The Little Yellow Flower that Can Help Low Mood and Mild Anxiety
St John’s Wort has been used for centuries to help relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and is still one of the most popular herbal remedies for anxiety in use today. Part of the Hypericae family, St John’s Wort, or Hypericum perforatum L. to give it its proper name, is a bushy plant with a small yellow flower that grows in Europe, North Africa, South West Asia and South America.
Where Does the Name St Johns Wort Come From?
St. John’s Wort has traditionally been used to treat a wide variety of symptoms, including being known for its powerful astringent qualities. Legend tells us that early Christians named the herb after St John the Baptist, perhaps because its yellow flowers usually bloom on or before the 24th June, which has traditionally been celebrated as the Saint’s birthday. The word “wort” is simply an Old English word for a plant or herb.
What is St Johns Wort?
St John’s Wort is a popular non-prescription herbal remedy traditionally used to alleviate the symptoms of low mood or anxiety – you can read more about its uses on the website of the mental health charity MIND which explains that it is a herbal medicine that is used to treat symptoms of mental health problems including seasonal affective disorder, SAD, mild anxiety and sleep problems.
It has also been traditionally associated with being able to help relieve the symptoms of neurological conditions including nerve pain, sciatica, migraines and other headaches, and is also associated with relief from chronic fatigue, clogged arteries, weight loss, hepatitis C, burns, ulcers and herpes.
How could it help with low mood and mild anxiety?
There are a number of active ingredients in St Johns Wort that are believed to work in a similar way to synthetic drugs, including hypericin, hyperflorin, flavanols and xanthines. These ingredients are thought to enhance the levels of the ‘feel good’ hormone Serotonin in the brain, aiding the relief of symptoms of low mood and helping to curb anxiety. The MIND website says “Research suggests that St John’s wort works in a similar manner to standard antidepressants, but with far fewer reported side effects”.
A report on a large review and meta-analysis of past research published in 2008 and reported on the NHS Choices website found that people taking St. John’s Wort were 28% more likely to respond to treatment than those on a placebo. There were no significant differences in improvement rates between St. John’s Wort and standard drugs such as SSRIs or tricyclics and patients taking St. John’s Wort were less likely to drop out of trials due to adverse effects than those taking standard drugs.
Whilst the herb is available on prescription in many European countries, it is not currently prescribed in the UK. St John’s Wort products are, however, licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which approves the product based on its long-standing use as a traditional herbal medicine.
Two tablets of HRI Good Mood contain the highest dosage of St John’s Wort in the UK herbal medicines market. HRI Good Mood is a traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety based on traditional use.
If you believe you are suffering from depression, you should always consult your doctor.