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St. Johns Wort is a little yellow aromatic flower that is native to Britain, through parts of Europe, and Asia. It grows wildly, and is even considered a weed by some folk. This perennial grows about 1 – 3 feet in height, and can be found on roadsides, meadows, and other places of uncultivated ground.

The herb tops and flowers of this plant can be used in many ways ranging from teas to topical ointments, and for treating anything from bedwetting to depression. Here are some of the things St. Johns Wort has been used to treat through time:

Various pulmonary problems
Bladder troubles
Sleep disorders
Menopausal symptoms
Muscle aches
First degree burns

Used both internally, and externally, this herb has done wonders for people over 2000 years now. However, it is recently becoming extremely popular in treating depression. Clinical tests have shown St. Johns Wort to be just as effective, if not more effective that prescription anti-depressants such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft, with far less side effects than pharmaceutical drugs.

Common side effects seem to be stomach upset and fatigue, and is usually easily remedied by changing whether or not the herb is taken with food, or the time of day the pill is taken. Those taking certain medication for AIDS and HIV may want to discuss their taking of this herb before hand, as some have experienced some severe drug interactions with their medicines and this herb. It is still not a bad idea to check for drug interactions with your doctor if you are taking any medications at any time. Herbs may be natural, but they are still drugs, and many people do not realize this fact.

There are many products available today with St. Johns Wort, and just as many ways to take it. If you intend to use the herb externally, you may be able to create your own topical cheaper and easier than buying some of the products available in the store by placing some herb tops and flowers into some olive oil. Let it sit for a couple of weeks to a couple of months in a dark place. Use this oil externally for muscle aches, minor burns, and other minor skin conditions, and internally for stomach problems. The herb may also be used as a tea by steeping two grams of herb in a cup of hot water. This can be used for sleep disorders, minor depression and incontinence. For children who still suffer from bed wetting, give them one cup of tea before bedtime. It helps to decrease urine flow, and many children experience relief from bed-wetting. Herbal supplements are also available as capsules or tablets, and are used for the treatment of anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.

The many benefits of this herb have been seen since the time of Hippocrates, and are now becoming well accepted into the American medical community, and have been prescribed by doctors for years in Germany and other European countries. Further research is recommended before taking this herb to check for uses and side effects or potential drug interactions. This is a great plant, capable of helping a lot of people. But, it still must be used responsibly.