St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Other common names: Demon chaser, klamath weed, amber, chase-devil, goatweed, rosin rose, tipton’s weed

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Family: Hypericaceae

Actions:

Expectorant, nervine, anti-depressant, astringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, diuretic. Specific for the herpes virus.

Harvest:

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Matt Lavin

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Matt Lavin

Flowers must be harvested and processed fresh in order to extract the hypericin. Drying the plant causes a loss of its medicinal value. The flowers are usually ready in early summer.

Part used: Flowers

Constituents:

Flavonoids (including hypericin and pseudohypericin), hyperforin and other phloroglucinols, phenolic compounds, terpenoid, naphthodianthrones, carotenoidscholinenicotinamidenicotinic acid, volatile oils, tannins, alkanols, fatty acids, vitamins and others.

Indications:

Depression, anxiety, herpes, post-herpetic neuralgia, shingles, general neuralgia, ear aches, burns, excess phlegm, fluid/urinary retention, indigestion/heartburn, cuts/scrapes, skin conditions.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Medicinal preparations:

Internal

While some manufacturers make teas, capsules and other internal products from dried St. John’s wort, this is significantly inferior to products which are taken from the fresh plant. Look into your product of choice to find out how it was processed. Fresh tinctures and extracts are much more potent and effective.

External

The infused oil of St. John’s wort is fantastic when used topically – especially for herpes, skin conditions, and nerve pain.

Contraindications:

Do not take if pregnant or nursing, and do not give to children under 18 without the advice of a doctor. St. John’s wort interacts with several medications, especially anti-depressants and other psychiatric drugs, birth control pills, recreational drugs, cyclosporine, HIV/AIDS medications, some over-the-counter cold medications and many others. Do not take this herb with any medication or supplement (prescription or otherwise) without consulting with a qualified healthcare practitioner. Some photosensitivity may occur, so do not take St. John’s wort with medications that increase that effect. Talk to a doctor before use if you suffer from schizophrenia or other mental health conditions.

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Many who harvest St. John’s wort report losing track of time – dramatically so. They may be out in the field for what feels like an hour when really an entire morning has gone by. It has also been said that a patch of St. John’s wort may seem to replenish itself as its being harvested. It was not uncommon for a harvester to feel they were slipping between realms during their time in the field, and once they are finished cutting the flowers, they felt as though they had returned to their own space and time.

This plant is associated with the sun, joviality, and a return to joy. It was once used to repel evil and keep negative beings or energies away from a space.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

 

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