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Hypericum perforatumHypericum perforatum (Hyperaceae)

ST JOHN'S WORT

 

The tops and flowers are a herbal remedy for anxiety dating back to ancient Greece. The herb is also applied to wounds and boils, and used in Chinese medicine and by homeopaths.

 

This herb has legendary magical properties dating back at least as far as the ancient Greeks, which included driving out evil spirits. The common name comes from the fact that its yellow petals turn red when crushed and that it flowers around 24th June, the date St John the Baptist was beheaded. A native of Europe and Asia but widely naturalized, it is a perennial with woody stems, tiny oblong leaves that have transparent oil glands, and clusters of five-petalled yellow flowers in early summer.

 

PARTS USED

Dried tops, including flowers.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Essential oil containing caryophyllene, pinene, limonene, and myrcene; hypericins; flavonoids; resin.

 

ACTIONS

Sedative; astringent; relieves anxiety; antidepressant; anti-inflammatory; antiseptic.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Used internally to treat excitability and mild anxiety, particularly when associated with depression, and externally for wounds, burns and infections. Used in homeopathy (Hypericum) for nerve injury and bed sores. Prescribed in Chinese medicine for acute hepatitis, appendicitis, snakebites, boils, and abscesses.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, red oil made from flowers, tincture, cream, homeopathic remedies.

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