St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) is a herbaceous perennial plant native to temperate regions of Europe and Asia; today it is widespread throughout temperate regions worldwide.
It can be easily distinguished from other species in this genus because of its leaves that seem perforated (hence the species name) with glandular tissue which appears as small translucent dots.
Its use in traditional medicine has been known since ancient Greece. It has been used for a variety of indications, the most famous being anxiety, depression, skin burns and wounds. It was also believed to protect humans from evil spirits.
Antidepressant properties of st. John’s wort have been scientifically studied and confirmed, while other medicinal properties are being researched. But even without scientific proof, the amazing effects of st. John’s wort to human health are indisputable, and go much further than the above mentioned.
How to use st. John’s wort?
Put a teaspoon of dried herb into a cup of boiling water, remove from the heat and let it sit covered for 15-30 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups a day over the course of six weeks. This infusion is used to treat depression, anxiety, neuralgia, and as a nerve tonic.
It is also used to relieve symptoms of gastritis, menstrual and menopausal problems and to fight some bacterial infections. When consumed before bedtime, it helps with relaxation and better sleep.
Fill a jar with fresh flowers/plant tips, loosely and without pressing. Leave them like that for a few hours. Pour cold pressed sunflower or coconut oil to cover all the herbal material. Leave the jar in the sun for around 6 weeks (preferably shake it every day) and strain.
The oil will turn deep red in colour. Finished infusion is an amazing remedy for treating burns and healing cuts and wounds more quickly and with less scar tissue.
You should be aware that
- st. John’s wort has phototoxic properties, so its consumption (either orally or through skin) should be avoided before exposure to direct sunlight.
- to get the proper concentrations of bioactive compounds, herb should be collected in summer, when in bloom.