St. John´s Wort

Buying St. John's wort - what you need to know

<p>St. John's wort capsules or drops are often used as plant-based mood enhancers, to support restlessness and a lack of concentration, or for a gentle calming effect. If you want to buy products which include St. John's wort, you will find suitable preparations here which contain real St. John's wort (Latin name: hypericum perforatum) and can thus have a balancing effect on your body and mind.</p>

St. John's wort, a plant with striking yellow flowers, has been used in natural medicine for more than 2000 years because of the vital substances it contains. Herbal books already in existence by the Middle Ages, mention St. John's wort recipes recommended for ailments such as mood swings, fears, and anxieties. And even today, when the vital ingredients of this herb are available in easy-to-take forms such as capsules, medicinal dragées, tinctures, teas, and drops, many people still rely on the attributes of St. John's wort. It was no real surprise that St. John's wort was named Medicinal Plant of the Year in 2015 as a herbal alternative to mood-enhancing agents. To achieve these effects, you can use not only the flowers of this medicinal herb, but also the plant itself and its ripe fruits. In fact, all but the roots of St. John's wort can be used to make tablets and drops. These components can be used to support mental equilibrium during bouts of depression and to help alleviate mood swings. The active substances associated with the effects of St. John's wort include:

  • hyperforin
  • hypericin
  • flavonoids and
  • essential oils

Hyperforin and hypericin, in particular, are the substances that enable St. John's wort to help with depression and mood swings. Hypericin is also known as ‘St John’s blood’ because it turns red when rubbed. This pigment is mainly found in the plant’s dried flowers and can be seen as small dark spots, while substantial amounts of hyperforin can be found in the ripe fruits of the plant. It is believed these two substances play a role in the optimal regulation of brain chemicals (hormones, especially neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline) in the central nervous system, which in turn have an impact on mood and well-being. Because of these celebrated properties, it can make sense to buy St. John's wort if you want a herbal alternative to products that have mood-enhancing, calming, or antidepressant effects. [4] [6]

In addition, many people who experience anxiety and panic attacks are often advised to buy St. John's wort to help reduce these symptoms.

An overview of the possible applications of St. John's wort:

  • mood swings
  • depressive moods
  • anxiety
  • inner turmoil
  • insomnia
  • inability to concentrate

Can taking St. John's wort cause any side effects?

As far as the side effects of St. John's wort are concerned, it is often emphasized that these should be markedly less than those associated with psycho-pharmaceutical drugs which have an antidepressant or anxiety-relieving effect. The latter is often associated with side effects such as tiredness, loss of sex drive, and the potential for addiction. Those who wish to buy St. John's wort need have no fear of such side effects. And St. John's wort products will not cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the product. Thus, so-called hangovers will definitely be avoided. Taking medical antidepressants can sometimes cause severe lapses of concentration and impaired reactions, which can give rise to concerns over road safety, for example. [1]

Manic episodes, i.e. temporary significant mood highs, rarely occur when taking St. John's wort products. However, these are to some extent anticipated outcomes that can actually serve as proof of the effects of St. John's wort. In addition, it is possible that photosensitivity may occur. So you may notice skin changes, especially if exposed to UV light. Therefore, it’s generally recommended to avoid intensive sunbathing while taking St. John's wort. Also bear in mind there may be possible interactions between St. John's wort preparations and other medication – for instance, when taking the birth control pill at the same time. It’s always best to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this.

When can it make sense to buy St. John's wort?

If you want more energy, or inner peace and a balanced state of mind, you can buy St. John's wort and give this herbal remedy a try. Even people who have difficulty concentrating or who are prone to mild-to-moderate depressive moods can use St. John's wort to support their well-being.

Many people rely on buying St. John's wort when they are nervous, anxious, or have mood swings due to hormonal imbalances. The latter is a symptom that can accompany menopause, but it can also occur seasonally, especially due to a lack of sunlight over the winter months. [5]

Studies have shown St. John's wort is as effective as the frequently used light therapy in the treatment of seasonal affective disorders. [3]

Buying St. John's wort - what should you look out for?

