St John’s wort, Hypericum Perforatum or Kantarion

The old folks always say “The cure is for free, all you need to do is find it.”
We have this remarkable herb at our home every winter, every month, every day. No matter as tea or as oil, St John’s wort is a magnificent medicinal plant.
The traditional name for it in my country is Kantarion, and we have plenty of it.

If this plant exists in your place, you should make the most of it because it has so many healing properties and can help you significantly improve your health. I summarize everything you should know about Hypericum perforatum or St John’s wort below.

What Is St John’s Wort?

The yellow St. John’s wort is a long-stemmed vegetable plant, 30-100 cm in height. It can be found on the edges of oak forests, pastures, at the foot of mountains, and in the surrounding meadows.

On Latin, Hypericum Perforatum was named after the Greek sun-god Hyperion.
It blooms all summer long, from late May until early September. The top of the herb and flower is picked.

It is rich in essential oils, iron, tannin, flavonoids, and hypericin which gives it a red oil color.
It is widely used in folk medicine because of its antibacterial, antiviral, and antimycotic properties.

It is one of 5 herbs used to improve mental health and is proven to have a positive effect on a mental illness such as depression. It is effective for mild to moderate depression. There is evidence about short-terms treatment, but there aren’t many long-term human studies especially for the connection between anxiety reduction and St. John’s wort.

The oil from this yellow herb is used for wounds and scars. Be careful on sunlight, the skin is more sensitive with this oil on it.

In some countries, St. John’s wort is available only with a prescription. And in France, you can’t find products with this herb because sometimes it can cause serious interactions with some medications.

How Can We Use Hypericum Perforatum?

We can use it for St. John’s wort like tea.

When I’m preparing it for myself, I put a few flowers (not too much because the natural homemade tea is stronger than that you can find it in a store) in boiling water. Still, find your best ratio and use it accordingly. Usually, the quantity of flowers required is about one teaspoon of 200 ml of boiled water.

I drink one cup of tea, often mixed with other tea like basil, elderberry flower or thyme before going to bed.
St.John's Wort dried in a glass.

St. John’s Wort Oil Homemade Recipe

This is how my grandmother prepares homemade St. John’s wort oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5L olive oil
  • Flowers to fill half bottle of 1.5L

Instructions:

  1. Take a clean, sterilized 1.5-liter glass bottle, and fill half of it with flowers. And then fill the bottle with olive oil.
  2. Close it and place it on sunlight for 40 days. The temperature in our country in the summer is from 30 to 40 °C, I guess that should be the right temperature.
  3. After 40 days move it inside and leave it to rest for 14 days.
  4. On the 15th day, drain it through gauze is another clear glass bottle and keep it on temperature between 18 – 25°C.

Notes:

The best time to prepare is in the summer when the flowers are ready and the temperatures are high.

If you prepare it right and keep it at the right temperature, you can use it for a long time. (This summer, I found a bottle of St. John’s wort oil prepared 20 years ago. And it was fine, without any strange smell or color.)

Rare St.John’s Wort Red

I didn’t see it before. For the first time, my grandma shows me this autumn and she calls it ”red St.John’s Wort”. Somebody give it to her because does not grow in our town.

Also, she told me that this type of St.John’s Wort is very rare and I can use it for stomach pain.

This winter I’ll try it for the first time so I will share my experience.

I’m sharing the photo of the dried one, the first thing that I noticed it was the beautiful color and look.
St.John's Wort dried on a white background for tea.

What Are the Benefits From St. John’s Wort?

There are many benefits of consuming St. John’s wort, depending on how you consume/apply it.

For those who have scientific research, I’ll share a link to the studies if you want to see the details.

Benefits from St. John’s wort Oil

The oil can be used externally for cuts, against burns, cutaneous inflammatory processes, hemorrhoids, for wound healing and as an antiseptic, cheeses, vaginal infections, scars (mostly from C-section), stretch marks, and acne.

From my personal experience, when I was a child, I burnt myself and I had a pretty deep wound. I put oil on the wound. It healed fast, and what is more important, it didn’t leave a scar.

