St John’s Wort, a herbal approach to low moods and depression

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Although many people prefer to stick to the more traditional medical treatments for mental health issues such as counselling, CBT, psychology and psychiatry, there are also many people who prefer to look at a more holistic style of treatment such as homeopathy and herbal medicine.

*Herbal therapists believe that St John’s Wort can be affective in the treatment of mood disorders without the side effects that may be present with more conventional anti-depressants.

The plant itself can be found all over the world including Europe, Asia and the USA. It is a bushy perennial plant with distinctive yellow flowers. On the leaves there are tiny dots which are in fact glands which release the essential plant oils when pressed.

Some believe St John’s wort takes its name from the knights of St John of Jerusalem who used it as a wound herb on the crusade battlefields, while others suggest it is named after St John the Baptist as it was traditionally collected on St John’s Day, June 24th. Although a traditional wound herb and painkiller, it is now better known as a natural mood booster. Indeed it is often referred to as the sunshine herb in recognition of its uplifting properties.

St Johns Wort has been used for treating nerve disorders for over 2000 years. Popular in ancient Greece and Rome as a way to treat wounds, sores, burns, bruising and nerve pain. It was also thought to ward off evil spirits and those people thought to be insane were encouraged to drink it as an infusion to ward off madness.

If you are considering using St John’s Wort as an alternative treatment you should be aware that since April 2014 all herbal medicines for sale in the UK and Europe must be approved by Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to ensure they have been thoroughly checked for safety and quality. The Traditional Herbal Registration logo should be displayed on their packaging.

Registered herbal medicines containing St John’s wort are used today to relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety based on traditional use only.

*All information sourced from