Herb of the Month: St. John's Wort
It's no wonder that summer is the most cheerful season, because our most beloved sunshine remedies are in bloom, such as Hypericum perforatum, more commonly known as St. John's wort. The bright yellow flowers represent an extension of sunlight and have many medicinal uses, both internal and topical.
It's imperative to seek professional guidance before taking herbal extractions, so please consult your practitioner first.
Now, let's explore this sunshine botanical!
St. John's wort grows in North America and belongs to the Hypericaceae plant family. This plant is easily cultivated and does not require lots of water, allowing it to thrive in the southwestern region of the United States. The yellow flowers are regular and bisexual, with four to five sepals and petals. If you see the flowers turn back into green little oval balls, that is the ovary maturing into seed. Sometimes, the petals may have orange or red dots.
Look for bumble bees hovering over this herb's magical yellow flowers in midsummer, as it typically blooms in mid-June. And don't overlook the green leaves — they pair perfectly with strawberries for a summer salad.
How Is St. John's Wort Used?
St. John's wort lifts the mind during stressful times. It is often prepared into herbal extractions, infusions, or juice for internal use. The fresh flowering tops are preferred when making herbal preparations to capture the herb's medicinal constituents. Its relaxing energetics pair well with other herbs that support the nervous system, such as Motherwort, Passionflower, and milky oat tops, all of which you'll find in WishGarden Herb's Emotional Ally formula. This blend supports calm during periods of grief or stress. Think of it like lifting your face towards a sunny sky and taking a deep, long breath; you naturally become less tense!
St. John's wort also supports a healthy inflammation response, making it great for relaxation of muscles tired from everyday wear-and-tear, vigorous exercise, or minor bruises and strains. In other words, it's great for post-workout recovery or after a long hike in the mountains, which is why you'll find it in tinctures like WishGarden's Deep Recovery Musclar-Skeletal. Or, for targeted use, try our infused, handcrafted Arnica Oil with St. John's Wort for topical use. The red nature of the oil is due to a constituent named hypericin and flavonoids such quercetin.
A Long History with Healers
Healers have a historic and lasting connection with St. John's wort. It is considered gentle enough for everyone from children to the elderly when used appropriately, and it not only targets emotional support, but also physical support as well. In traditional herbalism, the St. John's wort is considered a nervous trophorestorative, meaning it has an affinity to our nervous system. Modern healers find St. John's wort useful in addressing nervous tension and inner frustration, further demonstrating its dynamic use.
WishGarden Herbs owner and formulator Catherine Hunziker in a field of St. John's Wort.
Why the Reference to St. John?
St. John's wort is so named because it commonly flowers and is harvested at the time of the summer solstice in late June, also known as Midsummer, near the feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24. The herb was even hung in houses and doorways on St. John's Day to ward off evil spirits. Some also believe that the red oil extracted from the herb represents the blood of John the Baptist.
Cautions to Consider with St. John's Wort
As with all herbs, it's important to consult with your practitioner before taking St. John's wort. Hypericum can have contraindications with medications, so be sure to check with your pharmacist. Learn more about St. John's wort safety from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
- Herbs For All Stages Of A Woman's Life
- Managing Sinus Issues
- Postpartum: Birthing a Journey of Transitions
- 5 Herbal Essentials for Your Postpartum Bag
- 3 Herbs to Combat PMS
Lauren Ann Nichols attended The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism and received her certificate in medical herbalism. She is the owner of Herbal Vice, a small-batch skincare company, and grows the herbs used in her products. She is currently a customer service representative at WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.