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St. John's wort: mood enhancer against autumn and winter blues

The dark season affects many people's moods. So-called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) manifests itself in a lack of desire and energy, tiredness, mood swings and depressive moods. The lack of light that occurs in autumn and winter is considered to be the main cause of low mood. Less light means increased production of the sleep hormone melatonin. This causes us to feel listless and listless. Our body also uses serotonin to produce melatonin. A deficiency of the happiness hormone leads to low mood and depression.

St John's wort: phytopharmaceuticals with an antidepressant effect

If you want to counteract your low mood, you should get plenty of exercise in the fresh air to fill up on oxygen and daylight. Another proven remedy is the use of St John's wort. It is considered to be the best-studied phytopharmaceutical (= herbal medicine) and is used particularly frequently for depressive moods. The ingredient hyperforin acts like classic antidepressants - but without the side effects. For example, the substance changes the concentration of the neutrotransmitters noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine in the brain and leads to changes in receptor structures. However, hyperforin also works in a way that differs from classic antidepressants. The latest research results show that St John's wort inhibits the neuronal uptake of the neurotransmitter GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) and L-glutamate, for example, and thus also has a mood-enhancing effect.

In addition, studies suggest that St John's wort also improves learning and memory performance.

What needs to be considered when taking St John's wort

In order to benefit from the positive effect on the psyche, St John's wort must be taken over several weeks. It is also important that a hyperforin-rich St John's wort extract is used and that the product has a sufficiently high dosage (as in our St John's wort capsules). The use of capsules is recommended here, as the active ingredients are present in too low a dose when taken in the form of tea, for example. It should also be noted that St John's wort interacts with other medications (e.g. blood thinners or lipid-lowering drugs) and also reduces the effect of hormonal contraceptives (e.g. contraceptive pills). If you are taking medication, St John's wort should therefore only be used after consulting a doctor. Anyone who exposes themselves to the sun while taking St John's wort should also be aware that the skin's sensitivity to light is increased and should protect themselves accordingly.


Phytopharmaceuticals: How St John's wort works. DAZ 2001;9:42