This information explains what St John's wort is used for, how it works, possible side effects and interactions with other medicines.
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St John's wort (pronounced to rhyme with ’skirt’) is a herb that has been used as a folk medicine for hundreds of years, for mental health problems and for healing wounds. Today, it is mainly used for depression, mild anxiety, and sleep problems.
Its botanical name is Hypericum perforatum, and you may see it marketed as ‘Hypericum’ (this comes from the Greek, meaning 'greatest health'). The active ingredient for depression is called hypericin, and when you buy it, the packaging should tell you the amount of hypericin, or ‘hypericum extract’, in each tablet or capsule.
It also contains hyperforin which has antibiotic properties.
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