St. John’s Wort
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.
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
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.
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.”
Hyperforin, Essential Oil, Tannins, Flavonoids, Resins, Glycosides, Carotenes, Pectin, Hyproside.
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.
Associated with Midsummer
St. John’s Wort is often associated with midsummer and solstice ceremonies and rituals.
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