St John's Wort
St. John’s wort, amber, touch-and-heal, goatweed, hypericum, johnswort, Klamath weed, rosin rose, St. John’s grass, tipton weed
Hypercium perforatum is native to Europe, Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East
During the summer when the plant is in full bloom, the top few inches of the plant are harvested for its open flowers, flower buds, and leaves.
St. John's Wort (SJW) has a long history of use in herbal medicine, dating back to ancient Greek medical herbalists like Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Galen. Over time, SJW has gained recognition and approval in various countries, including being included in the official national pharmacopeias of Czechoslovakia, France, Poland, Romania, and Russia. It is also approved in Germany's Commission E monographs, further solidifying its place in modern medicine. (1)
St. John's Wort (SJW) is a natural remedy that is commonly used to alleviate anxiety and tension, as well as to improve mood. It has been extensively studied for its antidepressant properties and is widely used around the world to treat mild to moderate depression. In fact, Germany's Commission E has approved the internal use of SJW for a variety of conditions, including "psychovegetative disturbances, depressive moods, anxiety and/or nervous unrest."(2)
St. John's Wort (SJW) has been found to have pain-relieving properties for conditions such as neuralgia, sciatica, shingles, and rheumatism. It can even help repair nerve damage caused by traumatic injury or other factors, earning it the nickname "arnica for the nerves." In Germany, external preparations of SJW have been approved by the Commission E for use in treating injuries, myalgia, and first-degree burns. (3)
St. John's Wort, also known as SJW, has been used as a tonic for the urinary system. It has been found to be effective in treating bedwetting in children and incontinence in adults. According to herbalist Maud Grieve, giving an infusion or tea of SJW before bedtime can help children with incontinence of urine at night. Herbalist Peter Holmes suggests that SJW has a unique ability to tonify the kidneys and clear damp-cold in the urogenital system, making it useful for treating difficult, painful urination, incontinence, bedwetting, and mucus in the urine. (4)
Adult Dose (5)
Tincture: 5-60 drops fresh herb (1:2, 95%) 3x/day 2-4 mL dried herb (1:5, 40%) 3x/day
Infusion: 1 cup (1-2 tsp dried herb in 8 fl oz water) 3x/day
Infused oil: External application as needed
St. John's Wort, a popular herbal supplement, contains phototoxins that can cause photosensitivity in fair-skinned individuals if taken internally. Although this effect was originally observed in grazing livestock, humans receiving high doses of SJW may also experience photosensitization, although it is rare at normal dosages. It is important to avoid taking SJW with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as this combination can lead to serotonin syndrome. Additionally, SJW can reduce the effectiveness of many pharmaceutical drugs due to its ability to induce a liver enzyme that supports detoxification. This includes immunosuppressants, anticoagulants, antiarrhythmics, calcium-channel blockers, hormonal contraceptives, and many others. Therefore, those on prescribed medications should consult with a healthcare provider before taking SJW. (6) Actions
(1)American Botanical Council. (2000). Herbal medicine: Expanded Commission E. St. John’s wort. http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/StJohn27swort.html
(2) American Botanical Council. (2000). Herbal medicine: Expanded Commission E. St. John’s wort. http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/StJohn27swort.html
(3) Bennett, R.R. (2014). The gift of healing herbs. North Atlantic Books.
(4)Holmes, P. (1997). The energetics of Western herbs (3rd ed., Vol. I). Snow Lotus Press.
(5) Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Healing Arts Press.
(6) Johnson, R.L., Foster, S., Low Dog, T., & Kiefer, D. (2012). National Geographic guide to medicinal herbs: The world’s most effective healing plants. National Geographic.