In sticking with my plan to educate you on plants that grows well in the North Eastern United States, St. John’s Wort, which is fabulous in the garden, is the topic of today’s Herbal Update. The plant itself possess bright green leaves, small and slender, that are accented by star shaped yellow flowers that practically take over the plant in July and August. The herb itself can grow into a small shrub 24 inches high if allowed. A perennial, this sun loving herb is quite hardy and will tolerate partial shade as well. Though it prefers light, moist soil this herb originated in forests, fields, and roadsides of Europe and has a survivor’s adaptability. Once started these plants need very little attention except in the poorest of soils where fertilizer will be a great aide, and water during long dry spells. In short, in order to enjoy this amazing herb at home simply stick in the ground wherever you have room and see what happens. ☺
St. John’s Wort is believed to be have been named for St. John the Baptist. Used for centuries, the Greek physician Hippocrates (ca. 460-377 B.C.E.) was one of the first to speak of the health benefits of St. Johns Wort, and it has been used to treat anxiety, neurosis, and depression since the time of Paracelsus (ca. 1493-1541 C.E.), when it was declared to be "arnica for the nerves." St. John’s Wort has undergone countless clinical studies and has been proven effective by US physicians in aiding the treatment of depression. These results have made it one of the most widely marketed and used herbs in the US.
St. John’s Wort is also an anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant, nervine and sedative herb. It has been used throughout history to treat everything from rheumatism and gout to dysentery, jaundice, urinary issues and bedwetting. Historically, St. Johns Wort was also relied on for pulmonary complaints including consumption and catarrh of the lungs. It’s second most popular use today, however, is as an aid to wounds and burns. Prepared as an extract and applied topically St, John’s Wort has been used to reduce the pain and aid in faster healing.
At home, St. John’s Wort at home can be prepared as a tea using the leaves and flowers (always use organic of course). You can also make your own extracts using sunflower, olive or wheat germ oils. If you are harvesting your own flowers, pick them in their prime preferably in the morning after the dew has dried. Allow them to dry in an arid space away from the sun and store in an airtight container.
St. John’s Wort should be used only after consulting your physician, particularly if you are ingesting it. It is NOT RECOMMENDED for those on MAO or Protease inhibitors.
**THIS INFORMATION IS SHARED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. UNA BIOLOGICALS DOES NOT DISTRUBUTE MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING HEBRS!***