I recently had someone ask me if St. John’s Wort was for warts? “After all,” they said, “it has wart right in the name.” An innocent mistake.
What is St. John’s Wort? (Latin name Hypericum perfoliatum)
St. John’s Wort is a bushy plant with yellow flowers. The sap of St. John’s Wort is blood red, and was therefore used in medieval times for healing cuts, scrapes and wounds (it was also called Woundwort ).
Why is it called St. John’s Wort?
St John’s because the plant flowers around the feast of St. John which is June 24th. Wort which is the Old English word for plant, especially one that was used for food or medicine.
What does it do?
There is a lot of concern in the conventional community about how herbs and drugs may interact, but most concerns are based on either poor science or pure speculation. St. John’s Wort is one of the few herbs that has actually been shown to interfere with a drug. The way it does this is by improving the body’s detoxification ability – it increases the levels of an enzyme (Cytochrome P450 CYP3A4 and CYP2C9) that breaks down drugs. This means the body gets rid of the drug faster, leaving less in the body and therefore the drug does not work properly.
Drugs that have been shown to be affected include
Grapefruit juice does the opposite, it slows down the drugs ability to detoxify and can increase the amount of drug in the body, leading to potentially dangerous side effects.
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Photo attribution – https://bit.ly/2Ma3kGb
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