Herbal Highlight: St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is a plant with yellow, star-shaped flowers and five petals that grows in Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Eastern Asia. The plant grows in sunny, well-drained areas.

Common Names:  St. John’s wort, hypericum, Klamath weed, goatweed, perforate St John’s-wort,[1] and common Saint John’s Wort [note 1]

Latin Name: Hypericum perforatum
St John’s Wort has most commonly been used for depression. It may possibly be useful for symptoms of menopause, somatization disorder and wound healing (need further research.


This herb has been used for many other medical conditions but there is no proof or it has been proven ineffective for this use. Some include:

  • Pain in the mouth (burning mouth syndrome)
  • Hepatitis C infection
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Nerve pain
  • Social nervousness

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Angioplasty
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Brain tumor
  • Herpes
  • Migraine headache
  • OCD
  • PMS
  • Smoking cessation
  • Tooth pulling
  • Bruises
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Excitability
  • Muscle pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Skin conditions
  • Stomach upset
  • Weight loss

“It is a flowering plant in the family Hypericaceae. Although used as a medicinal herb with possible antidepressant activity, high-quality clinical evidence for such effects is absent, and no H. perforatum drug has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.[3] The plant is poisonous to livestock.[4]

The primary phytochemical constituent of St John’s wort is hyperforin.[5]

Perforate St John’s wort is a herbaceous perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its reddish stems are erect and branched in the upper section, and can grow up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) high. The stems are woody near their base and may appear jointed from leaf scars.[6] The branches are typically clustered about a depressed base. It has opposite and stalkless leaves that are narrow and oblong in shape and 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) long.[7] Leaves borne on the branches subtend the shortened branchlets. The leaves are yellow-green in color, with scattered translucent dots of glandular tissue.[8] The dots are conspicuous when held up to the light, giving the leaves the “perforated” appearance to which the plant’s Latin name refers. The flowers measure up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in) across, have five petals and sepals and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots.[9] The flowers appear in broad helicoid cymes at the ends of the upper branches, between late spring and early to mid-summer. The cymes are leafy and bear many flowers. The pointed sepals have black glandular dots. The many stamens are united at the base into three bundles. The pollen grains are ellipsoidal.[2] The black and lustrous seeds are rough, netted with coarse grooves.[10]

When flower buds (not the flowers themselves) or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.[11]

—-wiki article

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I have a small amount of this plant growing in my yard and have noticed that it doesn’t like being transplanted. None of mine has grown as well as the one in the picture. Although I wish that it would.

Related Links



National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

ABC Herbalgram

Alternative Medicine Review

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