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Saint John's Wort - Herbal Wisdom Wednesday

hypericum perforatum materia medica saint johns wort st. john's wort

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): Medicine of the Sun

The longest day and highest peak of the sun welcomes blooming swaths of St. John’s Wort (SJW)- a definitive sign that Summer has arrived.  Not only is this delicate yellow flower enjoyable to the eye, it holds a wide variety of important medicinal uses.   While SJW is often used to treat conditions of the Nervous System, it also has some less commonly known uses.

  • One of the most widely used herbs for mild-moderate depression, especially during the darker winter months. Not effective for bi-polar or severe cases of depression. 
  • Helps reduce anxiety and frustration. Great for menopausal outbursts!
  • Indicated for Nerve Pain, such as sciatica, pinched nerves, rheumatic conditions, toothaches
  • Alleviates muscle tension and spasm – use topically for back spasm, TMJ, etc.
  • Speeds the healing of skin wounds and sunburns
  • Can be taken internally to alleviate gastritis and help heal ulcers
  • Has anti-viral action- Great for painful shingle outbreaks!
  • Supports Liver health in a gentle way

Cautions: The use of SJW is contraindicated with the use of several pharmaceutical drugs, including but not limited to SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor), oral contraceptives, anti-epileptic drugs and calcium channel blockers.  Please consult your doctor before using.  There have been a few cases of increased photosensitivity have been reported with large doses.

Fun Fact: Did you know the tincture or infused oil of SJW turns bright red due to the active constituent Hypericum?!


Medical Herbalism- David Hoffman

Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West- Michael Moore

The Way of Herbs – Michael Tierra

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