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St. John’s wort: properties, benefits and contraindications

The St. John’s wort , with the scientific name Hypericum perforatum and commonly called St. John’s wort or St. John’s wort, is a very common herbaceous plant that is easy to find in sunny and dry environments, such as esplanades or roadsides in almost all of Europe, as well as in Russia, America. , North Africa, China and Australia.

It is a plant that has been used medicinally since ancient Greece, in fact, some of its defenders were neither more nor less than Hippocrates, Plino the Elder or Galen. If you want to learn what hypericum is for, as well as discover its characteristics and how to take it, join us in this Green Ecology article , as we share with you everything you need to know about hypericum: properties, benefits and contraindications .

How is the hypericum

St. John’s wort is a perennial herbaceous plant that can grow up to 1 meter tall. It has small leaves, covered with small dark spots on the edges that can look like perforations, which is why its scientific name is hypericum perforatum . However, these tiny translucent dots are actually the glands that produce the essential oil of the plant .

Its flowers appear at the upper end of the plant, with 5 petals of a bright and striking yellow color. This same flower is the one that contains the active principles of the plant , in addition to the essential oil itself.

Properties of St. John’s wort

This plant is known worldwide for its soothing and antidepressant properties ; in fact, in ancient times it was commonly used to treat what was then called melancholy. Thus, St. John’s wort is used to treat insomnia, nervousness and anxiety.

However, its properties are not limited to the treatment of depression and similar disorders, but St. John’s wort also has analgesic, healing, antiseptic and astringent properties . It should be noted that although this plant is used to treat psychological disorders, in no case is its use recommended as a substitute for professional medical treatment.

St. John’s wort benefits

Let’s see some of the most prominent benefits of St. John’s wort taking into account the properties mentioned in the previous section.

  • Helps treat depression : due to its antidepressant capabilities, St. John’s wort is used in the treatment of mild depression and anxiety, helping to alleviate some of its symptoms such as insomnia, nervousness or irritability. However, and as we have advanced before, St. John’s wort for depression should be taken only after consulting its consumption with a professional doctor. If you want more information about plants with relaxing properties, don’t miss this article on the Chamomile plant: care and what it is for .
  • Combat the symptoms of menopause : St. John’s wort is also used regularly to make some of the discomforts of menopause more bearable. Among other things, it helps reduce hot flashes, mood disorders, fatigue, weight gain or loss of sexual desire.
  • Helps heal wounds : another of its uses is topically, as it is good for treating minor sunburns, minor bruises, minor skin wounds or muscle pain caused by overexertion or injury.
  • Reduces stomach pain : if you have a stomach ache or suffer from indigestion, as well as heartburn and gastritis, St. John’s wort can be a very beneficial natural remedy, something that is due to its analgesic properties. If you want to discover more ideal plants to treat digestive problems, take a look at this article on the Oregano Plant: care and what it is for .
  • It alleviates headaches : the same analgesic properties of St. John’s wort are also used to treat migraines, headaches and migraines.
  • Prevents the appearance of varicose veins : St. John’s wort helps to stimulate blood circulation, so its use will help you avoid the appearance of varicose veins and reduce the pain caused by those you already have.

How to take St. John’s wort

St. John’s wort can be taken or used in two different ways, as we will see below.

Topical treatment with St. John’s wort oil

On the one hand, the oil of this plant can be used topically, that is, applying it externally. To prepare St. John’s wort oil, follow the steps below:

  1. Collect the flowering tops of the fresh plant and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Pour the flower pieces into a jar and fill it with sweet almond oil or olive oil.
  3. Cover the container and let the contents marinate in a lighted area. You won’t have to touch it for the next 40 days.
  4. After this time, separate the oil from the remains of the flowers with a strainer and store the resulting liquid in safe jars. You must leave them in a cool and dry place.

This oil can be applied directly topically by massaging the skin or by soaking compresses in the case of minor wounds or burns.

St. John’s wort infusions

To treat stomachaches, headaches or anxiety problems, St. John’s wort should be taken in the form of tea. We explain how to take St. John’s wort as an infusion.

  1. Put water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  2. When it comes to a boil, add a large tablespoon of dried St. John’s wort flowers.
  3. Turn off the heat and let the infusion rest for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. After this time, strain the liquid and wait for it to cool a little to drink it.

Side effects and contradictions of St. John’s wort

As with most medicinal plants, St. John’s wort has some contraindications that should be addressed before taking it:

  • Do not take St. John’s wort if you are pregnant or breastfeeding , as the plant could put the baby’s health at risk.
  • Do not take St. John’s wort if you are under other treatment , since this plant could cause unwanted interactions with a good number of medications (anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, contraceptives, depressants, etc.) So, always consult a specialist before taking this plant for your account.
  • Be careful with St. John’s wort oil if you have very sensitive skin , because although it does not usually occur, irritations could appear if you abuse this product. In addition, it is advisable to cover the treated area with this oil after use, as it could stain or irritate your skin.

Now that you know the incredible properties and benefits of St. John’s wort, you may also be interested in learning more about the different types of aromatic and medicinal plants .

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