St John's wort is also known as hypericum perforatum, klamath weed, goatweed, chase-devil and tipton's weed. The name St John 's wort comes from its traditional harvesting and flowering on St John's day which is on 24 June.
It is a perennial herb native to Europe; it has also been introduced to a lot of temperate areas in the world.
Goatweed is also listed as an Invasive and noxious weed in more than 20 countries.
Goatweed was used by the ancient Greece to treat ailments such as poisonous reptile bites and sciatica.
St. John's wort is a well known treatment for depression. In Germany and some other countries, it is a common prescribed treatment for mild depression, particularly in adolescents and children.
Additionally it has been employed for malaria treatment, insect bites, burns, wounds, anxiety, sleep disorders and as a sedative.
The flowered parts are used to make tablets, teas and capsules which contain concentrated extracts.
Topical preparations and liquid extracts are also used.
The Cochrane Collaboration conducted twenty nine clinical trials involving five thousand patients. They concluded that st Johns wort extracts were better than the placebo in patients with clinical depression.
The side effects were less than one fifth of tricyclic antidepressants and half of SSRI antidepressants.
Researchers from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid conducted a study named "Hypericum perforatum. Possible option against Parkinson's disease". The results suggest goatweed might help decrease neuronal degeneration caused by Parkinson's disease.
A recent study done by researchers from the University of Leeds suggested that daily treatment with kalamath weed may improve common behavioral and physical symptoms related with premenstrual syndrome.
St John's wort is normally well tolerated but there are some side effects.
St. John's wort may cause sedation, tiredness, gastrointestinal symptoms and confusion. It might also cause photosensitivity but this rare.
- Warfarin and other related anticoagulants.
- Birth control pills
- Irinotecan and perhaps other cancer drugs
- Indinavir and perhaps other HIV drugs
- Seizure-control drugs, like phenobarbital and dilantin
- Digoxin,(heart medication)
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