St. John's wort oil


St. John's wort oil is also known as "arnica of the nerves" because of its effect. Other popular names are "Lebenssaft", "Elfenblut", "Johannisblut" or "Herrgottsblut". On the one hand, these names were associated because of the red color of St. John's wort oil. On the other hand, the names came about because of the observed effect. St. John's wort oil was already used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to calm the nerves. This means that the plant extract of St. John's wort has been and is used for restlessness, low moods and many other complaints for centuries. In the meantime, however, it turned out that the use was probably often used in too low a dosage to achieve an effect. In addition, the mechanisms of action, side effects, contraindications, interactions, possibilities and limits of St. John's wort oil are now known more precisely. The medical use of St. John's wort oil is controversial.

Indications for the use of St. John's wort oil

St. John's wort oil is used for nervous restlessness, general nervousness, stress, sleep disorders, bedwetting and so-called psycho-vegetative Disruptions. In some cases, it also appears to be effective for mild to moderate depression. In addition, some menopausal women reported positive effects on mood. It is also used to some extent for muscle pain and restricted menstruation. In addition, according to some authors, a so-called Neurasthenia, neuralgia, sciatica and Trigeminal neuralgia, vegetative dystonias be helpful in some ways. In addition, it is often used by some authors

  • A headache,
  • Migraine,
  • Disc damage,
  • Back pain,
  • Lumbago,
  • Concussion,
  • Nerve inflammation and nerve injuries,
  • Bruises, wounds, first degree burns, chilblains, and bruises

recommended in addition to other measures. St. John's wort oil is also sometimes used in combination therapy for rheumatic diseases and gout. Further indications, usually in connection with other therapeutic measures, can be biliary disorders, liver disorders, nervous gastrointestinal complaints, stomach cramps, diarrhea and colic. St. John's wort oil can have a soothing effect on these and other complaints and diseases. Before using St. John's wort oil, medical advice should take place due to side effects, interactions, contraindications and misuse.

St. John's wort oil for acne

According to experience reports, St. John's wort oil can also have a healing effect on some skin problems. Especially with dry skin, as well as pimples and blackheads, the application can be supportive to improve the complexion. It can also reduce the risk of scarring.

Use against scarring

St. John's wort oil can also have a prophylactic effect against scarring and the formation of so-called "wild meat". It is therefore also recommended in some cases for targeted scar treatment after an operation. When used correctly, observing the principles of scar treatment and careful handling of direct sunlight, St. John's Wort Oil can effectively minimize scarring.

Use against neurodermatitis

In some phases of neurodermatitis, St. John's wort oil can also support the healing process.

As a rule, neurodermatitis is divided into 4 levels. Treatment is based on this classification.

In the first stage of treatment, prophylaxis (before an attack) is in the foreground. Most of the time, the skin is typically very dry during this phase. St. John's wort oil can counteract this.

In the other 3 stages of atopic dermatitis, weeping eczema is often typical, especially in acute attacks. St. John's wort oil is usually less indicated here.

In addition, it should be noted how severe and in what form the neurodermatitis is pronounced. There are St. John's wort oil preparations that specialize in skin care for atopic dermatitis. Often times the active ingredient was here Hypericin filtered out, as this further increases the sensitivity to light.

The aim is that St. John's wort oil counteracts dry, flaky skin and thus reduces itching. The oil may therefore be able to provide relief. However, the application should definitely be discussed with a dermatologist.

Use for nerve pain

Under certain conditions, the use of St. John's wort oil can be indicated for nerve pain. Tense muscles can constrict nerves that are nearby. This can irritate the nerves. As a result, it can create a kind of nerve pain. If the nerve pain is due to muscle tension, a massage with the oil can reduce the pain. The warming effect is often felt to be additionally beneficial and healing. Some oils are combined with lavender, which can have a further relaxing and pain-relieving effect.

If it is nerve pain that originated in the cells of the nerves themselves, St. John's wort oil alone is likely less likely to relieve that pain. An example of such a type of nerve pain is the pain associated with shingles or a so-called Trigeminal neuralgia.

