• St. John's Wort

    Synonyms: Common St. Johnswort, Goatweed, Hypericum, Klamath Weed, Millepertuis, Saint Johnswort, Tian Ji Huang, Tien Chi Huang

    Family: Hypericaceae or Guttiferae

    Genus species: Hypericum perforatum, Hypericum japonicum, Hypericum erectum

    Type: Perennial herb

    Part Used: Dried flowering tops

    Homeopathy: Tincture of whole fresh plant

    Location: Europe, western Asia

    Actions: Abortifacient, alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant (MAOI activity), antidiarrheal, antifungal, anti-HIV, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antitumor, anxiolytic, astringent, blood purifier, capillary protectant, cholagogue, CNS depressant, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hemostyptic, immunoenhancer, monoamine oxidase inhibitor, nervine, sedative, tonic, uterine tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary

    Indications: AIDS (hypericin), anorexia, anxiety, asthma, bed-wetting, breast cancer, bronchitis, bruise, burns, cancer (stomach), catarrh, chorea, common cold, contusion, cytomegalovirus (hypericin), depression, diarrhea, dysentery, ear infection, earache, excitability, facial pain, fibrositis, hair loss, hemorrhoids, HIV infection (hypericin), human Papillomavirus (hypericin), inflammation, irregular menstruation, jaundice, lumbago, menopausal neurosis, mild neurotic depression, nervous exhaustion, neuralgia, neurasthenia, pain, painful menstruation, rheumatism, sciatica, snakebite, Staphylococcus aureus, toothache, tumor, varicose veins, wounds

    Homeopathic Indications: Asthma, bites, brachial neuralgia, broken bone, bruise, bunion, concussions, corns, coxalgia, diarrhea, gunshot wounds, headache, hemorrhoids, hydrophobia, hypersensitiveness, impotence, meningitis, neuralgia, paralysis, pertussis, rheumatism, scars, sciatica, spinal irritation, stiff neck, tetanus, ulcer, wounds

    Chemicals & Nutrients: Tannins (up to 10%)

    Preparation & Dosages:

    Decoction: 15-60 g, in 2-3 doses

    Dried Herb: dose 2-4 g or by infusion, 3x/day

    Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, dose 2-4 ml, 3x/day

    Tea: 2-4 g in boiling water, steep 5-10 minutes, drink 1-2 cups 2x/day.

    Tincture: 1:10 in 45 % alcohol, dose 2-4 ml, 3x/day

    Note: To obtain effect, use 2-8 weeks.

    Contraindications: Prozac, antidepressants, lactation, pregnancy.

    Drug Interactions: May potentiate MAOI therapy and/or antagonize antidepressants. Due to the diuretic action of this herb the following drug interactions are possible: increased risk of toxicity with anti-inflammatory analgesics; if hypokalemia occurs possible antagonism with antiarrhythmics and potentiation of muscle relaxants; antagonizes antidiabetic (hypoglycemic) drugs; may potentiate and/or interfere with antihypertensives; may potentiate lithium therapy; when taken with corticosteroids there is a risk for hypokalemia; may potentiate other diuretics and increase the risk of hypokalemia. Due to the antihypertensive (hypotensive) action of this herb the following interactions are possible: when taken with anesthetics an increased hypotensive effect; potentiation of antihypertensives; when taken with diuretics difficulty with diuresis and hypertension may result; antagonism of sympathomimetics. Interferes with the absorption of iron and other minerals when taken internally.

    Side Effects: (Possible adverse effects and/or overdose effects) Photosensitization especially in people with fair skin (sunburn-like inflammation of those parts of the skin exposed to strong sunshine).

    Warning: Hypericum perforatum is poisonous to animals. Tannins are incompatible with alkalies, gelatin, heavy metals, iron, lime water, metallic salts, strong oxidizing agents and zinc sulfate. Tannins precipitate proteins. Tannins may cause bowel irritation, kidney irritation, liver damage, irritation of the stomach and gastrointestinal pain. Long-term and/or excessive use of herbs containing high concentrations of tannins is not recommended. A correlation has been made between esophogeal or nasal cancer in humans and regular consumption of certain herbs with high tannin concentrations (Lewis, W.H. and M.P.F. Elvin-Lewis. 1977. Medical Botany. Plants Affecting Man's Health. New York: John Wiley & Sons.)

    Note: Hypericin has been shown to inhibit HIV replication in infected cells, protect laboratory animals from infection with some retroviruses, and is not toxic to cells. Hypericin has also been found to be effective against cytomegalovirus (CMV) and human Papillomavirus (HPV).

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