St Johns Wort

August 10, 2018

St John’s wort, scientifically known as Hypericum perforatum, is a flowering plant in the Hypercaceae family which has been used medicinally to treat depression and a wide variety of ailments for thousands of years. Other common names for this herb include: Johnswort, Amber, Touch-and-heal, Goat weed, Hardhay, Klamath weed, Rosin rose, Hypericum, and Tipton weed.

St John’s wort gets its name from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John’s day on the 24th of June. The name of the genus Hypericum is derived from the Greek terminology hyper (above) and eikon (picture) in reference to the traditional hanging of plants over religious pictures in the home on St John’s day in a bid to ward off evil.

The plant has straight stalks and can grow up to 1m tall, with opposing, stalkless, narrow leaves approximately 1 – 2cm long. The leaves are green-yellow in colour and have scattered translucent dots which are highly conspicuous when held up to light. The flowers are yellow in colour, with 5 petals covered with black dots. It thrives in areas with either a winter or summer dominant rainfall pattern and will usually flower between late spring and early summer. While this herb is grown commercially in certain regions of south east Europe, it is considered a noxious weed in more than 20 countries and has introduced populations in South and North America, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. This plant acts as both a toxic and invasive weed by replacing native plant communities and forage vegetation, and causing illness to live stock upon ingestion.