Herb of the Month: St. John’s Wort
parts used: aerial parts when in flower, at the end of June.
collection: the entire plant above ground is used and collected when in flower, and dried as quickly as possible.
cultivation: easy to grow from seed and from divided root stock.
constituents: rutin, essential oil, tannin, resin, pectin, hypericins.
actions: alterative, antidepressant, antiviral, relaxing nervine, sedative, anti- inflammatory, astringent, vulnerary.
St. John’s wort is a relaxing tonic for the nervous system and is of benefit where any trauma, shock or long-term depression or anxiety has caused the person to feel emotionally debilitated. It is especially useful in menopausal depression. It also works as a mild analgesic and anti- inflammatory and is very effective for treating sciatica, facial neuralgia, loss of sensation and tingling sensations in the periphery of the body.
Topically St. John’ wort infused oil is useful as a mild analgesic for nerve pain and as a vulnerary for wounds which are painful or difficult to heal, such as burns and animal bites.
contraindications: do not take this herb internally if you are having medication for heart problems, depression, mental illness, epilepsy or taking the contraceptive pill, as St. John’s wort may cause the body to improve its liver function and thereby break down these prescriptive drugs more quickly, reducing their efficacy.
preparations and dosage: tea 2 teaspoons per cup, infuse for 15 minutes and drink three times daily. Tincture 1 part herb to 10 parts 45% alcohol. Take 2–4ml in water three times daily. Infused oil collect the open flowers, add them to a base oil, leave in the sun for three weeks and strain. Use topically as required.
combinations: for menopausal anxiety, fatigue and depression it combines well with Rose, Rosemary and Sage. To treat depression blend with Rosemary, Lemon balm and Oat straw. As a massage oil to treat nerve pain add Lavender essential oil at 1% dilution, 9 drops in 30ml oil.