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 St. John's Wort :
Herbal Medicine Materia Medica
Hypericum perforatum


Habitat: A native European , including British, plant.

Collection: The entire plant above ground should be collected when in flower and dried as quickly as possible.

Part Used: Aerial parts.

  • Essential oil, containing caryophyllene, methyl-2-octane, n-nonane, n-octanal, n-decanal, [[alpha]]- and [[beta]]-pinene, and traces of limonene andmyrcene
  • Hypericins, prenylated phloroglucin derivatives; hypericin, pseudohypericin and hyperforin
  • Miscellaneous; flavonoids, (+) and (-) - epicatechin.
Actions: Anti-inflammatory, astringent, vulnerary, nervine, anti-microbial.

Indications: Taken internally, St. John's Wort has a sedative and pain reducing effect, which gives it a place in the treatment of neuralgia, anxiety, tension and similar problems. It is especially regarded as an herb to use where there are menopausal changes triggering irritability and anxiety. It is increasingly recommended the treatment of depression. In addition to neuralgic pain, it will ease fibrositis, sciatica and rheumatic pain. Externally it is a valuable healing and anti-inflammatory remedy. As a lotion it will speed the healing of wounds and bruises, varicose veins and mild burns. The oil is especially useful for the healing of sunburn.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a "sedative nervine for muscular twitching and choreiform movements especially indicated for nerve injuries to the extremeties and teeth/gums. Promotes elimination of catabolic waste products." They give the following specific indications: Painful injuries to sacral spine and coccyx, traumatic shock, hemorrhoids with pain & bleeding, facial neuralgia after dental extractions and toothache, neurasthenia, chorea, depression.

Ellingwood considered it specific for "muscular bruises, deep soreness, painful parts. A sensation of throbbing in the body without fever. Burning pain, or deep soreness of the spine upon pressure, spinal irritation, circumscribed areas of intense soreness over the spinal cord or ganglia. Concussion, shock or injury to the spine, lacerated or punctured wounds in any location, accompanied with great pain." In addition he recommends it for the following pathologies: tumors, caked breasts, enlarged glands, eccymosis, bruises, swellings.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take l-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Hypericum

St. John's Wort Aizenman BIu [Antibiotic preparations from Hypericum perforatum L]

Mikrobiol Zh (1969 Mar-Apr) 31 (2): 128-33 Chaplinskaia MG Shteinberg MA Tribul'skaia ZF [Study of the photodynamic action of Hypericum in its external use]

Farm Zh (1965) 20(2): 47-53 Decosterd LA Hoffmann E Kyburz R Bray D Hostettmann K [A new phloroglucinol derivative from Hypericum calycinum with antifungal andin vitro antimalarial activity.]

Planta Med (1991 Dec) 57(6): 548-51 Derbentseva NA Mishenkova EL Garagulia OD [Action of tannins from Hypericum perforatum L. on the influenzavirus]

Mikrobiol Zh (1972) 34(6): 768-72 Gurevich AI Dobrynin VN Kolosov MN Popravko SA Riabova ID [Antibiotic hyperforin from Hypericum perforatum L] Antibiotiki (1971 Jun) 16(6): 510-3 Holzl J [Is Hypericum perforatum phototoxic? (letter)]

Med Monatsschr Pharm (1991 Oct) 14(10): 304-6Ishiguro K Yamaki M Kashihara M Takagi S Saroaspidin A, B, and C: additional antibiotic compounds from Hypericum japonicum.

Planta Med (1987 Oct) 53(5): 415-7 Ishiguro K Yamaki M Kashihara M Takagi S Isoi K Sarothralin G: a new antimicrobial compound from Hypericum japonicum.

Planta Med (1990 Jun) 56(3): 274-6 Jayasuriya H Clark AM McChesney JD New antimicrobial filicinic acid derivatives from Hypericum drummondii.

J Nat Prod (1991 Sep-Oct) 54(5): 1314-20 Jayasuriya H McChesney JD Swanson SM Pezzuto JM Antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity of rottler in-type compounds from Hypericum drummondii.

J Nat Prod (1989 Mar-Apr) 52(2):325-31 Kosuge T Ishida H Satoh T Studies on anti-hemorrhagic substances in herbs classified as hemostatics in Chinese medicine. IV. On anti-hemorrhagic principles in Hypericum erectumThunb.

Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) (1985 Jan) 33(1): 202-5 Matei I Gafitanu E Dorneanu V [Value of Hypericum perforatum oil in dermatological preparations.I.]

Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi (1977 Jan-Mar) 81(1):73-4 Melzer R Fricke U Holzl J Vasoactive properties of procyanidins from Hypericum perforatum L. inisolated porcine coronary arteries.

Arzneimittelforschung (1991 May) 41(5):481-3 Meruelo D Therapeutic agents with dramatic anti-viral activity and little toxicity at effective doses: Aromatic polycyclicdiones hypericin and pseudohypericin.

Proceedings National Academy of Sciences 85: 5230-34 1988 Muldner H Zoller M [Anti-depressive effect of a Hypericum extract standardized to an active hypericine complex. Biochemical and clinical studies]

Arzneimittelforschung (1984) 34(8):918-20 Okpanyi SN Weischer ML [Animal experiments on the psychotropic action of a Hypericum extract]

Arzneimittelforschung (1987 Jan) 37(1): 10-3 Suzuki O of monoamine oxidase by hypericin.

Planta Medica 50:272-4, 1984

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 About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......moreDavid Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH
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