Hypericum perforatum is a yellow-flowering, stoloniferous or sarmentose, perennial herb indigenous to Europe, which has been introduced to many temperate areas of the world and grows wild in many meadows. The common name comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John's day, 24 June. The genus name Hypericum is derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the traditional use of the plant to ward off evil, by hanging plants over a religious icon in the house during St John's day. The species name perforatum refers to the presence of small oil glands in the leaves that look like windows, which can be seen when they are held against the light.
St John's wort is a perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its stems are erect, branched in the upper section, and can grow to 1 m high. It has opposing, stalkless, narrow, oblong leaves that are 12 mm long or slightly larger. The leaves are yellow-green in color, with transparent dots throughout the tissue and occasionally with a few black dots on the lower surface. Leaves exhibit obvious translucent dots when held up to the light, giving them a ‘perforated’ appearance, hence the plant'sLatinname.
Its flowers measure up to 2.5 cm across, have five petals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots. The flowers appear in broad cymes at the ends of the upper branches, between late spring and early to mid-summer. The sepals are pointed, with glandular dots in the tissue. There are many stamens, which are united at the base into three bundles. The pollen grains are ellipsoidal.
1. St John's wort is widely known as an herbal treatment for depression. In some countries, such as Germany, it is commonly prescribed for mild depression, especially in children and adolescents. It is proposed that the mechanism of action of St. John's wort is due to the inhibition of the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters.
2.St. John's wort is also being studied for anxiety because, in some studies on depression, people taking St. John's wort also reported an improvement in anxiety. More research is needed
3.St. John’s wort has also been suggested as a possible treatment for OCD because the same medications (antidepressants) are often used for OCD, and because of promising results from a preliminary study. A later study on St. John's wort, however, didn’t find it more effective than a placebo for OCD.
4. Oil of St. John's wort, applied to the skin, was a folk remedy for skin injuries, nerve pain, burns, and hemorrhoids. Although the oil is sold in some herbal stores, creams are also available. Some are standardized to hypericin or hyperforin, which are thought to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. St. John's wort also contains tannins, naturally occurring compounds thought to relieve skin irritations, such as those resulting from minor cuts.
5. Some alternative practitioners recommend St. John's wort for ear pain due to an ear infection (otitis media). In a study of more than 100 children, a combination of herbal ear drop that contained St. John's wort, garlic, calendula, and mullein was found to be as effective as conventional ear drops.
6.St. John's wort is being explored for smoking cessation. Although promising, well-designed studies are needed.
7.St. John's wort has also been explored for conditions that can have psychological symptoms, such as insomnia, menopausal symptoms, premenstrual syndrome, seasonal affective disorder, and attention deficit disorder. Further studies are needed before recommendations can be made.
Anxiolytic, sedative, astringent, anti-inflammatory, topically analgesic, and antiseptic. Indications: Excitability, neuralgia, fibrositis, sciatica. Topically for wounds. Specifically indicated in menopausal neurosis.
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