The Mind and Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

St. John’s wort is a type of perennial plant native to Europe. This herb is prized for its medicinal properties. St. John’s wort contains powerful antiviral and anti-inflammatory agents. It is used to heal a wide range of diseases caused by internal and external inflammation. St. John’s wort is also used to treat a variety of mental disorders, particularly depression. In today’s post, we are listing down the mind and body benefits of St. John’s wort.

Anti-Depressant Treatment

St. John’s wort is traditionally used to treat depression. Depression is a type of mental ailment that affects over 19 million Americans each year. This medical condition is caused by chemical imbalance in the brain, leading to symptoms that include loss of interest, loss of pleasure, melancholy, agitation, loss of energy, and persistent feelings of worthlessness.

The herb contains a rare combination of anti-depressive chemicals that either delay or inhibit the uptake of various neurotransmitters – such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine – that reduces usual symptoms of depression. Anti-depressant drugs cause a variety of discomforts and side effects, which include dry mouth, nausea, headache, loss of sexual drive and disturbed sleep. St. John’s wort treats depression without side effects.

Reduces Anxiety

Anxiety is an intense mental distress caused by inner turmoil exacerbated by feelings of being overwhelmed. This is an emotion accompanied by nervous behaviors – such as pacing back and forth, feelings of imminent death, and agitation – followed by muscular tension, fatigue, restlessness, and worry.

Although there are various anti-anxiety drugs you can take to ease anxiety, St. John’s wort works just as effectively as any drug without the side effects. St. John’s wort helps ease anxiety by improving sleep, boosting cognitive functions, and reducing stress hormone cortisol in the brain. This herb also regulates the brain chemicals, which minimizes anxiety symptoms.

Reduces Menopausal Mood Swings

Mood swings is a term used to describe the rapid and sometimes extreme, change in mood. This condition is common among menopausal women because of the fluctuating hormones. Taking St. John’s wort helps ease mood swings by regulating the hormones. Apart from rebalancing the hormones and regulating mood, St. John’s wort also reduces the severity of cramping and pre-menstrual irritation.

Reduces Withdrawal Symptoms

Apart from reducing mental distress, St. John’s wort is also an excellent treatment for withdrawal symptoms caused by addiction. Studies show that the herb reduces cravings after quitting cigarettes, alcohol and addictive substances. It also reduces the side effects of taking addictive drugs. Using St. John’s wort makes it easier for an addict to wean himself or herself off addictive substances.

Stabilize the Hormones

The most common reason for various mental disorders is hormonal imbalance. Apart from regulating the hormones to reduce depression symptoms, St. John’s wort is also an excellent treatment for hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland secretes some of the most important hormones and enzymes that regulate the weight, mood, and metabolism. The herb works by normalizing the flow of hormones from an underactive thyroid gland.

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