St John's Wort | St Johns Wort Benefits | Hypericum Perforatum

St John's wort, St Johns wort

Hypericum perforatum Hypericaceae/Guttiferae


The scent if St John 5 wort was thought by the ancient Greeks to ward iff evil spirits. The plant grows wild throughout Europe, thriving in woods, hedgerows, roadsides and meadows. Its bright yellow flowers bloom from June to September. St John 5 wort has been used as a remedy for nervous disorders for more than 2000 years.


Parts used

  • Flowering tops
  • Flowers are gathered in summer and dried in bunches.
  • There are many similar-looking plants; St John's wort is distinguished by black spots on its flower petals and translucent spots on its leaves.
  • St John's wort is used in infusions, tinctures and as a liquid extract.

Constituents

The yellow flowers of St John's wort yield a deep red oil - the colour comes from hypericin, a red pigment thought to be responsible for the plant's medicinal effects. The plant also contains flavonoids and tannins.


Medicinal uses

Because of its wound-healing properties, St John's wort has traditionally been used to treat burns and skin irritations. However, it has also been shown to have a positive effect on less serious cases of depression and today is now widely prescribed in Europe as a mild antidepressant.


Recently, the plant's mood-lifting properties have attracted considerable attention, and extensive clinical trials have been carried out to enable this use to be officially recognised. The mechanism by which the plant exerts its antidepressant action, however, remains unclear.


In vitro studies conducted in 1984 suggested that hypericin acted in a similar way to monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants (more commonly known as MOAls). And German research published in 1998 documents the antidepressant activity of a substance in the plant, hyperforin, which appears to have a beneficial effect on serotonin activity in the brain.


St John's wort is also prescribed for depressive symptoms including nervous fatigue, negativity and sleeping difficulties.


Externally, St John's wort is recommended for minor burns and scalds and to ease neuralgia, sciatica and other painful inflammations.


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


TO TREAT nervous fatigue, sleeping difficulties
INFUSION Put 1 teaspoon of dried plant into 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse for 5 minutes and strain. Drink 2 cups a day at mealtimes.
LIQUID EXTRACT (1:1 in 25% alcohol) Take 2-4ml three times a day.


For external use


TO TREAT minor burns, skin irritations
CREAMS (containing hypericum) Apply as directed to the affected area.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation

St John's wort is a perennial weed.Once established, it is hard to get rid of. Plant seeds in a well-drained soil. in a sunny or lightly shaded location.


CAUTIONS

Avoid sunbathing as external use may cause photosensitivity and a consequent skin rash.


Taken internally, the plant may react with certain drugs including: oral contraceptives, theophylline, digoxin, certain antidepressants, and protease inhibitors used in HIV and AIDS therapy.


Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.



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