St. John's wort, properties and benefits

St. John's wort, properties and benefits

St. John's Wort: indications and side effects

For a long time man has been analyzing, researching and collecting plants to have an understanding as well as a study, often complex covering a wide range of plants to obtain generalized or specific natural remedies, some enjoying more popularity than others and more or less accepted. In this post we will talk about St. John's Wort.


  • 1 What is St. John's Wort?
  • 2 Properties of St. John's Wort
  • 3 Medicinal uses
  • 4 Topical applications
  • 5 side effects
  • 6 Contraindications of hypericin
  • 7 Conclusions

What is St. John's Wort?

The St. John's Wort or Hypericum perforatum It is a known medicinal plant native to the European continent, which was introduced in numerous regions of the world, especially in temperate and subtropical areas such as North America, Europe, Turkey, Russia, India and China. Currently more than 350 species of Hypericum are known worldwide. His name derives from his tendency to bloom around the date of the feast of St. John.

Properties of the St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort has various applications in everyday life due to its special properties.

Within the grass of San Juan we find what is known how Hypericin, a compound that produces an antidepressant effect, which is achieved thanks to the action of monoamine oxidase, known in short as IMAO. We can also find what is known as hyperofine, another compound that acts as a tranquilizer.

Other components that this plant contains are the tannins, which offer antiseptic, astringent and healing qualities. The flavonoids which are venotonic and vasoprotective.

Medical uses

This plant is used for numerous purposes:

  • Asthenia and depression
  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Night terrors and enuresis in the childhood
  • Gastrointestinal spasms, gastritis, diarrhea, irritable bowel, hemorrhoids, gastroduodenal ulcus ...
  • Nervous asthma
  • Varicose veins
  • Migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Wounds, sunburn, bumps, ligament distensions and other traumatic injuries.

Topical applications

As we have seen, its applications are very diverse, but not everyone knows all its types of use, and we can also find the St John's wort in the form of essential oil since, as we have commented, its tannins confer antiseptic, cicantrizing and astrigent actions, among others.

The Hypericum oil It is obtained by maceration of its leaves, in this case in olive oil.

Side effects

St. John's Wort does not go unnoticed due mainly to its antidepressant properties, so especially in some countries its popularity has spread considerably. But in others the opposite has happened, because it also has contraindications.

But like everything in life, its use is governed by a series of precautions that we must take into account. Moreover, the consumption of said plant should be suspended if they are taken according to which medications, because potentiates certain adverse effects, as happens for example with some antidepressants, narcotics, acidity inhibitors and others. Therefore, it is always advisable, if not mandatory, to consult our doctor before starting any type of treatment, whether natural or not, on our own.

In cases of overdose or, as we have said, in combination with certain antidepressant drugs, it could cause the dangerous serotonergic syndrome.

It has also been said that in people with TDHA (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) It could lead to a worsening of your symptoms and even acute depressions.

If we talk about caution and side effects, we cannot forget its toxicity. The Hypericin in contact with sunlight can produce photosensitization effects on our skin. It is therefore advisable to follow an external treatment with said plant and not expose our skin to the sun.

People who take hypericum should also avoid eating foods that contain Tyraminesuch as cheese, beer, wine, salted and pickled herring, bananas, beans, yogurt, soy sauce, caviar, yeasts, liver and very raw meats.

Contraindications of hypericin

During pregnancy it is not recommended to take hypericin, since the safety of the compound and the possible effects on the fetus have not been established, in fact some evidence suggests that there may be danger at birth due to its uterotonic action.

Another precaution that we must take into account is that of avoid consumption for at least two weeks before undergoing surgery.


As we can see, although it is a positive thing to value and appreciate what nature gives us, we must do it intelligently, because neither everything is so good nor everything is so bad, and therefore we must be advised by accredited professionals in each case.

David Álvarez Social Psychologist & Ecop