St. John's Wort – or Hypericum perforatum- is commonly used to treat depression and associated disorders such as anxiety, fatigue, and loss of appetite and sleep problems.


This medication is also used to treat palpitations, mood swings, menopausal disorders, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and seasonal affective syndrome. Moreover, it can be used to treat exhaustion, help individuals quit smoking, and treat fibromyalgia. St. John’s Wort is used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine and other forms of headache, muscle pain and nervousness, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, HIV / AIDS and hepatitis C.


Lastly, St. John’s Wort oil is used to treat bruises, skin lesions, inflammation, muscle aches, first-degree burns, wounds, insect bites, hemorrhoids and nerve pain.


What is St. John's Wort?

St. John's Wort or Hypericum appears to act on the neurotransmitter responsible for mood control. Among the active ingredients that facilitate in this action include hypericin and hyperforin.


How should St. John's Wort be taken?

St. John's Wort is administered orally. The parts of the plant such as the flowers and leaves are used to produce herbal remedies.  St. John's Wort oil is intended for topical use.


Side effects associated with St. John’s Wort

Among the possible side effects of St. John’s Wort include the following:


  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling of having a full stomach
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain


It is important to contact a doctor immediately if you experience:


  • Rash
  • Urticaria
  • Itch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue
  • Agitation
  • Sexual problems
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Tremors or tics
  • Mood changes or unusual behavior


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is applied directly to the skin. This medication can increase the risk of skin sensitivity to sunlight. Its intake is not recommended in children.


Before starting treatment with St. John’s Wort, it is important to tell your doctor if:


  • You have any allergies to any herbs, drugs or food
  • You are taking any other medications, herbal remedies or supplements. Mentioning in particular: alprazolam, oral contraceptives, digoxin, fenfluramine, imatinib, irinotecan, active ingredients for liver problems, drugs against HIV or AIDS, mephenytoin, omeprazole, phenobarbital, phenprocoumon, phenytoin , tacrolimus, warfarin, aminolevulinic acid, amitriptyline, clopidogrel, cyclosporine, dextromethorphan, fexofenadine, gliclazide, antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, triptans, narcotics, drugs that increase sensitivity to light, meperidine, methadone, nefazodone, nortriptyline, paroxetine, pentazocine, procainamide , reserpine, barbiturates, sertraline, simvastatin, tramadol, zolpidem, cardiac glycoside based herbal remedies or supplements, drugs with serotonergic properties, iron supplements, tryptophan or red yeast supplements 
  • You are suffering (or have suffered) from any heart problems, bipolar disorder or infertility
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding


It is also important to inform physicians, surgeons and dentists of any ongoing treatment with St. John's Wort.