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Medicinal Uses of St. John's Wort

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St. John's Wort has recently become one of the heavyweight herbs in medicine, mostly due to it's reputed anti-depressant effects.  Lesser known medicinal attributes of this plant include usefulness as an antiseptic, pain killer, and anti-viral agent. 

Externally, St. John's Wort can be made into an Ointment for bruises, wounds, burns, hemorrhoids, sunburn, herpes sores, varicose veins, sciatica, and nerve pain.  An Oil can be made to rub on areas affected by arthritis and rheumatism, and massaged around the spinal cord for back pain symptoms.

Internally, St. John's Wort is believed to be of benefit for symptoms of  depression, anxiety, cough, digestion, bronchial problems, diarrhea, menstrual problems, fatigue, flu, gout, insomnia, irritability, and ulcers.  As an anti-depressant, it may take some time when used regularly to have any noticeable effects.  A Tea can be made for any of the above symptoms using the leaves or flowers, and the dosage should be 1-2 cups morning and night until the symptoms retreat.  Capsules can also be made from the flowers or leaves after drying and pulverizing into a powder.  See the link on How to Make Herbal Capsules below for instructions. 

There are some drawbacks to taking St. John's Wort, so do consider these before embarking on a self-medication regimen with this herb.  A study has shown that it may interfere with some of the drugs used in cases of HIV and immune suppressants used in transplant patients.  If either of these categories fit your situation, please consult your doctor before taking any medications containing St. John's Wort.  Side effects are also reported, including photosensitivity and a mild nauseated feeling that usually corrects itself after a few weeks of taking the medication. Lastly, in some people a rise in blood pressure after taking the herb has been reported, and there is one study that suggests that it might interfere with birth control pills, although there have been no reports of unplanned births associated with its use.

 

 

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