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4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of St. John’s Wort

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St. John’s wort is a flowering, perennial plant with beautiful yellow flowers, and it’s a bit of an enigma. Many of us have heard its health benefits thrown around and have positive associations. On the other hand, some of us have been warned away from it due to possible medication interactions (of course, always check with your doctor before starting new herbs to make sure they’re a good fit for you). 

However, we’re here to explain some of St. John’s worts’ fantastic health benefits and what recent studies have shown about how it may support and improve our health. Keep reading for the top four research-backed health benefits this flowering herb offers. 

1. Purported Antidepressant-Like Properties

One of St. John’s wort’s most common uses is supporting the mind and body during depression. Excitingly, there’s a lot of promising research on how St. John’s wort improves depression.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health shares that St. John’s wort has been found to be as effective as standard-use antidepressants for treating mild to moderate depression. 

Mount Sinai concluded that there is good evidence that St. John’s wort may decrease symptoms in those struggling with mild-to-moderate depression. Many studies reviewed by Mount Sinai found that this herb worked, as well as many popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are commonly prescribed antidepressants. 

Interestingly, St. John’s wort wasn’t noted to cause a loss of sex drive (a common side effect of antidepressants). A 2016 research study review also found this true, stating that St. John’s wort participants were less likely to experience adverse symptoms. 

In addition, Mount Sinai concluded that St. John’s wort improved overall mood in people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs during the winter months due to a lack of sunlight. St. John’s wort was even more effective in those with SAD when combined with phototherapy, a type of treatment using lightwaves on exposed skin. 

2. Supports Those Struggling with PMS or Menopause

St. John’s wort may increase serotonin levels in the brain, which is why it helps some individuals with depression. Similarly, increasing serotonin levels can support those struggling with PMS, PMDD, or menopause, as serotonin levels fluctuate more during these times — to the extent that some doctors prescribe antidepressants to increase serotonin levels in the body.  

Mount Sinai notes that St. John’s wort may promote physical and emotional symptom relief during PMS in some women, including lessened cramps, food cravings, irritability, and breast tenderness. 

On top of this, St. John’s wort has been shown to help with mood and anxiety during menopause, particularly when combined with black cohosh. The Mayo Clinic even shares that St. John’s wort alone or alongside black cohosh may reduce menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. 

One clinical trial found that St. John’s wort relieved psychological symptoms during menopause after study participants reported substantial improvements in psychosomatic and psychological symptoms. Climacteric complaints, such as sleep disturbances, mood changes, or loss of libido, were also found to be significantly reduced or disappear in most women during the trial. Another exciting finding is that sexual well-being improved after participants took St. John’s wort extract.  

3. Supports Headache and Tension Relief

St. John’s wort is traditionally used to support emotional health and reduce agitation, anxiety, tension, and even headaches. 

A 2013 study tested St. John’s wort to see how it impacted migraines in animals with positive results. The study found that St. John’s wort extract created “prolonged relief from pain hypersensitivity” and reduced the duration of pain. Researchers also noted no behavioral or other side effects that impacted the animals’ locomotor activity after taking St. John’s wort.  

Another study found that St. John’s wort has therapeutic potential for treating and managing sleep deprivation and resulting anxiety-like behavior (we’ve all had that awful, anxious day after a bad night’s sleep). 

Interested? We recommend our Sweet Dreams Are Made of Z’s Capsules as a melatonin-free sleep support containing valerian, St. John’s wort, passion flower, and other deep-sleep-promoting herbs.

4. May Be Effective in Treating Wounds, Bruises, & Sore Muscles

Traditionally, St. John’s wort has been used to treat migratory and shooting pains and nerve injuries, such as rheumatic pain, sciatica, and neuralgia. It may even encourage the healing of nerve damage! 

Recent studies have found it effective in treating pressure sore wounds in ICU patients. In addition, St. John’s wort may fight inflammation and has antibacterial properties. When applied topically, it may decrease symptoms of skin irritation and minor wounds. 

Our Favorite St. John’s Wort Remedies

With so many amazing purported benefits, you may be interested in trying St. John’s wort! 

Here are some favorite ways to add it to our daily regimen: 

  • St. John’s Wort Capsules: For a quick and easy way to add St. John’s wort into your day, try these 100% natural and vegan capsules — a pure dose of St. John’s wort to support your emotional health, nerves, tension levels, and more. 
  • Joyful Muscle Tea: Feeling stiff or tense? This tea may help soothe pain and inflammation with white willow while promoting healthier nerve tissue and mood with St. John’s wort and oat straw. 
  • St. John’s Wort Extract: This extract is easy to use! Simply add 30 drops to a small glass of water several times a day or as your doctor directs. Perfect for promoting lessened anxiety, depression, agitation, headaches, and shooting pains from the nerves. 
  • Stress Tea: Getting ready for a busy work day? If you wake up feeling tense, our Stress Tea is a marvelous choice to soothe the mind and body. St. John’s wort, lemon balm, skullcap, rosehips, and other supportive herbs come together to help you feel more relaxed but energized so you can tackle your day with confidence. 
  • Eaz Stress Capsules: Struggling with your stress levels? Try our Eaz Stress Capsules, which combine St. John’s wort and spirulina, which support and supplement B-12 levels in the body, helping you to manage stress more effectively. 

For skin reactions, tension, or bruises, try our Muscle Balm, which contains olive oil, beeswax, St. John’s wort, calendula, vibrational essences, and more to ease pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms. It may also help your body release toxins built up in the muscles. 


We hope this article inspires you to look into St. John’s wort — an herb with so many unique benefits and a lot of promising research! 

Well Wishes, 

Herbalist Natalie & Herbalist Leilah

Natalie Hajdu-Voakes is a consulting Herbalist with over 27 years of hands-on experience and the owner of The Herb Stop. 
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