St. John’s Wort

Latin Name: Hypericum perforatim (Hypericaceae)

Common Names: St. John’s Wort, Herba Hyperici, Rosin rose, Witches’ Herb, Terrestrial sun

Part(s) used: Flowering top

Form(s) used: Infusion, tincture, ointment


– Infusion: 8-14g, 1-2x/day
– Tincture: 1-2ml, 2-3x/day
– Ointment: 200g (dried) or 400g (fresh) prepared as directed, apply at least 3-4x/day or as needed

Herbal Actions

– Stimulant
– Somewhat Bitter and Astringing
– Cooling
– Dry
– Relaxing and Restoring
– Sweet

Clinical Actions

– Antidepressant and mild sedative due to hypericin constituents
– Nervine
– Antibacterial/ Antiviral
– Mild Liver Stimulant
– Anti-inflammatory and Wound-Healing

Constituents: Flavonoids, naphthodianthrones (hypericin, pseudohypericin), tannins, alkaloid, xanthone derivatives, volatile oil

Primary Uses: Reduces mild to moderate depression esp. for young and school-age children; provides relief from nervous exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia, and childhood enuresis due to nervine properties of herb; anti-inflammatory for complaints of the gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, genitourinary, upper respiratory tracts; used topically as an ointment to promote healing from wounds, burns, ulcers, bruises, etc.

Cautions, Contraindications, and Possible Adverse Effects: Herb should not be taken in cases of severe depressive states, and should not be combined with other antidepressant drugs or immunosuppresants. Be cautious if using during pregnancy due to herb being a mild uterine stimulant. There is risk of increased skin photosensitivity because of hypericin content, so when taken in concentrated or high doses, monitor skin closely since phototoxic reactions may occur after exposure to sunrays.


Written By: Sadie A. Garner, Clinical Herbalist


Resources Cited: Skenderi- p. 359, Holmes- p.124, 504-506, Actions Database- p.57, CSCH Notes- Materia Medica Nervous System

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