Part Used: Fresh flowering & budding tops
St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a bushy perennial herb with numerous yellow flowers, reaching a height of up to 90 cm. It is native to many parts of the world including Europe and the United States. It is a wild growing plant in northern California, southern Oregon and Colorado. It has been used as a diuretic, wound-healing herb, and treatment for menstrual disorders. Researchers concluded that St.John's Wort extract, compared with synthetic antidepressants, produced side effects of minor significance and can be recommended for the treatment of mild and moderate depression. It is regarded as one of the best herbs for mood elevation. Several studies have shown positive results in treating patients with mild to moderate depression. Improvement was shown with symptoms of sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, headache and exhaustion with no reported side effects.
St. Johnís Wort contains hypericin which inhibits the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the brain. The herb also inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAO) and works as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI). Both are actions similar to drugs prescribed for depression. In Germany, nearly half of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders are treated with hypericin. Hypericum has a thymoleptic action which results in an improved sense of well-being. It has long been used as a nerve healer in melancholic conditions, depression, exhaustion and convalescence. It is also used to treat conditions where there is a degree of overtension, such as insomnia, cramps and colic of the viscera and uterus, epilepsy, diarrhoea, and enuresis in children. Hypericum has a reputation as an analgesic, and is used either internally or externally to treat neuralgic pain. Hypericum can also be used to treat local and peptic ulcers and inflammation of the lining of the upper digestive tract. Its astringent action is due primarily to the high levels of tannins in the flowers, and the volatile oil has an anti-inflammatory action. Hypericum has been shown to stimulate the formation of granulation tissue, and an antibacterial action, attributed to hyperforin, has been observed experimentally, particularly against Staphylococcus aureus. Some anti-viral activity has been reported for hypericin against the HIV and hepatitis C viruses.
Herbal Information Center. http://www.kcweb.com/herb/stjohn.htm
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/stjohnswort.htm