St. John's wort oil as a massage oil

St. John's wort oil can also be used as a massage oil. When using the oil as a massage oil, the basic rules of an effective massage should be followed. It is important to wash your hands thoroughly after the massage to avoid contact of the oil with the eyes. If intolerance or allergies occur, use should be discontinued. If you are unsure, a doctor should be consulted. Furthermore, the massaged skin area should not come into contact with sunlight after the massage.

Use during pregnancy

Internal use of St. John's wort oil should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to insufficient studies.

The external use of St. John's wort oil is sometimes recommended in certain pregnancy situations, and experience has shown that regular massaging of the perineal and vaginal area has a positive effect. It strengthens the skin and makes the tissue more supple. This can prevent a perineal tear in some cases. If the doctor does have to do a perineal incision, in some cases, regular use of St. John's wort oil leads to faster wound healing.

The active ingredient in St. John's wort

At the time of the Romans and ancient Greeks, it was assumed that St. John's wort developed its effect due to the yellow color of the petals. It was believed that God captured the sun in the plant.If you now bring this trapped sun to people, this depression and other diseases can be cured.

In the meantime, St. John's wort oil has been further investigated for its effects in various studies. Everything has not yet been fully clarified, but approaches to the mechanisms of action have been uncovered. St. John's wort oil contains various active ingredients. These ingredients work together to create various desirable and undesirable effects in the body. The active substance Hypericin is, among other things, responsible for the skin's sensitivity to light. Hyperforin found predominantly in the pistils of the plant. It acts as a so-called selective reuptake inhibitor for certain messenger substances. The corresponding messenger substances thus remain in the so-called synaptic cleft. This means that the concentration and thus the effect of these messenger substances are maintained longer. This applies to messenger substances such as

  • Serotonin,
  • Dopamine,
  • GABA
  • and glutamate.

They play a role in mood, as well as in depression and possibly pain. In addition to its possible antidepressant function, hyperforin has a possible skin-care and anti-inflammatory effect.

The so-called Flavonoids are secondary plant substances in St. John's wort. They have an anti-inflammatory effect on and for the plant itself and occur in high concentrations in St. John's wort. It is possible that this effect can also be partially used in humans to a certain extent.

In addition, St. John's wort oil contains essential oils, bitter and tannins. According to some authors, the tannins in particular contribute to faster wound healing. It is believed that they compact the tissue surface. As a result, bacteria and viruses are probably more difficult to penetrate into the wound, which in turn promotes wound healing.

It is also believed that the bitter substances have an effect on the regulation of digestion.

The main substance of St. John's wort oil is hypericin. The amount is determined according to this active ingredient. This means that it can only be estimated how much hyperforin is in the preparation. This must be taken into account if you want to effectively treat mild to moderate depression with St. John's wort.

How is St. John's wort oil used?

St. John's wort oil can be used internally and externally.

Internal use is usually oral, using 1 - 2 tablespoons of St. John's wort oil or 20 drops up to 3 times a day or in the form of capsules. Since everyone reacts to it individually, an individual application should be discussed with the attending physician.

St. John's wort oil can be used externally for massages or in aromatherapy. When using the oil on sore skin, injuries and burns, it should be rubbed in gently. Instead of rubbing in, some also prefer an oil bandage. This is particularly preferred for sprains, minor burns or muscle pain. It is also recommended in some cases for rheumatism. For this, 40 - 50 drops of the oil are applied and a bandage is wrapped around. It is recommended to wear it for 8-10 hours if it is well tolerated. This treatment can theoretically be repeated up to 3 times per day.

If St. John's wort oil is to be used as a relaxing full bath, you should choose a dosage of around 50 ml.

For hair care, the oil can be added drop by drop. In the event of incompatibilities or uncertainties, a doctor should always be consulted immediately.

St. John's wort extract in capsule form

St. John's wort oil can be administered in various forms.

In some cases, St. John's wort oil is recommended as a dry extract in capsules. For example, if St. John's wort oil is taken due to depressed or depressed mood, nervous stress or emotional strain, the dosage form of the capsule is often recommended. Here the active ingredients are packed in concentrated form in various strengths. This is advantageous if an exact dosage is to be aimed for.

