St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

In the middle of winter, especially when things are dreary, gray and cold we need to look to our sunny herb allies for comfort and warmth.  One of the sunniest herbs that come to mind is St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). You can find it in abundance in the summer months here, along the sides of roads and in disturbed places.  Its summer flowers glow yellow and attract the attention of pollinators by the dozens. Not a native plant, but a transplant from Europe, here in the mountains of northern CA, St. John’s Wort is also known as Klamath weed and classified as a noxious weed.  Like most “weeds”, Hypericum is a most useful and abundant plant for herbalists, offering itself up to us in those disturbed places with grace and those lovely yellow flowers.

St. John’s Wort has been used for countless centuries and is associated with much magic and lore, a plant connected with the faeries.  In modern times, its many merits and action as a whole plant medicine have been overshadowed by an active constituent, hypericin, quite well known for its anti-depressant effect.  Here we return to the cheery yellow flowers, producing a sunny medicine to boost the spirits. Not a remedy for severe depression, but rather a plant ally to elevate the mood, useful for Seasonal Affect Disorder, mild blues and general irritability.  However, St. John’s wort has many more healing virtues.

Having a striking affinity for the nerves and the nervous system, St. John’s wort is one of the foremost nerve healing and anti-inflammatory herbs in Western herbalism.  It heals internal nerve damage and inflammation as well as external damage from burns, wounds, stings, bumps and other injuries.  Internally it can be used for sciatica, neuralgia, carpal tunnel, and rheumatoid arthritis.  It is also used externally for dry skin, eczema, strains, sprains, aches, and bruises.  St. John’s wort is also a strong anti-viral herb.  It can be used for nerve related viruses, such as herpes, shingles, and cold sores.

Hypericin, the substance which gave St. John’s wort spotlight in the pharmaceutical realm, causes the plant to turn a deep red when alchemized into medicine. There is nothing like the beautiful rich red color of St. John’s Wort tincture or oil.  It is truly magical to witness the transformation of its flowers into a deep red medicine.

This healing herb is available in our shop, as a Single Herb Tincture, in Lose Those Blues, as well as in our Muscle and Joint Salve and Soothe and Heal Salve.  Experience its healing virtues for yourself.

Caution: do not use St. John’s Wort internally if taking oral contraceptives or anti-depressants or pregnant or nursing.

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