St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort (Guan Ye Lian Qiao)

St. John’s Wort (Guan Ye Lian Qiao)

Botanical Name: Western – Hypericum perforatum. Eastern – Herba Hypericum.

St. John’s Wort is a yellow flower that can lift your spirits and help stop bleeding.  It can be used with other herbs to help detox the liver but it is best known for relieving stress, depression and anxiety.

Below is an overview of St. John’s Wort, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of St. John’s Wort.

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Western Name: St. John’s Wort

Also Known As: Tipton’s Weed, Chase-Devil, Klamath Weed, Touch and Heal, Goatweed

Organs/Systems: Lungs, Intestines, Kidney, Blood, Nerves

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Anti-inflammatory, Antidepressant, Promotes Tissue Repair, Analgesic, Antibiotic.


Pin Yin: Guan Ye Lian Qiao

Also Known As: Tu Lian Qiao, Guan Ye Jin Si Tao

Meridians: Liver

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Clears Heat/Eliminates Toxins/Reduces Swellings: carbuncles, snake and bug bites, sores, urinary tract infections, red eyes, tonsillitis.  Stops Bleeding: hemoptysis, hermatemsis, and bleeding due to trauma. Dispels Wind Damp: relieves muscle aches and pains. Calms Shen/Smooths Qi: regulates Liver Qi to treat depression.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

St. John’s Wort is a perennial herb with extensive creeping rhizomes. Its stems are erect and branched in upper section. It has opposing stalkless, narrow oblong leaves with transparent dots throughout the tissue and occasionally a few black dots on the lower surface. When held to the light the translucent dots appear transparent. Yellow flowers appear in broad cymes at the ends of upper branches, between late spring and mid summer. The sepals are pointed with glandular dots in tissue and many stamens that unite at base into three bundles. When flower buds (not the flower themselves) or seeds are crushed a reddish/purple liquid is produced. Reproduces both vegetivalely and sexually. The whole plant gives off an incense-like aroma.

Indigenous to Europe, introduced to many temperate areas of the world, grows wild in meadows. Thrives in areas with either a winter or summer dominate rainfall pattern and distribution restricted by temperatures that drop too low for  seeds to germinate. Seeds can persist for decades in the soil seed bank. In some areas even considered a noxious weed. Likes gravely soils.

St. John’s Wort (Guan Ye Lian Qiao) Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaf, Flower

Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Acrid, Astringent, Neutral

Caution: Considered very safe.

History/Folklore: St John’s Wort’s common name comes from the flower being harvested on St John’s Day, June 24th. The genus name Hypericum comes from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture) in reference to the traditional usage of the plant to ward off evil by hanging the plants over religious icons on St John’s day. The species name perforatum refers to the presence of small oil glands on the leaves that look like windows when held against the light (i.e. light perforating the leaves).

It has been used to heal sword wounds as far back as the Middle Ages. The Crusaders used the plants red oil to sooth and heal wounds.  It was said that stepping on St John’s Wort at dusk meant a night spent on the back of a fairy horse.  Christians identify the herb with St John saying the plant’s red pigment is St. John’s blood from his beheading. General treatments dose at 300mg to 1000mg daily. Macerating the flowers in oil yields a red sedative, analgesic rub that alleviates neuralgia. Used in homeopathy to heal post-surgery, cuts and wounds.

The flowers bloom midsummer and when crushed turn blood red, the color associated with wounds, menses, fertility and childbirth. It was felt that the plant was most potent during this period. Culpeper wrote, “The decoction of the herb and flowers… is [also] good for those that are bitten or stung by any venomous creature.”

Key Constituents:

Hyperforin, Essential Oil, Tannins, Flavonoids, Resins, Glycosides, Carotenes, Pectin, Hyproside.

Did you know?

Not For Livestock

Eaten by livestock, St. John’s Wort can cause photosensitization, central nervous system depression, spontaneous abortion and death.


Expel Ghosts and Devils

The Ancient Greeks felt that one whiff of St. John’s Wort’s incense-like aroma would expel ghosts and devils.

Fun fact!

Associated with Midsummer

St. John’s Wort is often associated with midsummer and solstice ceremonies and rituals.

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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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