St Joan's / St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Other Common Names:
Amber, Goat's Weed, 'Arnica for the nerves'.
It is a native of Europe and Asia.
The generic name of this plant derives from a Greek word meaning to overcome an apparition and has been used through the times to hang over the door to ward off evil spirits. Documentations of St John's Wort's value and use have been found dating back to 460BC (Theophrastus), also documented later by Dioscorides and Galen in 130-200 CE. During the years 1493-1541 Swiss physician Paracelsus began using it for psychiatric disorders and called it "Arnica for the nerves".
What's in it?
St. John's Wort contains many glycosides, one of which is hypericin and another pseudo hypericin (in the flowers). Other constituents include flavonoids (rutin and quercetin in the leaves), volatile oil, sesquiterpenes, tannins, oligomeric procyanidins, coumarins, caffeic/chlorogenic acids (phenol), resins, pectin (hyperforin), kaempferol, sterols, vitamin C and A.
Are all St John's Wort remedies the same?
St. John's wort remedies vary widely. This herb can be prepared as a tea, oil infusion, maceration, fluid extract or is available in capsule form. The medicinal properties of St. John's Wort are most accessible by the human body in tincture form.
How does it work?
St. John's Wort works primarily to repair and restore the nervous system. Through its action on the pineal gland melatonin production is able to be regulated which is directly connected with the serotonin balance in the brain. It relaxes muscles and flushes out lactic acid from the body. This plant has a particular affinity with those who experience on-going anxiety and nervous tension.
For those who experience depression St. John's wort is to be taken at least 3 to 5 times a day, 5-10 drops. Licorice root tincture is strongly suggested as an adjunct to treatment.
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