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Hypericum perforatum is a flowering herb commonly known as St. John’s Wort. Other names for this plant can indicate its usage and characteristics. You will find it under different names such as goat weed, Tipton’s weed, and rosin rose.
The name St. John’s wort is derived from the Greek words hyper – above and eikon – picture.
Plant description, history and characteristics
People used to hang this plant in the house, especially over the religious icons to ward off evil spirits.
It is believed that the flower bloomed for the first time around June 24, which is the birthday of St. John the Baptist. The word “wort” is an Old English word for plant.
You will recognize this plant by its yellow flowers and its yellow-green leaves that sometimes have transparent or black dots throughout the tissue.
This perennial plant has a well-known reputation as a medicine that treats depression.
Characteristics of St. John’s wort
Although not all of the researches are conducted carefully and patiently, it is confirmed that St. John’s wort has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Due to the compounds known as hyperforin and hypericin, this plant shows antidepressant and antioxidant activities.
What makes this herb unforgettable is a long tradition of usage as painkiller and sedative.
Most of the peoples’ first thought when mentioning this herb is surely anti-depressant activity, anxiety, and mental disorders, but there are more secrets hidden when it comes to this plant’s health benefits.
Not many people are familiar with the fact that St. John’s wort was, and still is, used for the treatment of burns and bruises, breathing problems, alcoholism, hemorrhoids, bed-wetting in children, and kidney and lung problems.
Some studies indicate that this specie is beneficial for treating sinus infection, sore throats, psoriasis, and arthritis.
Forms of St. John’s wort
Like almost every other herbal remedy, St. John’s wort can be found in capsules, extracts, tablets, tincture, oils, tea, creams and dried.
The only suggestion when purchasing extracts is to look for the one made from dried flowers that have at least 0.3 percentage of hypericin.
Treatments with St. John’s Wort
Different skin problems are usually treated with the oil of St. John’s wort. This oil was used for a long time to ease the pain and disinfect wounded areas of the body.
Due to its anti-inflammatory activities, this oil is effective for treating burns and cuts.
Some used it to treat hemorrhoids. The oil is very beneficial to treat skin irritations because of the element called tannin.
Alternative practitioners show that St. John’s wort is lucrative for ear infection – otitis media. In combination with garlic and calendula, it can ease the pain as good as conventional eardrops.
Bruises and wounds
Another significant usage of balm, poultice or the oil of St. John’s wort is to heal wounds, bruises, insect bites, and boils.
Given the fact that St. John’s wort has analgesic and antibacterial properties, dried leaves and flowers can help regain healthy skin.
The oil is made easily if you fry ½ cup of dried flowers and leaves in 2 tablespoons of mustard oil. When the mixture is cooled down, add 1/3 cup of olive oil and apply it 3-4 times on a wound every day.
Alcoholism and hangovers
Although not scientifically confirmed in detail, it is believed that tea made from St. John’s wort can help treat hangovers and alcoholism.
It is easy to make tea from dried flowers and leaves, add one tablespoon of a dried plant to boiling water and leave it to simmer for 5 minutes. After that, you can add honey for sweetness. To combat alcoholism, drink one cup of tea after breakfast and dinner every day for 4 weeks. For a hangover, drink the tea two times during the day.
Menopause and premenstrual syndrome
Some preliminary researches show that supplementation with St. John’s wort can reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome by approximately 50 percent.
Another research shows that symptoms of menopause can also be reduced when St. John’s wort is taken with another supplement, for instance, black cohosh.
This is an illness where St. John’s wort has the most extended usage and different results. The utility of this herb in the treatment of mild to moderate depression, mood swings, and anxiety is on the same level of productivity and efficiency as the effects that tricyclic antidepressants produce in short-term treatments.
In particular, Hyperforin and hypericin can raise the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are important because they modulate brain signals between cells. In other words, they carry a message from nerve cells to other cells. Once the message is delivered, they are inactive.
These important substances can make the neurotransmitters available for the body to use. Hypericin is also capable of inhibiting a chemical monoamine oxidase, which is related to depression and anxiety.
The most common side effects are tiredness, restlessness, dizziness, mild stomach upset, and allergic skin reaction.
It is recommended to consult your doctor before taking it, particularly if you are taking any other medications.
It is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women and organ transplant recipients. All those who are treated with depression, schizophrenia or similar illness should avoid before consulting with a doctor.
Some people may be allergic to this herb, so it is crucial to contact your doctor if any of the signs of unwanted allergic reaction show during the treatment.
Linde K., Mulrow C.D., Berner M., Egger M. (2005), St John’s Wort for depression, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 2.
Linde K. (1996), British Medical Journal; 313: 253-258.
Reutera, J.; Huykea C., Scheuvensa H., Plochc M., Neumannd K., Jakobb T., Schemppa C. M. (2008). Skin tolerance of a new bath oil containing St. John’s wort extract, Skin pharmacology and physiology 21 (6): 306–311.
Image credit: DepositPhotos.com
Last article update: 10/8/2019