Saint John's Wort, so-called because it is traditionally harvested on St. John's Day, is a striking perennial herb indigenous to Europe. It is one of the most popular medicinal herbs in the United States with its primary use being to balance the mood.*
Considered a holy herb, St John's Wort was employed for a number of folkloric uses during the Middle Ages. It was once believed that the herb helped to protect people from curses, demons, and lightning.
In contrast to its many uses, some countries have identified St John's Wort as an invasive species and noxious weed. Though useful to humans, it can be dangerous to livestock, sprouting up in pastures and causing photosensitivity to the grazing animals that feed upon it. Ingestion of the plant may lead to health complications and even death.
Constituents of Note: Hypericin and related compounds, rutin, bitters, and tannins.
Traditionally used as a tea, sometimes available in tea bags; also used to make a red St. John's oil for use in liniments and lotions, but only from fresh material. May also be administered as a capsule or extract for convenience.
St John's Wort is traditionally used to support healthy mood and promote emotional well-being.* Numerous clinical trials have studied the efficacy of St John's Wort in this capacity, with most of them showing positive results that are comparable to conventional treatments.*