What is St John's Wort?
St John's Wort is a yellow flowering herb. The name comes from its habit of flowering and being harvested on the 24th of June, or St Johns Day. On this day it was traditionally used to ward off evil, being placed around the house or near religious icons.
Where Does St John's Wort Come From?
St John's Wort is native to Europe, and is cultivated commercially in South East countries. It has also been introduced to over 20 other different countries with relatively temperate climates, including North and South America, India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, where it is classed as a noxious weed.
St John's Wort Health Benefits
The most well known of St John's Wort's benefits is its ability to treat depression. Its efficacy is remarkably high, with almost no difference in effectiveness between the herb and the traditional pharmaceutical drugs, SSRIs and tricylic antidepressants. Is is thought to work similarly to an SSRI in that it reduces the re-uptake of neurotransmitters. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used topically as an oil for skin disorders.
St John's Wort Benefits for Bodybuilding
St John's Wort is an effective mood stabilizer, and can increase feelings of calmness and emotional wellbeing. Negative emotions can hinder training, and it may help reduce feelings of aggression associated with high levels of testosterone. St John's Wart also has mild anti-estrogen effects, which may boost the body's muscle building capacity.
St John's Wort Side Effects, Safety and Negatives
There are strong drug interactions between St John's Wort and pharmaceutical antidepressants, and they should not be taken in conjunction with each other. For those with schizophrenia, St John's Wort is associated with an increase in episodes of psychosis. It may also reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills due to its ability to increase metabolism of estrogen.
There are rarely toxic effects associated with St John's Wort, although in some cases it can produce photo-sensitivity. This is where the skin burns more quickly and easily than it otherwise would, and the eyes can be sore when exposed to sunlight.
St John's Wort Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing
300mg up to three times daily is most commonly used, of a standardised extract with the active ingredients in ratio of 3-6% hyperforin and 0.12-0.28% hypericin.
St John's Wort Supplements
St John's Wort is available in tablet or capsule form, as well as a dried herb or in teabags. It can also be found in general mood supplements such as Swisse Mood.
Stacking St John's Wort
St John's Wort would stack well with other mood and mind related products such as Vitamints Focus. It would also be useful with testosterone boosting supplements due to its anti-estrogen properties, as well as its ability to even out mood swings.