St. Johns Wort And Seasonal Affective Disorder
Good physical health has been a topic of research and conversation for decades, even centuries, but good mental health has only recently become a point of focus. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and is all about how we think, feel, and act. It includes many factors such as how we handle stress, having a sense of meaning, and feeling confident in who we are.
Good mental health does not necessarily mean we never feel sad, overwhelmed, or anxious, but rather that we are able to cope with these feelings in a healthy manner and bounce back from life’s adversities. Like good physical health, good mental health means taking care of ourselves and investing in wellness on a regular basis. Our mental wellness can be improved by moving our bodies, connecting with our loved ones, eating nourishing food, engaging in meaningful activities, being out in nature, enjoying a good laugh, and more. We can also improve our mental health with supplements that impact our brain function. In this series we are looking at different supplements that can support mental wellness.
St. John’s Wort is a flowering shrub native to Europe and is often considered the original natural supplement for depression.The flowers and leaves of this plant contain the active ingredient, hyperforin, which has become a very popular remedy over the years for treating mild to moderate depression, boosting mood, relieving anxiety, and improving symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
St. John’s Wort achieves these benefits by increasing the activity of chemical messengers like seratonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. These neurotransmitters help to regulate and enhance moods—they are the body’s “feel good” hormones. SJW plays a similar role to anti-depressants in this way and, in fact, studies have shown it to be as effective as anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression. But do be aware that SJW can interfere with certain medications so it is best to speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you are considering adding this herb to your mental wellness repertoire.
Depression can be a serious illness. If you or someone in your family may have depression, consult a health care provider or mental health worker.