What Is St. John's Wort?


Quick Answer

St. John's wort is a yellow-flowering herb used to make medicine. The most common use of St. John's wort is in medicines that treat mild depression or related conditions, such as anxiety, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping.

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What Is St. John's Wort?
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Full Answer

The scientific name for St. John's wort is Hypericum perforatum. It grows up to 1 meter high in bushes with green leaves and yellow flowers. St. John's wort can grow in almost any climate and thrives throughout the world.

Not all studies agree on why St. John's wort is an effective treatment for mild depression. Some scientists have suggested that it makes more serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine available to the brain. Other researchers suggest that St. John's wort is no more than a placebo. St. John's wort is helpful in treating other medical conditions, including eczema and hemorrhoids, due to its antibacterial properties.

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