High-dose capsules require a prescription. Medium- or low-dose capsules can be bought over the counter in drugstores or pharmacies. The prescription requirement for high-dose St. John's wort oil capsules is intended to prevent self-medication and incorrect medication in people with, for example, severe depressive moods. In order to enable an efficient healing process, individual advice from a trusted doctor is essential. If necessary, an appropriate combination of drug and non-drug treatment is advisable.

What side effects do you have to expect?

One of the most important side effects is the increased sensitivity to sunlight. This particularly applies to fair-skinned people. The skin can be reddened or even burned. People who speak of a light allergy should be asked whether they use St. John's wort oil preparations. Many people are not aware of this side effect. Sensitivity to light and thus avoidance of light can have a strong impact on everyday life, well-being and mood. This side effect can lead to severe depression.

Gastrointestinal complaints such as bloating or constipation can also occur.

Less often there are allergic reactions due to Phospholipids made from soybeans.

The so-called "Ponceau 4R"can trigger hypersensitivity.

Fatigue or inner restlessness can also occur.

In aromatherapy, St. John's wort oil can cause headaches in some people.

There may be other side effects that can be triggered by other ingredients in the preparations. In addition, some side effects may be unknown as they are not associated with St. John's wort oil.

St. John's wort oil and sunlight

The active substance Hypericin is known to cause sensitivity to sunlight. This can lead to slight redness or severe burns and is one of the most important side effects. Some preparations do not contain hypericin. As a result, the sun tolerance is better.

St. John's wort oil and alcohol - are they compatible?

There are no known general interactions with alcohol. There are authors who have reported a positive effect of St. John's wort oil on an addiction problem with alcohol in rats and in humans. This is a controversial issue.

Which drugs can interact with?

St. John's wort oil reduces the effects of various drugs. In particular the active ingredient Hypericin provides a so-called Enzyme induction of Cytochrome P450-3A4. This means that it lowers the plasma level of substances and drugs that are also metabolized via the said enzyme. This reduces the effect of the other drugs. This can have fatal consequences. For example, it affects drugs such as Midazolam (a benzodiazepine), birth control pills, or Cyclosporine A (an immunosuppressant). Cyclosporine A plays an important role in organ transplants. It is used so that the foreign transplants are not rejected. The active ingredients of St. John's wort oil could accelerate the breakdown of cyclosporine A. This means that the drug may not be able to fulfill its function. In this case, there would be a risk of transplant rejection due to St. John's wort oil.

In addition, St. John's wort oil can contain anticoagulants, so-called Anticoagulants, interact. This affects the active ingredients Phenprocoumon, Warfarin and Ticlopidine.

In addition, a combined treatment with St. John's wort oil can reduce the effect of the active ingredient Theophylline reduce in certain asthma preparations.

Even when taking certain heart medication, so-called Glycosides, it is important to avoid St. John's wort oil.

In addition, studies have shown that cancer and AIDS drugs lose almost 60% of their effectiveness when taken at the same time as St. John's wort oil. This affected drugs like Indinavir, imatinib, irinotecan and Nebirapine.

Furthermore, caution is advised when taking other antidepressants at the same time. There is a risk of developing a so-called "serotonin syndrome". This can go hand in hand with

  • Drop in blood pressure,
  • Sweat,
  • Restlessness,
  • Tremble
  • up to a coma.

In some cases, serotonin syndrome can be fatal.

You can also use certain drugs like insulin and Gliclazidethat under a Diabetes mellitus be taken, interact with St. John's wort oil.

It also has effects on so-called blood lipid lowering drugs.

It could also be that the oil is an occasional intake of aspirin for headaches or a gastro-protective drug such as Omeprazole remain ineffective. For these reasons, it is very important to tell the doctor if St. John's wort oil and other medications are being used.

Contraindications to St. John's Wort Oil

St. John's wort oil preparations are contraindicated in severe depression. St. John's wort oil capsules should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If a transplant is imminent, it should not be taken beforehand.

It is contraindicated in combination with drugs with which it interacts.

In the case of intolerance and allergies to the St. John's wort oil itself or to other ingredients of the preparations, these must be avoided.

