St Johns Wort - Hypericum perforatum
- Created: 20 August 2014
Common Name - St. John's Wort
Botanical Name - Hypericum Perforatum
Other Names - Johnswort, Amber, Touch-and-heal, Goat weed, Hardhay, Klamath Weed, Rosin Rose, Hypericum, Tipton weed, St. John's Wort
Parts Used - Tops and flowers
Ancient Greeks believed that the fragrance of St. John's Wort would cause the evil spirits to fly away. The plant was given magical powers. In ancient Greece, the herb was used to treat many ailments, including sciatica and poisonous reptile bites. In Europe it was used for the topical treatment of wounds and burns. It is also a folk remedy for kidney and lung ailments as well as depression.
It is an erect perennial herb that grows up to 32 inches tall and has a somewhat woody base. Commonly found in dry, gravely soils, fields and sunny places in many parts of the world, including eastern North America and the Pacific coast. A woody branched root produces many round stems which put out runners from the base. The opposite, oblong to linear leaves are covered with transparent oil glands that look like holes. Flat topped cymes of yellow flowers, whose petals are dotted with black along the margins, appear from June to September. The fruit is a three celled capsule containing small, dark brown seeds. The whole plant has turpentine-like odour.
To know if the plant is the medicinal one, old the leaves up to the light and see the perforated leaves.
St. John's Wort has a complex and diverse chemical make-up. Hypericin and pseudohypericin are believed to have antidepressive and antiviral properties. Other constituents, such as xanthones and flavonoids, may also contribute to the medicinal actions of St. John's Wort. The following are the active constituents: Essential oil, containing caryophyllene, methyl-2-octane, n-nonane, n-octanal, n-decanal, a- and b-pinene, and traces of limonene and myrcene Hypericins, prenylated phloroglucin derivatives; hypericin, pseudohypericin and hyperforin flavonoids, () and (-) - epicatechin.
Anxiety ,Depression, Inflammation of the skin ,Blunt Injuries ,Wounds and Burns , Recurrent Ear infection ,Vitiligo.
St Johns wort is know to have 10 different constituents that have antidepressant activity. Most studies concentrate on hypericin and pseudohypericin, though there are a number of other constituents including super antioxidants such as xanthones, proanthocyanidins, carotenoids, bioflavonoids and flavonoids which are also biologically active at promoting wellbeing.
Studies are showing it to be affective in a number of neurotransmitters related to stress, happiness and feel good sensations. There is good evidence that it is more effective than placebo, especially in more less severe and even long term depression.
Used in depression and anxiety, irritability and emotional stress. Indicated in menopausal symptoms, premenstrual syndrome, herpes simplex, hepatitis, shingles, viral infections, enveloped viruses, neuralgia, sciatica, trigeminal neuralgia and insomnia. Auto-immune diseases.
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Tincture: 1:10 (45%) 2-4 ml tds
Fluid Ext. (25%) 2-4 ml tds
Contraindicated in pregnancy or lactation.
Hypericum should not be combined with a MAO inhibitor antidepressant This combination can produce hypertensive crisis, along with severe anxiety, fever, muscle tension, and confusion. After stopping a MAO inhibitor, one should wait at least four weeks before taking other antidepressants, including Hypericum.