St. John’s Wort

ST. JOHN’S WORT (Hypericum perforatum)

Family: Hypericaceae

Parts commonly used: Flowering tops with unopened buds and topmost leaves.

Properties/energetics: Anti-inflammatory, astringent, antidepressant, diuretic, vulnerary, sedative, analgesic, antiseptic/Cold; bitter, astringent.

Systems predominantly affected:  Nervous, musculoskeletal, urinary, skin.

Uses: Use of this antidepressant plant elevates the mood and increases one’s ability to cope. It is helpful for dealing with mild to moderate depression brought on by external factors such as seasonal changes, separation from loved ones, too slow a modem, and other transient bummers. It is also helpful for depression brought about by deeper emotional issues when used as an adjunct to other external factors such as yoga, meditation, appreciation (of self, primarily), exercise, recreation, drinking more water, and processing. It is helpful for dealing with menopause (female or male), particularly when there is a feeling of worthlessness, being unappreciated, or being in a rut. It is remarkably therapeutic for treating spinal trauma (caused by falls and crashes), pinched nerves, and all other pain from neurological origin (bruises, sprains, strains, concussion, sciatica, surgical trauma, nerve trauma from travel), and it improves wayward sleep patterns. St. John’s Wort’s antiviral properties are appropriate for treating shingles, herpes, chicken pox (it’s quite safe for children’s use), and other viruses that like to dwell in human nerve tissues. An oil infusion of this herb (when prepared properly, being the most beautiful deep ruby-red color you will ever see), applied externally, is highly effective for treating bruises, traumatic nerve injuries, and burns. Slap it on the injury immediately— the sooner the better. This oil effectively relieves nerve pain, shooting pain, and sciatic pain (rub it at origin of pain), and is useful when there is lack of sensation in nerves with tingling or burning pain, or numbness. If there is chronic pain, also take the tincture internally. This oil infusion can be taken internally by the teaspoon to treat gastritis and gastric ulcers and as a retained enema to relieved inflamed conditions of the colon. It is beneficial to supplement external use of this plant with internal use.

Combinations: The oil infusion combines with Calendula and Arnica oils as an excellent anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, analgesic, and antiseptic application for external use. St. John’s Wort tincture combines with Calendula and Sage as a mouthwash for gum inflammation and infection. It works well taken with Lemon Balm during winter months for relieving seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Combines with Feverfew for relief of the severe pain of tic douloureux.

Affects on specific body types: St. John’s Wort is appropriate for all constitutional types when used symptomatically to relieve pain and other effects of physical trauma. Used internally, its antidepressant energy will probably be most appreciated by the Monarch temperament, which has a tendency to experience mild depression brought on by external factors as well as deeper internal factors. The Seer who is highly sensitive to his or her environment will enjoy the mood-uplifting energy of this herb, particularly when depressed feelings are reactions to a change of season.

Precautions: St. John’s Wort can interact with pharmaceutical drugs. If you are using pharmaceuticals, consult your prescriber or pharmacist for further information. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared it unsafe based on reported toxicity to cattle (but not based on any reports or studies on human toxicity). Extensive observation by herbal empirical science shows it to be a remarkably safe and effective herb for humans. However, fair-skinned people who take this herb for an extended time should avoid strong sunlight. (You probably should be avoiding strong sunlight anyway.)

Preparations/dosage: All forms of preparation are best when made from the fresh, undried plant. Infusion: 1 cup three times a day or as a mouthwash. Tincture: 20 to 40 drops three times a day. For treating acute nerve pain, take 5 milliters (1/6 ounce) daily. Externally: As a fresh-plant oil infusion, apply directly to inflamed, injured nerves, bruised areas, any and all skin inflammation.of the severe pain of tic douloureux.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition