The History Behind Saint John’s Wort:

Saint John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) has been considered a useful medicinal plant as far back at 2,000 years in Ancient Greece. The first Greek Physicians (Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny, and Dioscorides) all considered Saint John’s Wort to be a diuretic, as a wound-healing herb, and as a recommended treatment for menstrual disorders. It had also been recommended for snakebites and as a cure for intestinal worms.

Flowers placed in oil to make an infused oil will can the oil to turn red; because of this, the ancients believed the plant carried mystical properties. The name Hypericum is derived from the Greek name, hyperikom, meaning “hyper” (over) and “eikon” (meaning image or apparition), which directly refers to the plants supposed ability to ward off evil spirits. The name Saint John’s Wort is related to the belief from early Christians that if the plant was harvested on Saint John’s Day (June 24) than the plant would have the greatest effect medicinally. Another legend is that the plant released a blood-red oil on August 29 the day that Saint John was beheaded.

Throughout the middle ages, the herb was used to treat wounds and alleviate pain. It was in 1525 that Paracelsus recommended the herb for treating depression, melancholy, and over-excitation. By the 18th and 19th centuries Saint John’s Wort was commonly used in teas for anxiety, insomnia, depression, water retention, and gastritis. Throughout the ages, this herb was utilized for treatments of inflammation and hemorrhoids in oil preparations or infusions… so, I guess you could say that this herb has been around for while and tested for many, many years!

Saint John’s Wort Today:

Today Saint John’s Wort is most commonly used internally for treating depression and other mood disorders through methods of tea, usually. Saint John’s Wort is also used for menopausal mood swings, addiction and withdrawal, and hormonal balancing.

Topically, Saint John’s wort is wonderful in skin treatment as it is antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and it promotes and stimulates blood circulation.

In New England: I don’t know if you locals know this, but this plant grows EVERYWHERE! In ditches, on the sides of our beautiful mountains, randomly in fields… it’s a beautiful and wonderful plant to behold. Saint John’s Wort and I have a special relationship, and every time I see it it genuinely makes me smile. The skin care and treatment benefits of this herb are virtually untouchable. Every year I go out wild foraging in search of Saint John’s Wort to make sun infused oils with it. I make salves, creams, lotions, and soaps with it every year.

Topically, I highly recommend Saint John’s Wort for any skin ailment you suffer from; it’s once of the healthiest and all natural skin healing remedies in existence. It’s anti-inflammatory, and it has powerful flavonoids that help protect and soothe skin from rashes, eczema, rosacea, burns, cuts, and bruises. Saint John’s Wort is also antiviral and antibiotic, alleviates joint pain, balances hormones, and helps alleviate stretch marks and pregnancy pains of all kinds, including, but not limited to, hemorrhoids.

Warnings about St. John’s Wort!

There ARE warnings surrounding Saint John’s Wort: it’s an interactive herb, which means that if taken internally it will likely lessens the effects of any other medications a patient is on. Both with internal use and topical use, Saint John’s Wort causes photosensativity (more susceptible to sunburns).

References / Further Reading:

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/st-johns-wort

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92750/

 

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