"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"
THE BENEFITS OF THE USE OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
IN HERBAL PREPARATIONS
CONTRA-INDICATIONS OF ST. JOHN'S WORT
St. Johnís Wort has demonstrated an outstanding safety record throughout centuries of folk medicine, and recent medical studies have confirmed this fact. Most organic plants or herbs, when consumed in their natural or whole state, will do what they were designed to do as long as there is minimal interference from chemical residues or general toxicity in the body.
Many individuals have used St. Johnís Wort as a solution for depression, anxiety or sleep-related problems with no side effects at all. (68) On rare occasions, it has caused stomach upsets, allergic reactions or fatigue; however, these side effects were experienced while taking standardized extracts of hypericin. (69) These extracts are not pure St. Johnís Wort and should not be compared to using a pure extract, tea, ointment or other preparation of the whole plant, especially the leaves and flowers. Proper dosage is important, however, as excess can cause heightened sensitivity to the sun. (70)
The scientific community, along with those who do not understand the therapeutic use of St. Johnís Wort as a whole plant, continue to issue warnings against the use of St. Johnís Wort while pregnant or lactating or for children under the age of 12 as ďstudies have not been done on this issue yet.Ē (71) Another medical caution is added for individuals with kidney or liver diseases noting that ďthe liver and kidneys are the bodyís disposal system, and if theyíre not working, medicines can easily build up in the body to reach toxic levels.Ē (72) Fundamental to the core belief of the herbalist or natural healer is the recognition that plants cannot and should not be compared to medicines. Although kidney and liver function must be addressed, most herbs cannot reach toxic levels in the body because any excess will be excreted through normal pathways.
Pharmaceutical drugs known to have similar effects on the body as St. Johnís Wort have been listed on a precautionary list to watch for potential side effects. To date, there have been no reports of patients who, while taking these specific medications, had any of the possible side-effects when taking a pure extract of St. Johnís Wort. However, there have been reported contraindications while using the standardized extract. (73)
ST. JOHN'S WORT
by Ronda Nelson