St. John’s Wort Skincare Benefits and Uses: Heal, Sooth & Firm Your Skin
St. John’s Wort is getting popular for helping damaged skin, as well as a natural antidepressant. Here’s why you should include it in your beauty routine.
In the world of mainstream medicine, some herbs are viewed as folklore, often dismissed as old wives’ tales backed by purely anecdotal evidence.
However, the herb we’re talking about today has broken that age-old barrier, catching the attention of even the most renowned physicians.
That herb? St. John’s Wort. Read on to discover just why it’s so widely accepted – and appreciated.
What Is St. John’s Wort?
Well-known throughout both the naturopathic and medical communities, St. John’s Wort possesses a laundry list of benefits with a surprisingly safe herbal makeup. While its uses are widespread, it’s most famous for its ability to treat mental and emotional ailments.
The St. John’s Wort plant originated in Europe where it grew wild as a woody shrub. It was named after St. John the Baptist as the flower bloomed around his birthday. In Old English “wort” means “plant.”
Today, it’s been successfully cultivated in other countries, including the United States, Russia and China. Fairly easy to care for, it’s a common favorite among backyard gardeners.
For medicinal use, its leaves are most often dried and used for its healing qualities while its yellow flowers are used to make St. John’s Wort oil and tea.
Benefits of St. John’s Wort
Many of the beneficial properties of St. John’s Wort are found in the plant’s leaves, which contain the following components:
As you can see from its constituents, St. John’s Wort plays a significant role in mood regulation. Both serotonin and dopamine are known for improving the mood and creating feelings of pleasure. Likewise, monoamine-oxides help the brain retain even more of these feel-good chemicals.
As for its other components, interleukins are an important part of the immune system, helping to fight off viruses and other invaders. Melatonin occurs naturally in the body and is necessary in maintaining a proper sleep cycle.
With all of these elements combined, it’s easy to see how St. John’s Wort can be such a potent mood booster. While it may not be an appropriate treatment for severe depression, a review of 29 research studies showed that it may work just as well as prescription antidepressants for mild to moderate depression.
This flower is also rich in flavonoids which are famous for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. That is what makes it so good at helping heal and repair the skin.
Use St. John’s Wort to Reduce Inflammation, Speed Healing & More
Prized for its various health benefits, St. John’s Wort is famous for its depression-reducing qualities. However, this multipurpose herb is so much more than a simple blues fighter.
St. John’s Wort influences many hormones, but it’s primarily known to help regulate common female hormones as well as stress hormones. It’s especially effective in decreasing levels of cortisol (aka the “stress” hormone). Hormones play a large rolling in what causes acne.
Antioxidants and interleukins in St. John’s Wort decrease inflammation, making it a practical option for those suffering with aches and pains as well as skin conditions that cause inflammation.
St. John’s Wort has been used to treat diabetic foot ulcers along with other lesions. It may also help decrease the appearance of scars when used topically.
Treats Skin Issues
When applied to the skin, St. John’s Wort treats burns and scrapes by boosting blood flow to the affected area. When in creams it help keep open wounds clean by killing microorganisms. It has also been known to help sooth sensitive skin.
This herb is also a potent antiviral. Some studies even indicate it may be useful in the fight against HIV and hepatitis.
Improves Skin Quality
Topical application of St. John’s Wort has shown to hydrate skin with it’s natural oils. Consistent application will firm up the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines.
How to Use St. John’s Wort for the Best Results
As with most herbs, the type and preparation of St. John’s Wort should be based on its desired usage.
It is most frequently used and prescribed in capsule form, although liquid forms are also available and even prized for how fast they take effect. When taken as a capsule for prolonged use, St. John’s Wort is typically used 3 times per day. It’s important to discuss taking St. John’s Wort with your doctor as it can impact the effectiveness of some prescriptions such as antidepressants, birth control pills and cancer medications.
For those who have access to its fresh flowers, tea is also a good choice. When used for skin conditions can apply the oil directly to the skin, or use it in a cleanser or cream.
We use it in our Tea Tree Cleanser for it’s ability to cleanse and soothe the skin. Learn more here:
If you plan on taking St. John’s Wort in any form, limit your sun exposure as it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. This isn’t to say you should never step outside again, but laying out for hours at a time probably wouldn’t be a good idea. Experts suggest wearing a sunscreen with a minimum 15 SPF.
From its mood-boosting ability to its healing advantage, St. John’s Wort benefits are far too numerous and powerful to be overlooked.
As a common herb, it’s easy to come by, but unfortunately, it’s just as easy to manipulate. With this in mind, consumers need to carefully consider their sources when shopping. Look for only the highest quality of St. John’s Wort in order to reap the greatest benefit for your mind and body.