St Johns wort, also known as Tipton’s Weed or Klamath weed, is found in various subtropical regions around the globe. it’s medicinal properties were originally applied in ancient Greece.
St Johns Wort Scientific Name
Known as Hypericum perforatum, it belongs to the family Clusiaceae, and boasts around 370 species.
St Johns Wort Description
Hypericum perforatum is a perennial herb marked by its yellow flowers. Although it was originally indigenous to Europe, it was eventually introduced to many different areas, growing wild in meadows all over. Traditionally, these flowers were harvested on St John’s day, 24 June – and hung over religious icons to ward off evil – hence the name St John’s Wort.
Small oil glands in the leaves have the appearance of windows – especially when held up against the light.
The plant acts as an invasive weed, and replaces useful vegetation on productive land. As such, it is listed as a noxious weed in more than 20 countries. If ingested by livestock, it can cause any of a number of reactions, including spontaneous abortion, photosensitization, and it can even be lethal.
Typical St Johns Wort Preparations
The flowers can be used to make tea – by simply adding one to two cups of flowers to one cup of boiling water. It should be left to simmer for a while, after which it can be strained and consumed. A typical St John’s wort dosage would be three cups per day.
In tablet form, the extract can be taken up to three times per day along with, or close to meal times.
To use it for pain relief, simply add two tablespoons of the herb to a cup of boiling water – and let it stand to cool down completely before applying it to the affected area.
To make a tincture, you will need a pint jar with its lid, enough of the whole herb (or wort tops), either fresh or dry, to fill it, and enough Vodka (100 proof) to cover it – usually around 8 oz.
Stuff the jar with the herb, and cover it with Vodka. Make sure the lid is tight, and shake it well. Repeat the shaking daily for two weeks. After two weeks, strain the liquid from the mixture.
Common Uses of St Johns Wort
Although the benefits of St Johns wort are usually applied to treat depression, there are also a number of other relatively common uses:
- Soothing burnsand sun-burnt skin.
- Treating minor wounds – as disinfectant.
- It is used as an aid to recovery – especially after surgery.
- It can be used to relieve painful symptoms associated with gall bladder problems.
- It can be rubbed into the skin to address varicose veins and stretch marks.
- Its anti-inflammatory properties allow it to be used for treating strains and sprains.
- It can be used for relief of pelvic cramps and pains.
St Johns wort side effects can vary from one individual to the next, so it is best to start using it with care – and lower dosages.
Since it can cause photo-sensitivity (increased sensitivity to bright light), it is best to avoid excessive exposure to bright light, including sunlight and ultra-violet light (such as tanning booths).
It is not to be taken along with other anti-depressants.
Amino acid supplements should be avoided – since its combination with the herb can be dangerous.
Various medications (as well as alcohol) can cause complications is used in conjunction with the herb. Consult with your physician for more detailed information.
People suffering from high blood pressure should have it monitored regularly while taking the herb.
Lastly, keep in mind that depression can be life threatening. As such, depression sufferers using the herb as the only treatment should be closely monitored.