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St. John's Wort materia medica

Hypericum perforatum


Plant Identification

St. John's Wort, also known as Hypericum perforatum, is native to Europe and Asia, but can now be found all over the world. When foraging for Hypericum, look for areas with full sun, lower elevation, and body of water nearby such as a lake, creek or bog. St. John's Wort is known for its five petal yellow flowers, flashy stamens, and perforated leaves (hence its species name, perforatum).

Plant Energetics

St. John's Wort embodies the energetic qualities of the sun and is thought to have a warming and uplifting effect on the spirit, making it a great herbal ally for the winter months. In the Celtic tradition, St. John’s Wort is believed to be a powerful herb for protection and is said to ward off negative energies.

Herbal Actions

St. John's Wort has many qualities that make it a versatile herb to have in your home apothecary. It may act as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, and sedative. It is thought the internal use of this plant may work by competing with neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, thus making it a great ally for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

Applications and Recipes

There are several ways to use St. John's Wort, including as a tea, a body oil, and a tincture.

St. John's Wort Tea

To make St. John's Wort tea, simply steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried flowers in boiling water, covered for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink 1-3 cups per day as needed.

St. John's Wort Body Oil (my personal favorite!)

St. John's Wort oil is a fantastic way to use this herb! To make the oil, fill a jar with fresh St. John's Wort flowers and cover with a carrier oil such as olive or coconut oil, be sure the flowers are completely covered in the oil and then some, otherwise you may get unwanted mold growth. Allow the mixture to steep in a warm place for 4-6 weeks. Strain the flowers out of the oil using cheese cloth and store the oil in a cool, dark place, compost the flowers. Use as a massage oil or add a few drops to your bath for a great method to restore the nervous system.

St. John's Wort Tincture

To make a St. John's Wort tincture, fill a jar with fresh St. John's Wort flowers and cover with an alcohol with a strong ABV such as Everclear. As with the oil, be sure to make sure the fresh flowers are fully covered and then some to prevent mold growth! Allow the mixture to steep for 4-6 weeks, then strain using cheese cloth and store your tincture in a cool, dark place. You may use 1-3 droppers full per day as needed.

St. John's Wort is a versatile and powerful herb with a long history of traditional use in herbal medicine. Whether you use it as a tea, a body oil, or a tincture, this herb is a great way to experience its nurturing benefits and uplifting energy. Remember to always consult with a healthcare provider before using any new herb or supplement, as this herb in particular has many contraindications with pharmaceutical drugs.

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