The use of medicinal plants or herbs is one of the most extensive and valued areas in the field of alternative and complementary medicine. The uses and benefits of St. John’s wort have been researched for years.

Due to the accelerated growth of this activity in developed countries, this is still a poorly controlled area of ​​drug therapy, this coupled with the fact that the effect and interaction of these plants can vary greatly and based on many factors.

On the other hand, there are few studies that attest to adverse effects when using plants or herbs medically, and although this may be due to the lack of notification of these phenomena, there is also scientific evidence that the margin of effectiveness of the treatments with medicinal plants it is high.

For example, one of the most effective herbs in treating different ailments is St. John’s wort, also called St. John’s wort. Studies have shown that St. John’s wort is as effective as imipramine – an antidepressant drug – for the treatment of depression, in addition to being the most chosen among patients.

This article presents the properties of St. John’s wort and the benefits of this plant to ward off sadness and relieve depression.

What is St. John’s wort?

Hypericum perforatum, as is its scientific name, is a plant belonging to the Hypericaceae family better known as St. John’s wort, St. John’s wort, St. John’s wort, Altamis or hypericón. The most common of its names, St. John’s wort, refers to the beheading of St. John the Baptist, as the red pigment in the leaves is said to symbolize the apostle’s blood.

Its origin is found in Europe and Asia, in hedges and light or humid forests or in dry and sunny meadows and hills. It is a perennial plant that can reach 60 cm in height and resists any type of soil, although it must be protected from the cold in its first year of life.

It has a fairly complex chemical composition. Among its components is hypericin, a red biochemical that can raise dopamine levels and inhibit the action of enzymes that decrease it. In addition, since hypericin tends to accumulate a lot in cancerous tissues, it is an excellent indicator of cancer cells.

In addition to this, St. John’s wort also contains flavonoids and biflavonoids, which are metabolites present in certain plants and possess antimicrobial, anticancer, analgesic, antioxidant properties; they also lower the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, protect and regulate digestion, etc.

St. John’s wort in the treatment of depression and sadness

Depression is among the most common mood disorders in the world. In 1999 a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that the incidence of depression would increase in recent years.

Today it is estimated that by 2020 it will be the second most diagnosed disease in the world.

Likewise, the WHO establishes that between 3 and 5% of the population suffers from depression. In the case of Spain, this rate is believed to be 10% of the adult population, being more common in women.

This disease is influenced by many factors such as education, marital status, family history and personal history. The main symptom of the disease is sadness for more than 2 weeks.

The treatment of depression is shared between the psychotherapeutic and pharmacological components. With regard to the first, there are many modalities of therapy for this condition, their use depends on the adaptation that the patient has to each one.

The pharmacological component is also essential in many cases, and a close patient / pharmacologist relationship is required for it to be successful.

Various synthetic drugs are usually used, among the most common are tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, maprotiline or doxepin. Also or inhibitors of the reception of serotonin. However, the consumption of these drugs represents a high risk of adverse effects.

According to researcher Helmut Woelk, St. John’s wort or St. John’s wort can work as effectively in treating medium-grade depression as some traditional antidepressants. In general, St. John’s wort is used as a phytopharmaceutical made from St. John’s wort extract.

Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of St. John’s wort extract in the treatment of depression, since it not only acts as a placebo, but has a greater curative effect than conventional antidepressants, in addition, patients show a high degree of tolerance to it. same.

A recent study in which 300 depressive patients were treated for 6 weeks with St. John’s wort and others with imipramine (chosen at random) showed that St. John’s wort is therapeutically equivalent to imipramine in the treatment of this disease.

The progress of symptoms was measured in a self-evaluative way, and the patients showed better tolerance of St. John’s wort, since imipramine carries side effects such as dry mouth, excessive sweating and vertigo.

These effects were found in 39% of the patients treated with St. John’s wort, while 63% of those taking imipramine had these symptoms.

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