Hypericum perforatum

St. John’s Wort

Hypericum perforatum


Habitat: A native European , including British, plant.

Collection: The entire plant above ground should be collected
when in flower and dried as quickly as possible.

Part Used: Aerial parts.


  • Essential oil, containing caryophyllene, methyl-2-octane,
    n-nonane, n-octanal,
    n-decanal, [[alpha]]- and [[beta]]-pinene, and traces of limonene
  • Hypericins, prenylated phloroglucin derivatives; hypericin,
    pseudohypericin and hyperforin
  • Miscellaneous; flavonoids, (+) and (-) – epicatechin.

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, astringent, vulnerary, nervine,

Indications: Taken internally, St. John’s Wort has a sedative
and pain reducing effect, which gives it a place in the treatment
of neuralgia, anxiety, tension and similar
problems. It is especially regarded as an herb to use where there
are menopausal changes triggering irritability and anxiety. It
is increasingly recommended the treatment of depression. In
addition to neuralgic pain, it will ease fibrositis,
sciatica and rheumatic pain. Externally it is a
valuable healing and anti-inflammatory remedy. As a lotion it will
speed the healing of wounds and bruises, varicose
and mild burns. The oil is especially useful for
the healing of sunburn.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a “sedative
nervine for muscular twitching and choreiform movements especially
indicated for nerve injuries to the extremeties and teeth/gums.
Promotes elimination of catabolic waste products.” They give
the following specific indications: Painful injuries to
sacral spine and coccyx, traumatic shock, hemorrhoids
with pain & bleeding, facial neuralgia after dental
extractions and toothache, neurasthenia, chorea,

Ellingwood considered it specific for “muscular
, deep soreness, painful parts. A sensation
of throbbing in the body without fever. Burning pain, or
deep soreness of the spine upon pressure, spinal irritation,
circumscribed areas of intense soreness over the spinal cord or
ganglia. Concussion, shock or injury to the
spine, lacerated or punctured wounds in any location,
accompanied with great pain.” In addition he recommends it
for the following pathologies: tumors, caked breasts,
enlarged glands, eccymosis, bruises, swellings.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling
water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse
for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture:
take l-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus

St. John’s Wort Aizenman BIu [Antibiotic preparations from
Hypericum perforatum L]

Mikrobiol Zh (1969 Mar-Apr) 31 (2): 128-33 Chaplinskaia MG
Shteinberg MA Tribul’skaia ZF [Study of the photodynamic action
of Hypericum in its external use]

Farm Zh (1965) 20(2): 47-53 Decosterd LA Hoffmann E Kyburz
R Bray D Hostettmann K [A new phloroglucinol derivative from Hypericum
calycinum with antifungal andin vitro antimalarial activity.]

Planta Med (1991 Dec) 57(6): 548-51 Derbentseva NA Mishenkova
EL Garagulia OD [Action of tannins from Hypericum perforatum L.
on the influenzavirus]

Mikrobiol Zh (1972) 34(6): 768-72 Gurevich AI Dobrynin VN
Kolosov MN Popravko SA Riabova ID [Antibiotic hyperforin from
Hypericum perforatum L]

Antibiotiki (1971 Jun) 16(6): 510-3 Holzl J [Is Hypericum
perforatum phototoxic? (letter)]

Med Monatsschr Pharm (1991 Oct) 14(10): 304-6Ishiguro K
Yamaki M Kashihara M Takagi S Saroaspidin A, B, and C: additional
antibiotic compounds from Hypericum japonicum.

Planta Med (1987 Oct) 53(5): 415-7 Ishiguro K Yamaki M Kashihara
M Takagi S Isoi K Sarothralin G: a new antimicrobial compound
from Hypericum japonicum.

Planta Med (1990 Jun) 56(3): 274-6 Jayasuriya H Clark AM
McChesney JD New antimicrobial filicinic acid derivatives from
Hypericum drummondii.

J Nat Prod (1991 Sep-Oct) 54(5): 1314-20 Jayasuriya H McChesney
JD Swanson SM Pezzuto JM Antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity
of rottler in-type compounds from Hypericum drummondii.

J Nat Prod (1989 Mar-Apr) 52(2):325-31 Kosuge T Ishida H
Satoh T Studies on anti-hemorrhagic substances in herbs classified
as hemostatics in Chinese medicine. IV. On anti-hemorrhagic principles
in Hypericum erectumThunb.

Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) (1985 Jan) 33(1): 202-5 Matei I Gafitanu
E Dorneanu V [Value of Hypericum perforatum oil in dermatological

Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi (1977 Jan-Mar) 81(1):73-4 Melzer
R Fricke U Holzl J Vasoactive properties of procyanidins from
Hypericum perforatum L. inisolated porcine coronary arteries.

Arzneimittelforschung (1991 May) 41(5):481-3 Meruelo D et.al. Therapeutic
agents with dramatic anti-viral activity and little toxicity at effective
doses: Aromatic polycyclicdiones hypericin and pseudohypericin.

Proceedings National Academy of Sciences 85: 5230-34 1988 Muldner
H Zoller M [Anti-depressive effect of a Hypericum extract standardized
to an active hypericine complex. Biochemical and clinical studies]

Arzneimittelforschung (1984) 34(8):918-20 Okpanyi SN Weischer
ML [Animal experiments on the psychotropic action of a Hypericum

Arzneimittelforschung (1987 Jan) 37(1): 10-3 Suzuki O et.al.Inhibition
of monoamine oxidase by hypericin.

Planta Medica 50:272-4, 1984

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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