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Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort)

Latin Name—Hypericum perforatum

Common Names—St. John’s wort, Hypericum, Klamath weed, Goatweed

Hypericum is a genus of about 400 species of flowering plants in the family Hypericaceae. Hypericum perforatum, commonly calledSt. John’s Wort, is grown commercially for use in medication and herbal supplements. Other hypericums are not well researched today.

Hypericum perforatum basic

Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is a shrubby plant with clusters of yellow flowers that have oval, elongated petals. Both the flowers and leaves are used as medicine.

Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort)

Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort)


Scientists believe Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is native to Europe, parts of Asia and Africa, and the western United States, but distributes all over the world today. Although it is not native toAustraliaand long considered a weed, is now grown there as a crop. Today,Australiaproduces 20 percent of the world’s supply.

The flowering tops of Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) are used to prepare teas, tablets, and capsules containing concentrated extracts. Liquid extracts and topical preparations are also used.

Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) has a history of being used as a medicine dating back to ancient Greece, where it was used for a range of illnesses, including various “nervous disorders.” Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it has been applied to the skin to help heal wounds and burns.

Hypericum perforatum uses

Today, Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is used as a folk or traditional remedy for depression and conditions that sometimes go along with depression such as anxiety, tiredness, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping. There is some strong scientific evidence that it is effective for mild to moderate depression.  It can be taken instead of standard antidepressants known as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, a class of prescription antidepressants sold under trade names like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and many others).

At least one out of every 20 Americans gets depressed each year, and many rely on anti-depressants to help them cope. A new study shows the herb Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) might be just as effective, and with fewer side effects. Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is one of the most commonly purchased herbal products in theUnited States.

Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) has been tried for exhaustion, stop-smoking help, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), migraine and other types of headaches, muscle pain, nerve pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. It is also used for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis C.

An oil can be made from Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort). Some people apply this oil to their skin to treat bruises and scrapes, inflammation and muscle pain, first degree burns, wounds, bug bites, hemorrhoids, and nerve pain. But applying Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) directly to the skin is risky. It can cause serious sensitivity to sunlight.

Generally, Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is used to treat mild or moderate depression. And although it’s now scientifically proven to be effective, the exact mechanism by which the hypericin/hyperforin inside the Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is not completely understood. It just works, for most people.

Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is available as tea, tincture, decoction, oil, and in capsule form. Teas should be made with 1-2 cups of flowers per 1 cup of boiling water. This tea can be drunk three times daily. The dosage of the tincture is 1/4 to 1 teaspoon up to three times daily.

Since Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is generally available over-the-counter in most countries, it’s not a regulated like pharmaceutical drugs – therefore you should try to find the best quality brand that you can. It’s not expensive. Occasionally people try to grow it themselves, but due to widely varying qualities you had best stick to a good, quality commercial brand.

Extreme cases of depression should still be treated with the help of your doctor or psychiatrist, especially if you are already taking medication or several types of medication.

Talk with your doctor before you take any Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) supplements.

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