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Herbs Uncovered: Interactions with St. John’s Wort

Saint John's Wort blog image (1) (1)
The myths and truths around St. John's Wort. Interactions with St. John's Wort, how it's used, and a luxurious oil recipe.

This herbal superstar is well-known in both the natural wellness and modern medical world’s – but it may not be for all the reasons’ you would think!

While this potent medicinal plant has a variety of beneficial uses, there are also a few rumors and concerns floating around about the use of St. John’s Wort.

These rumors include a number of modern medications that have interactions with St. John’s Wort! While we love this herb and stand by its use in many situations, this part of its character should be paid attention to when working with this powerful, healing, medicinal.

What is St. John’s Wort used for?

St. John’s wort has a variety of uses, but above all we view this plant as a powerhouse for the nervous system – offering both nervine and trophorestorative qualities.

This plant is specifically used and indicated to help restore and repair the nervous system, as a relaxing nervine, to help modulate nervous system inflammation, and even as an anti-viral herb!

Does SJW help with depression?

St. John’s Wort gets a lot of hype about its use in supporting mild depression, but is this really true? Although this plant does have an affinity for the nervous system and acts as a relaxing nervine, it’s support of the nervous system can really be linked back to its use as a trophorestorative (it helps restore weakness) and master of combating nerve pain through healing the myelin sheaths around our nerves.

When our nervous systems are full and supported, it can far-reaching effects on both our mood and overall state of mind. This ability to support the nervous system and promote a healthy mood leads SJW to have the “good for depression” rumor.

Drug Interactions with St. John’s Wort

While we LOVE St. John’s Wort for its use in supporting overall nervous system health and healing, it should be noted that a number of pharmaceutical drugs have interactions with St. John’s Wort, and SJW should not be taken when using them.

The primary contraindication which makes it a big no-go for mixing with other medications is St. John’s Wort’s ability to help the liver quickly process toxins, (which includes many medications). This can speed up your reaction to a medication, or it can render it less effective, depending on what you’re taking.

Many common medications (even birth control) have interactions with St. John’s Wort, and should not be taken at the same time.

As always, please consult with your licensed healthcare provider about whether or not this herb will work for you considering the medications you may be on.

St. John’s Wort and Sun Sensitivity

Another one of the topics that makes this herb so popular, is its proposed ability to lead to increase photosensivity (being more sensitive to the sun).

While this is indeed true, it should be noted that research suggests that you actually need to consume quite a bit of the plant in order for it to have this impact.

Of course, every person is different and as is the case with using any new herb, caution should be exhibited with first time use, but definitely don’t let this rumor deter you from experimenting with the benefits of St. John’s Wort.

How to take this herb

So how do you take this wonderful nervous system plant? We love St. John’s Wort as a fresh plant tincture and as a topical oil.

When used topically, St. John’s Wort doesn’t have as many of the contraindications with medications that it does when taken internally.

St. John’s Wort oil helps to soothe and support damaged or inflamed nerves. We love to lather ourselves in it when whenever we’re giving our nervous systems a little extra love and care!

Luscious St. John’s Wort + Body Chamomile Oil

Use this luscious oil as your new favorite nervous system treat, and be sure to read our note at the end about how to go about making high-quality SJW oil.

Ingredients

¼ cup Freshly wilted St. John’s Wort Flowers (or dried if that’s all you can get)

2-3 TBL Dried Chamomile Flowers

½ cup high quality olive oil

Mason Jar, Label, Lid

Directions

Add your flowers to jar and cover with olive oil, making sure that the flowers are fully submerged.

Seal with a lid and label.

Let sit 2-4 weeks, shaking every few days.

Once done, strain and use as your favorite new body soothing oil!

Be mindful of mold. If mold forms, sadly your oil should be thrown out! Don’t fret however because this happens, and is part of the learning process.

Note: Good quality St. John’s Wort oil should be red in color, and comes from using the flowers when they are perfectly ready to collect. St. John’s Wort flowers should make a red dye when rubbed together, and in order to preserve this quality you will want to “gently wilt” the flowers before using (not totally dry).

It should be noted that when you make oils with wilted vs. dried plants, there is a higher tendency for the oil to mold, so be sure to keep your oil out of direct light, and keep an eye on things as it extracts.

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