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St. John’s Wort is a shrub-like herb with bright yellow flowers. The parts of the flower used to make herbal remedies from the flowering tops. It’s named after John the Baptist because it blooms around the time of his birthday, June 24th, and “wort” is an Old English word for plant. It grows mainly in Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. The colonists later brought it over to the U.S. where it now grows too. You can often find St. John’s Wort over the counter as a capsule, tablet, liquid extract and as a tea. (via American Cancer Society)

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st. john's wort

It can also be prescribed by a doctor. In most cases it’s used as an antidepressant. The two main active ingredients in St. John’s Wort are hypericin and hyperforin. They act on chemical neurotransmitters that message the nervous system to regulate your mood. It is also used to treat anxiety, tiredness, loss of appetite, insomnia, heart palpitations, symptoms of menopause, infections and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Other uses are for bug bites, burns and bruises. If applied directly to your skin though, doctors have found that some people experience extreme sensitivity to light in the places they’ve applied St. John’s Wort. (via U.S. National Library of Medicine)

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