Saint Johns Wort
Saint Johns Wort was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to ward
against evil spirits; sprigs of the plant were placed upon the
statues of their gods. During medieval times, the Europeans used
the plant to treat all forms of madness and thought the plant to
have many magical properties since it blooms near the Summer
Here is a great legend regarding how it may have gotten its name.
It was used during the Crusades about 1048 AD as a battlefield
medication by Saint John of Jerusalem. He used the herb to heal the
terrible battle wounds suffered by the
soldiers. The herb worked so
well as a balm for cleaning and healing wounds that were dirty,
putrid and even septic that legends were built around its power and
the man who used it.
Paracelsus, a medical authority of the Renaissance wrote of using
Saint Johns Wort to treat wounds.
He was also the first to mention
using it for psychotic symptoms, which he called 'phatasmata'.
During our Civil War,
soldiers report in their journals of collecting
and using Saint Johns Wort to treat battle wounds. Many soldier
record the use of a wine made with Saint Johns Wort that would
steady the nerves.
Perhaps the most important writing on the psychological use of Saint
Johns Wort came in 1630AD when Agelo Sala stated that Saint Johns
Wort had an excellent reputation for treating illnesses of the
imagination, melancholia, anxiety and disturbances of understanding.
He wrote, 'Saint Johns Wort cures these disorders as quick as
The compound Hypericin was isolated form Saint Johns Wort in 1942
and has been used as an anti-depressant for emotionally disturbed
people. This tranquilizing quality from small quantities
increase blood flow to stressed tissue. There is a reduced
capillary fragility and enhanced uterine tone due to the increased
hypotensive blood flow.
Saint Johns Wort relieves pain, it has a sedative effect, and it is
used for treatment of neuralgia, anxiety and nervous tension. It
can be applied as liniment or poultice to relieve pain, for
treatment over the spine for relief of nervous diseases that are
related to the spine, sciatica, neuralgia, rheumatic pains, as a
lotion for pain relief, eases burses.
Saint Johns Wort is also known to be useful. for pulmonary
complaints (the release of phlegm in the lungs), bladder trouble,
suppression of urine, dysentery, worms and nervous depression. The
herb is an excellent treatment for chronic uterine problems and
will correct irregular and painful menstruation. The herb also
contains an alkaloid that is a heart and artery stimulant.
If you are using an
anti-depressant and you would prefer to use Saint
check for contraindications (things you should not take
with your medication), also consult with your physician. There is a
report of a side effect from taking Saint Johns Wort. In Australia,
where Saint Johns Wort is a rampant weed, it has killed pale-pigmented
sheep and goats by inducing photosensitivity. If an animal or a
light skinned human eats the plant, exposure to direct sun may cause
dermatitis, inflammation of mucus membranes. Though Pharmacognosist
Varro tyler, Ph.D., points out in his book The Honest Herbal that
problems rarely result from normal doses.
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Nutritional Herbology, by Mark Pedersen, Wendell W. Whitman Company, 1998
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 1987
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988