Traditional Uses Of St. John’s Wort And Areas Of Research Besides Depression
St. John’s Wort or Hypericum perforatum is used in folk medicine for more several centuries. Find common uses of hypericum based on traditional herbal medicine.
Hypericum extract is researched mostly for its antidepressant effect. Though in many small trials it has been proven to be useful in several other disorders. These disorders range from common skin troubles to pain relief to viral diseases and alcoholism.
St. John’s Wort In Folk Medicine:
St. John’s Wort has a great history of traditional use for several centuries. It had been commonly used for the following conditions.
- Mental Disorders
- Nerve Pain
- As a sedative
- Sleep disorders
- The sedative and painkiller action has helped a lot for relieving pain, especially chronic pain.
- Ulcer and gastritis respond well to this herb. So it had been in use for nausea and diarrhea.
- For malaria
- As a balm for wounds, insect bites and burns (suggesting antimicrobial activity). It had been used externally for bruises and hemorrhoids. The flowers were used with olive oil as a dressing for cuts.
- Kidney and lung ailments.
Currently Being Studied And Researched:
St. John’s herb is being studied for the treatment of various disorders. These effects are based on small studies or traditional use. Some of them are –
- Hangover and fatigue after alcohol use and alcoholism: With animal studies it had been shown that hypericum extract reduced the craving for alcohol. St. john’s wort might be more helpful in those alcoholic who had been primarily a depression patient and then started taking alcohol.
- Benzodiazepine withdrawal.
- Athletic performance ehancement.
- Insomnia: St. john’s wort, hops and lemon balm are used together in depression patients who had difficulty in getting to sleep.
- AIDS and HIV, Epstein Barr Virus, Influenza and herpes virus infection.
- Viral Encephalitis: Herbalists have found a tincture of st. john’s wort, rosemary and ginkgo to be helpful in the recovery phase of viral encephalitis. This tincture is said to be supportive for cognitive impairment, speech and visual disturbances, and difficulty in performing routine work. Remember! viral encephalitis is a dangerous disease that could be fatal. So it should be treated under the supervision of a qualified specialist doctor. After the acute phase is over and patient’s condition is stable, then one should add such herbal supplements. They can be advised earlier with other medication after consultation with doctor.
- The antibacterial property of st. john’s wort was reported scientifically in 1959 and 1971 when hyperforin was extracted and analyzed.
- Some forms of Cancer.
- Autoimmune disorders like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Bedwetting and nightmares in children.
- As diuretic.
- In Glioma.
- Peptic ulcer and heartburn.
- Allergies particularly its cream in atopic dermatitis, bacterial skin infections for topical use.
- As anti-inflammatory for nerve pain, neuralgia, sciatica, fibrositis, pain relief, rheumatism, sprains, menstrual pain, joint pain, dental pain.
- Ear pain from Otitis Media: Otitis media is the infection of middle ear. In a study of over 100 children with ear pain due to middle ear infection were given a compound herbal ear drop consisting of st. john’s wort, garlic, calendula and mullein flower. This herbal ear drop alleviated ear pain with efficacy comparable with standard painkiller ear drop.
- Bruises, ulcers, wound healing, skin scrapes, snakebites, burns, chronic ear infections.
- Malaria treatment.
- Chronic bowel irritation, diarrhea.
- Hepatoprotective effect.