Interactions when taking the pill

The reduced effectiveness of the contraceptive pill up to and including the loss of contraceptive protection when taking St. John's wort oil is a sensitive issue among experts. From a biochemical point of view, it is a fact that St. John's wort oil preparations have an effect on the breakdown of the contraceptive pill due to its influence on a specific enzyme. According to this, the hormones from birth control pills, which are supposed to inhibit ovulation, cannot stay in the bloodstream long enough to take effect. The contraceptive protection would therefore be at risk. The effect of St. John's wort oil on the birth control pill can be recognized in some cases by an irregular cycle or intermenstrual bleeding. Some authors report unwanted pregnancies and the above-mentioned side effects in this context. Other authors deny the risk of an unwanted pregnancy in this context. They assume that the effect of St. John's wort oil on the contraceptive pill is not sufficient to effectively compromise contraceptive protection.

Furthermore, it remains questionable whether St. John's wort oil preparations have an influence on other contraceptives, such as the so-called Nuva-Ring. In order to avoid unwanted pregnancies and other side effects, the use of St. John's wort oil preparations should be discussed with the attending physician.

Use in babies and children

The internal use of St. John's wort oil should be avoided in babies and children. Only in certain cases and under medical supervision can it be indicated for children from the age of 6. In addition, the external treatment of St. John's wort oil in babies should be handled very carefully.

Which dosage is chosen for different indications?

Depending on the area of ​​application and form of use, a certain dosage is advisable. The dose at which St. John's wort oil has an effect is controversial. Some studies have shown that higher-dose supplements are more effective. Some authors assume that an antidepressant effect would only be possible at 900 mg. In addition, other authors reported homeopathic effects with low-dose St. John's wort oil preparations.

The amount and the associated areas of application of the dosage can be divided into four categories.

As a rule, a high daily dose (1000-2000 mg) of a St. John's wort oil extract is recommended for mild to moderate depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. St. John's wort oil can also be soothing in this dose for migraines or headaches. The high-dose St. John's wort oil is only available on prescription. Treatment should be discussed with a doctor. As a rule, with this dosage, the first improvements should appear in about 1.5 to 3 weeks. If this is not the case, a doctor should be consulted.

900 mg of St. John's wort oil preparations daily are used, for example, in milder depression, milder anxiety, nervousness, in the so-called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and menopausal symptoms recommended.

Some authors completely reject treatment with St. John's wort oil in children. Other authors recommend it in children. However, a certain dosage, certain indications and guidance from a medical professional are required. For example, in some cases a dose of 600 mg per day is recommended for children. Here nervousness, anxiety disorders and sleep disorders are in the foreground of the treatment.

A very low dose of 300 mg is also sometimes given to children. Some authors recommend this especially for children who are depressed. Any use of St. John's wort oil should be consulted with a doctor beforehand.

What alternatives are there to St. John's wort oil?

Depending on what the St. John's wort oil is supposed to help against, there are various alternative options.

In the case of burns and skin problems, alternatively - if tolerated - Aloe vera be used.

Relaxation techniques and breathing exercises can help if you are nervous and have sleep disorders.

For nerve pain that has arisen due to muscle tension, massage oils with other active ingredients such as arnica help.

Depending on the severity and the type of symptoms, home remedies, homeopathic, therapeutic and various (school) medical options are available.

Can you make St. John's wort oil yourself?

You can make St. John's wort oil yourself. Usually the so-called "St. John's wort" is used for this. You use the upper third of the flowering herb, olive or wheat germ oil and a jar with a lid. The flowers and leaves are removed from the stem and placed in the jar. You add so much oil that all parts of the plant are covered with oil. After that, the closed jar should be kept in a warm, at best sunny place for about 6 weeks. In between, it should be shaken if possible. After this time, the oil should be poured off. The flowers should be squeezed out well. Some authors also advise adding fresh flowers over and over again. This should be repeated several times. Finally, the pods and seeds should be crumbled. This gives the oil its blood-red color. At best, it should then be kept in a dark pharmacist's bottle in a dark place at room temperature out of the reach of children.