down. Life can become a struggle, overwhelming and one loses one's vigour and energy. But this does not mean that the answer lies in a prescribed drug, which can have side effects worse than any initial problems.
There is a way forward
There are some other things that you can do and some of the simplest things include the following to help with depression and hopelessness.
None of these will necessarily be better than another but it may be worth looking into these and see if one or more provides some help.
Firstly, get some exercise and get your body moving. This doesn't mean you have to go to the gym. Just going for a walk a few times a week can make all the difference. What happens is that by taking a walk and looking out and observing the environment, you extrovert. This tends to take your attention off your problems and this can help stop a person from introverting, feeling so worried and feeling yourself down.
It is not hocus-pocus and even if you don't feel like it, go for a walk, take a nap when you return if you feel like it and things should start to improve again. You may need to do this a few times each day for 20 minutes or so and repeat it each day. You may be surprised at the positive impact this will have.
Stop listening to bad news. They do this to get viewers!
Consider watching less TV. This isn't meant to sound silly or pompous but is based on facts. People generally watch too much TV and much of it tends to be bad news. Learn to switch off a little more and do something more valuable with your time.
The news outlets and media tend to focus on the bad stuff that is happening. If they would just balance it with more good news then perhaps it wouldn't seem so bad. Detox your brain and mind by turning this junk off for a while and you will soon see that things are always as bad as they seem!
Other things you can do to pick yourself up
Improve your diet and cut out some junk food. Dramatically reduce the amount of sugar you consume. Too much sugar makes the blood sugar levels fluctuate wildly. This in turn causes the energy levels to peak and trough. Most of us then feel like eating a cake or some biscuits to cheer ourselves up. Wow - this becomes a perfect vicious circle.
Having better nutrition circulating throughout your body can help improve energy levels. Getting your body in shape and losing a few pounds can really make a difference in how you feel.
Incidentally, some of the many other uses of St.John's wort include: digestive pains and sleeping difficulties. Do not take during pregnancy and avoid intense sun exposure whilst using the herb as the skin can become more sensitive to light.