St. John’s Wort – (Hypericum Perforatum) St. John’s Wort is often used as a medicinal herb to treat depression, anxiety, and tension. It is also useful in treating bruises, varicose veins, and sunburn. St. John’s Wort is sometimes used to sooth ear infections and to treat skin pigmentation diseases. The herb is known to help repair and restore the nervous system.
St. John’s Wort has a complex chemical makeup. It contains compounds that mildly inhibit the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO). MAO is responsible for the breakdown of brain chemicals including serotonin, the feel-good chemical. By inhibiting MAO, St. John’s Wort helps control depression.
When using St. John’s Wort for depression or anxiety disorders, it may take up to six weeks before significant improvement is noticed. Always take St. John’s Wort close to meal time and avoid taking it with red wine, cheese, yeast breads, or pickled herring.
St. John’s Wort is an excellent treatment for anxiety caused by menopause. The herb is known to help mood swings and can lift the spirits. St. John’s Wort is also good for chronic conditions where nervous exhaustion is a factor.
Taken internally, St. John’s Wort delivers a sedative and pain reducing effect. When used in lotion form and applied externally, St. John’s Wort can help a range of skin problems.
The plant’s leaves, stems, and flowers are used in teas, tinctures, powders, capsules, and tablets for internal use. The same plant parts are made into oils, lotions, and creams for external applications. St. John’s Wort flower tops are often steeped in walnut oil for a few weeks and then used as a treatment for burns and inflamed skin. The oil will turn blood-red due to properties in the blossoms.
In ancient Greece, St. John’s Wort was believed to cure poisonous snake bites and was very popular for treating wounds and burns. St. John’s Wort was used as a folk remedy in cases of kidney and lung ailments for many centuries. St. John’s Wort was used by the American Indians to induce spontaneous abortion.
The herb was burned on St. John’s Day to protect people from goblins and devils. Its yellow flowers, which release a crimson juice when crushed, became a symbol of the blood of St. John.
Many countries consider the plant a nuisance due to its toxic properties. Ingestion by livestock can cause photosensitization, central nervous system depression, spontaneous abortion, and can lead to death. Some research shows that St John's Wort may have negative effects on fertility in both men and women.
St. John’s Wort is a weedy looking plant. It grows wild in Europe and the U.S. It is especially abundant in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Harvest plants in the summer.*St. John’s Wort may cause sun sensitivity. This herb may cause contact dermatitis in some individuals. St. John’s Wort is toxic in large doses. Avoid St. John’s Wort when taking other anti-depressant drugs. Never use St. John’s Wort during pregnancy. Always consult with a physician before using any herbal remedy.
© 2010 - 2013 By Janice Boling - All Rights Reserved