I also know women who treated CIN with this oil and who claim that they succeed. But unfortunately, there isn’t a study about that.

Taking the Extract of St. John’s Wort by Mouth

The PMC made a short-term study about the connection between depression and St. John’s wort. This and the results from a few studies show that the herb is better for treating minor depression than treating major depression of moderate severity.
Studies conducted in countries like Germany, where St. John’s wort has a long history of use by medical professionals show better results than other countries.

Other than supporting the reduction of depression, St. John’s wort has the following benefits:

  • There is Insufficient Evidence for Anxiety though closely linked to reducing depression.
  • It helps to reduce nervousness
  • Drinking tea at night has a calming effect.
  • The tea is used as a remedy against stomach ailments, to improve the function of the stomach, liver and helps with diarrhea.
  • It can reduce hot flashes and mood changes in menopause when it is combined with Remifemin, Remifemin Plus, Gynoplus. But be careful with other combinations.

St John’s wort Side Effects

There are a few side effects that are studied to some point but for them is needed more researchers. Mostly are caused by overdose and using it for a long period.

Side Effects That Can Be Caused By Overdose and Taking it a Long Period

When you’re taking extract by mouth for 12 weeks, if you take it a large dose, or take it constantly for more than a year, it is possible to feel some side effects such as trouble sleeping, vivid dreams, difficulty sitting still, nervousness, irritability, upset stomach, tiredness, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, skin rash, diarrhea, and skin tingling. Taking St. John’s wort in the morning, or taking a lower dose if it seems to be causing sleep problems. (because with some people, it can have the opposite effect).

Side Effects for Major Depression

Take it with major depression of mild to moderate severity. St. John’s wort can show sometimes more side effects than standard antidepressants, and the reason for that need to research more.
For more information and studies you can read here.

Side Effects in Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding

In Pregnancy and breast-feeding St. John’s wort might be unsafe when taken orally. Some studies show that can cause defects on unborn children, of course for that is needed more researchers. Nursing mothers who take St. John’s wort can experience colic, drowsiness, and fussiness. Until everything is proved to be careful taking St.John’s wort in pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Can Cause Problems with Surgical Procedures.

St.John’s wort can affect serotonin levels in the brain and that can cause problems with surgical procedures. Because of this reason stop using it two weeks before surgery.

Can Interact with medications.

If you take medications, first of all, you must consult with the doctor because the supplement interacts with many medications and can cause serious side effects.

Here is a list of medications that can interact with St.John,s Wort.

Dosing Tea, Extract and Oil from St. John’s Wort

Here’s how you dose each type of extract from St. John’s Wort

Dosing tea

Drink one cup of tea mixed with other tea daily when you are healthy. Or 2 to 3 times if it is needed.
St.John's Wort dried on a white background for tea.

Dosing and how to use oil from St John’s wort

Apply the oil to the wound three times a day until the wound heals.

For C-section, begin with applying 24 hours after the procedure until the wound heals.

Dosing the Extract From St John’s Wort

The doses below have been studied in scientific research, so it is good to follow them.

For children by mouth:

For children from 6 to 17 years old.

If you taking it for mild to moderate depression: use 150-300 mg of St. John’s wort three times on a day. Be careful you can use it maximum of 8 weeks. Take it for a maximum of 8 weeks.

For Adults by mouth:

For low mood or depression:

In most studies, the research used St. John’s wort extract can be used at doses of 300 mg 3 times daily.

For symptoms of menopause:

The study used a particular St. John’s wort extract (Hypiran, Poursina Pharmaceutical Mfg. Co., Tehran, Iran.) This extract was given in doses of 20 drops, 3 times daily for 2 months has been used.

Lastly, use St. John’s wort 300mg 3 times on a day for 3-4 months.

Why to Use St John’s Wort?

I encourage you to have it at home. It will help you with insomnia, scar healing, wound healing, skin diseases and so much more. It is cheap, and the oil is easy to prepare.
If you can’t find and make it at home, you can find it in stores.

Be careful with dosing, side effects, and using it with other medications. If you need it or have doubts, you can always consult with your doctor.

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