St. John’s wort as a mood enhancer: be careful when combining with sun

Natural mood enhancer St. John’s wort: Be careful in the sun
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay, Silviarita

St. John’s wort is considered to be mood-enhancing and psychologically balancing. It is available in capsule form in drugstores and pharmacies without a prescription. One point is important: anyone taking St. John’s wort should pay attention to skin protection, especially in the sunny season.

Many people rely on over-the-counter, herbal remedies for mental balance. These include preparations containing the active ingredient St. John’s wort. However, caution is advised when using these in combination with sun.

St. John’s wort makes skin more sensitive to light

“Anyone who takes St. John’s wort to improve their mood needs to be careful when they go out in the sun, because this can cause photodamage to the skin. You can then quickly get sunburn or red spots,” explains Dr. Gernot Langs, Medical Director of the Schön Klinik Bad Bramstedt.

The reason for this is that St. John’s wort increases the skin’s sensitivity to light, and when combined with sunlight, it can cause so-called phototoxic reactions with itching, pain or burning. “That’s why you should always wear a high level of sun protection,” advises Langs.

St. John’s wort as a natural mood enhancer

St. John’s wort works primarily through ingredients such as hypericin – the phototoxic substance here – and hyperforin and influences neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, which regulate mood and emotions. It is therefore considered a natural antidepressant and is also said to help with anxiety and sleep disorders. Since St. John’s wort can interact with other medications, you should discuss its use with a doctor beforehand.

St. John's wort has long been considered a natural antidepressant
St. John’s wort has long been considered a natural antidepressant

Caution is advised when taking antidepressants, blood thinners, cardiovascular and HIV medications, immunosuppressants and the contraceptive pill.

Be careful with St. John’s wort oil

Externally, St. John’s wort is used in the form of St. John’s wort oil as a natural healing oil for injured skin. Here, too, you should be careful when sunbathing – especially if you have fair skin or skin diseases.

Read more on Techzle\.com:

  • Sunscreen for children tested: All test winners 2022 to 2024
  • 5 sunscreen rules: How useful are they?
  • St. John’s wort and its effects – what you should know

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