If you want to buy St. John's wort to support your emotional balance, you should pay attention to the recommended dosage for any preparation. In order to benefit from the effects of this medicinal herb, it is necessary to maintain a continuous intake at the appropriate dosage.

The German Commission E recommends an average daily dose of 2 to 4 g (effective parts of the plant) for St. John's wort. Or, alternatively, 0.2 to 1.0 mg total hypericin content if other dosage formats are involved. Anyone suffering from moderate depression should consider taking a higher daily dose of 900 mg of undiluted extract. However, 300 to 600 mg should be sufficient for milder forms of depressive mood. [1] So always remember to take a suitably high-dose of the preparation when you buy St. John's wort.

Products and dosage formats

St. John's wort is usually harvested during its flowering period, then dried and processed into dry granules with the help of alcohols such as ethanol or methanol.

Standard dry extracts are available as capsules, medicinal dragées, and tablets. Or, alternatively, there are also St. John's wort drops, which are a good alternative for anyone who finds it difficult to swallow capsules and tablets. Just decide on the dosage format you feel most comfortable with. [7]

Application and tolerance

Once you have chosen your dosage format, St. John's wort is relatively easy to use. Take capsules and dragées with a glass of water, if possible in several single doses throughout the day. Tolerance can be improved by taking St. John's wort with, or after, your meals. Several single doses are said to be more effective than one single daily dose. [2] If you are taking medication at the same time, always discuss the combined effects of using both preparations with your doctor or pharmacist beforehand.

St. John's wort should not be purchased for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. St. John's wort is also unsuitable for children and adolescents. People who suffer from severe depression should consult a doctor or psychologist before taking St John’s wort.

Additives and allergens

Last but not least, it is worth choosing a product which contains no artificial additives such as colorings and preservatives, or potential allergens.

Value for money

Look for good value for money when buying St. John's Wort. Among other things, this will depend on how many tablets, capsules, or dragées you receive for the quoted price. It is also important to establish the recommended dosage of any St. John's wort preparation.

Satisfaction Guarantee

Buying a St. John's wort product with a satisfaction guarantee is an ideal solution. This gives you the opportunity to test the product first. And if you don't like it, or if you can’t tolerate it, you can just return the product without any problems.

Frequently asked questions about buying St. John's wort

How long do I have to take St. John's wort before it starts to work?

St. John's wort only works when you take it regularly for a period of time, and at the recommended dosage. Some people notice a positive effect after just one week, though for others it may take a little longer. However, St. John's wort should always take effect no later than after two to three weeks of regular use. Incidentally, it is more effective to spread the total dosage across several individual doses throughout the day.

Does St. John's wort have any side effects?

In general, St. John's wort has little potential for side effects. The most common St. John's wort side effects include photosensitivity and manic episodes, but these are usually regarded as proof of the effectiveness of the preparation. Side effects such as gastrointestinal complaints, sweating or headaches will only usually occur if the maximum dose has been exceeded.

In addition, there may be interactions with other preparations. It is therefore important to obtain advice and reassurance from your doctor or pharmacist before taking several preparations at the same time. [2]

What happens if I take too much St. John's wort?

If you take a higher dose of St. John's wort than the manufacturer recommends, you may experience various side effects, including: dizziness, itching, indigestion, light sensitivity, restlessness, and tiredness. However, when taken at the appropriate dosage, St. John's wort is a generally well-tolerated natural product.

Can St. John's wort interact with other drugs?

When taking St. John's wort, there may be interactions with other preparations. St. John's wort can stimulate certain enzymes in the liver in such a way that drugs are broken down more quickly. Drugs where an interaction could occur include: blood thinners, HIV drugs, cancer therapy drugs, birth control pills, and cardiovascular drugs.