St. John’s Wort was introduced to America and now grows wild in many fields and meadows. Indigenous to Europe, this plant produces yellow flowers that are used to make teas and capsules and it has become one of the most purchased herbs in the United States.
It’s first recorded use dates back to ancient Greece, it has since been used by people all over the world. The Native American’s used it as an astringent, anti-inflammatory and as an antiseptic.
In traditional use, St. John’s Wort was hung in baskets over pictures in the house to ward off evil and to rid the body of any evil spirits! In large dosages, this herb is toxic and care should be taken to only use the recommended amount. In some countries a doctor’s prescription is required to obtain this herbal remedy.
The plant was named after John the Baptist by early Christian mystics and was usually collected on St. John’s Day. The plant was soaked in olive oil for several days and used as a blood red anointing oil, called the “blood of Christ”.
Today, the most common use of St. John’s Wort is for sleep disorder, anxiety and mental disorders such as depression.
St. John’s Wort contains excellent antibacterial properties.
The herb has been shown to decrease the craving for alcohol and may be a aide in alcoholism!
Herbalists of ancient times, wrote about it’s sedative effects and as a treatment for malaria.
Written records from 1633, that St. John’s Wort was without equal in the treatment of wounds, burns, bites and even ulcers.
The herbs anti-inflammatory properties,make it effective in treating sprains, strains and contusions.
In laboratory studies, it was found to fight some infections that are even resistant to modern anti-biotics.
Research has suggested that St. John’s Wort may inhibit or even kill the growth of the HIV virus, but it has very serious interactions with some of the other drugs used to treat HIV. According to an early study, this herb may be used to relieve both the emotional and physical symptoms of PMS.
Tests have proven that the use St. John’s Wort has merit in treating hemorrhoids, when applied topically.
A study conducted including over 100 children, showed that St. John’s Wort when combined with other herbs, relieved earache pain as effectively as standard ear drops. Mix these oils, St. John’s Wort, garlic, calendula and mullein flower for an effective earache remedy.
St. John’s Wort has been used to treat muscle problems and to ease the pain of muscle injuries, as well as muscle spasms and cramps.
The bioflavonoids found in St. John’s Wort, make it useful in the treatment of swollen veins.
St. John’s Wort oil can be used topically during pregnancy to help reduce and even prevent stretch marks.
It can help reduce those unsightly varicose veins by massaging the oil onto the affected area.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used St. John’s Wort in the treatment of poisonous reptile bites.
The Roman army surgeon, Dioscorides, gave St. John’s Wort tea as a remedy for cholera.
St. John’s Wort is excellent when used as a blood purifier and cleanser.
Bacterially based boils and tumors can be dissolved and removed with the use of St. John’s Wort.
It has been shown to be useful in the treatment of bladder problems, such as a suppressed flow of urine and urinary tract infections.
The oil can be applied directly to the chest and back to relieve phlegm and it’s even beneficial in the treatment of bronchitis.
The alkaloid properties of St. John’s Wort will stimulate the heart and arteries.
Taken internally in capsule or tablet form, St. John’s Wort may help to alleviate a variety of back pain, including lower back pain.
St. John’s Wort has also been used as an effective treatment for headaches and even migraines.
The burns caused from radiation treatments can be lessened by apply the oil or cream to the area.
Some of the compounds found in St. John’s Wort will inhibit the herpes simplex 1 virus, the virus that caused fever blister and cold sores. It’s use has also been effective in the treatment of other types of herpes viruses.
St. John’s Wort can soothe digestive systems, gastritis and it can even treat diarrhea.
When taken internally St. John’s Wort also has a sedative and pain reducing effect. It will aide in helping you drift off to sleep!
In the future this amazing herb may be used in cancer treatment. Several studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute, found that after one single dose of St. John’s Wort, mice that were infected with the leukemia virus were able to fight off the disease!
Suggested adult dosages:
For mood disorders and mild depression, 300 to 400 mg should be taken three times a day with meals.
If liquid extract is used, take 40 to 60 drops, twice daily.
The dried herb can be taken as a tea, add one or two teaspoons to boiling water, let steep for about ten minutes. Up to two cups can be taken each day for a period of four to six weeks.
St. John’s Wort when used in oil or cream form can be applied to relieve inflammation.