St. John's Wort: Herbal Medications, What Works
St. John's wort, or SJW, (Hypericum perforatum) is one of the powerhouses of contemporary herbal medicine. It has become very popular in the United States in a short period of time, and is used primarily to combat depression.
Ancient herbalists, including the Greeks and Romans, used SJW for wound healing, as a diuretic, and for treatment of neuralgic pain. It was brought by early European colonists to the United States, where it was valued for its astringent, sedative, and diuretic properties. It was also used in the nineteenth century for depression.
St. John's wort is currently of keen interest to AIDS researchers, who are looking into the possible antiviral activity of one of its primary active compounds, hypericum.
In Germany, sixty-six million daily doses of SJW were taken in 1994 for the treatment of depression. German doctors now prescribe SJW far more frequently than Prozac, at ratios variously reported as twenty to one, six to one, or four to one (depending on the specific product cited).
Germany's Commission E recommends an average daily dosage of 2 to 4 grams of dried herb, containing 0.2 to 1.0 mg of hypericin, the constituent considered responsible for some of the herb's activity. However, there may be as many as ten active constituents.
From THE BEST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: WHAT WORKS? WHAT DOES NOT? by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier.
Copyright © 2000 by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Inc.
Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, New York.
Unless otherwise indicated,
Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier. All Rights Reserved.