|Saint John's Wort|
Saint John's Wort
Parts Usually Used
The entire plant is dried for use. Usually the fresh flowers are used, but dried flowers are also used.
A shrubby hairless, branched herbaceous perennial plant with a woody branched root produces many round stems which put out runners from the base. The Plant has a pale brown stem, top branches and oblong stalkless leaves that grow in pairs. On the perforated leaves are transparent spots (oil glands), that look like holes, but on the unperforated varieties are rust-colored spots and were believed by pious country folk to be the mark of the blood of St. John the Baptist. Also, the sap of the plant is reddish colored and represents the blood of St. John the Baptist. Flat topped cymes of yellow flowers, whose petals are dotted with black along the margins, appear from June to September. Each flower has five yellow petals with black dots on the margins and many yellow stamens. The fruit is a three celled capsule containing small, dark brown seeds. The whole plant has a turpentine-like odor. The flowers appear in late summer and are bright yellow. Plant grows 1-3 feet tall with delicate 0.6 to 1.2 inch bluish-green elliptical leaves. True St. John's Wort has three extraordinary features that help identify it and virtually rule out any possibility of mistaken identity: the stalk is two-edged, (extremely rare in the plant kingdom). Hold the leaves up to light and you can see the oil glands or transparent dots. The golden-yellow flowers turn dark red if rubbed between your fingers. There is no objection to collecting the seeds of plants growing in the wild.
Other varieties: Hypericum frodosum is a small deciduous shrub with similar flowers, also called St. John's Wort; the Chinese herb (Hypericum chinense), also called St. John's Wort, is used as an ornamental plant and should not be confused with (H. perforatum).
Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, restorative tonic for the nervous system, sedative This bitter tasting herb works on the central nervous system and has been a popular cure for neuritis. It was once given to patients recovering from surgery because of its painkilling properties. It is said to prevent hemorrhages. Antispasmodic, astringent, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, blood purifier, tranquilizer, sedative, nervine, vulnerary, aromatic, diuretic, stimulates digestion.
Folk remedy for bladder ailments, stab wounds, shingles, gout, furunculosis, skin ulcers, swellings, depression, or worms. The calming properties have been used quite successfully in treating bedwetting, insomnia, stress reactions, hysteria and other nervous conditions. An oil extract can be taken for stomachache, colic, intestinal problems, and as an expectorant for colds and/or congestion in the lungs. A tea made from the flowers is good for anemia, headache, insomnia, jaundice, chest congestion, and catarrh, neuralgia, and rheumatic aches and pains. Excellent for pus in the urine.
Tea made from the herb has been used for uterine cramping and menstrual difficulties including irregular menstruation, pains following childbirth, suppressed urine, diarrhea, and dysentery. The oil extract makes a good external application for slow-healing cuts and burns, wounds, sores, bruises, tumors, vericose veins, boils, and other skin problems. It is applied as a liniment or poultice for sciatica, neuralgia and rheumatic pains.
Contains active compounds volatile oils, tannins, resins, choline, pectin, flavonoids (including rutin), sitosterol, hypericin (a glycoside that is a red pigment), a polyphenolic favonoid derivative (hyperaside), and pseudohypericin. Recent studies have found that hypericin and pseudohypericin have potent anti-retroviral activity, without serious side effects. Being researched for treatment of AIDS.
Bedwetting, insomnia, hysteria, menstrual irregularity, stress, reactions, neuralgia, rheumatism, aches and pains, menstrual cramps, anemia, headaches, chest congestion, catarrh, nervous conditions, blood purifier, expectorant, slow healing wounds, blisters, scalds, diuretic, digestion stimulant, bladder ailments, swellings, stab wounds, shingles, gout, furuncles and carbuncles, skin ulcers, depression, worms, colic, intestinal problems, jaundice, thrombosis, phlebitis, embolism or pains following childbirth, mastitis, skin care for babies, mumps, ear infections, diarrhea, dysentery, vericose veins, sciatica, minor wounds.
Caution should be noted here, St. John's Wort has sometimes poisoned livestock. Its use may also make the skin sensitive to light. Taken internally or externally, hypericin may cause photodermatitis (skin burns) and photosensitivity when persons are exposed to light. This photosensitivity or being sensitive to light, means if you use St. John's Wort, you should avoid exposure to the sun.
Contact dermatitis can be caused by pruning or gathering the plant.
Not recommended for long term use, but safe in short term use. However, it is safer than some of the medications typically prescribed for anxiety, depression, and emotional problems.
May be toxic to some people. Should be used with competent medical supervision.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 12:05|