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Friday, May 28, 2010

Gathering St. John's Wort Today

Hey just got back in from gathering some of my St. John's Wort, it is just coming into bloom. I have tied them in small bunches, and they are now hanging to dry. This is one of the ingredients in the tea blend I call Attitude Adjuster. It has been said that St. John's wort blooms from late May through September, and some say that it blooms on the birth day of St. John the Baptist, June 24 - hence the name St. John's wort. Mine is a little early I guess, but since it originated in the EU, and I live down south the hot climate here probably is responsible for that.

The major active ingredients in St. John's wort include hypericin and other dianthrones, flavonoids, xanthones, and hyperforin. Today, like many natural herbal remedies available, commercialism is all about extracts and pill forms of this herb. St. John's Wort has been studied for it's effectiveness to treat depression for quite some time now. Research has suggested that extracts of St. John's Wort may exert their antidepressant actions by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This action may be due to hyperforin. St. John's wort's may work as an antidepressant, by making more of hyperforin (a neurotransmitter) available to the brain.

This herb has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years. According to an article on Web M.D. " St. John's wort is continually being studied to try to validate its alleged mood-improving benefits. More than 30 clinical studies have been conducted over the past 22 years to evaluate the effectiveness of St. John's wort.
Due to the strength of these concentrations some have said that there may be contradictions when using this herbal remedy while taking other medications, but these concerns are misplaced when the herb is used in its natural dried state as an herbal tea, or infusion. One must keep in mind when purchasing pill form extracts as supplements that the commercial process is targeting specific components of the plant to extract. For  example individuals suffering from depression may be prescribed 500-1,000 mg per day of St. John's extract per day.

This is far beyond the amount of hypericin and other dianthrones that would be available in a soothing cup of tea, but as always I would recommend that anyone who is on medication for treatment of any conditions, such as high blood pressure for example should  consult with their physician.Also keep in mind that ST. John's is not intended for long term use, but is generally taken for 2- 3 weeks.

The Web MD article states that typically St. John's wort is taken three times a day for several weeks, or It may also be taken twice a day as a tea made with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried herb.

My Attitude Adjuster blend is a mix of ST. John's, Mint, Lemon Balm, Stevia, and chamomile.

Herbal Wisdom says of St. John's :

Strengthens the nervous system and speeds healing. Analgesic (pain relieving), Antidepressant, Antiviral, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Diuretic (increases the flow of urine), Emmenagogic (Promotes menstrual flow), Nutritive tonic

Neuralgia, sciatica and back pain
Pain from deep wounds
Mild depression (not severe depression)
Shingles, cold sores and herpes
Spinal problems
Joint pain

Indicated for:
Stomachache, colic, lung congestion, insomnia, anemia, headaches, jaundice, catarrh, Carcinoma (type of cancer), bedwetting, melancholy, uterine cramps, menstrual problems, antidote for intestinal worms. Source of hypercin which may counter the HIV virus.

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