St. John's Wort is an age old plant that has bee used for depression, wounds, burns, topical infections, and insect bites.
The name of this herb is associated with John the Baptist. It is said that it blooms on the Saint’s birthday in early Summer, and bleeds on the anniversary of his beheading in late Summer. Strangely, if you bruise the petals of this plant’s flower, a red, blood-looking liquid may ooze out.
In a Cochrane Review of 29 trials totaling 5,489 patients, St. John’s wort was superior to the placebo in treating patients with major depression, and had a similar level of effectiveness as a standard anti-depressants prescription drug, with fewer side effects. The herb is also antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Click the button below for a detailed review of research.
Latin Name: Hypericum perforatum
St. John's wort is a perennial growing up to three feet with oblong leaves that are up to 2 centimeters long and have glandular dots. Yellow flowers have many stamen and five pedals with black dots. Squeezed fruit oozes a purplish liquid. It has an extensive creeping and branched rhizome system. The plant grows easily and in some areas, it is considered a noxious weed.
Leaves and flowers can be prepared as an infusion, fluid extract, tincture, and essential oil. Adult dosage based on 0.3% hypericin content is 2-4 millileters of a tincture up to three times a day (Petersen, 2016). Safe duration has been seen for up to 12 weeks in adults and up to 8 weeks in children (Natural Medicines, 2016).