Tips for Growing St. John's Wort

COMMON NAMES:
St. John's Wort, Klamathweed, Goatweed, Hypericum. Amber Touch-and-Heal

LATIN NAME:
Hypericum perforatum

HISTORY:
This flower has been historically used as a treatment for a wide variety of superstitions and nervous disorders. Its name, Hyperieum, comes from the Greek word meaning 'over an apparition,' a link to the belief that St. John's Wort was such a powerful plant that it could ward off evil apparitions or spirits.

HERBAL PROPERTIES AND USES:
Medicinally, this aromatic plant is a nervine sedative, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, astringent, resolvent and expectorant. It has been employed for the treatment of urinary conditions, lung conditions, bladder issues, dysentery, parasitic infestations, diarrhea and a variety of nervous system complaints, including its modern-day application to depression.

It has also been used as a treatment for urinary incontinence in children, chronic cough, haemoptysis, blood haemorrhages, jaundice, bacterial and viral infections, HIV infection and AIDS, premenstrual syndrome, menopause, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), eczema, hemorrhoids, obsessive compulsive disorder and general social phobia. Due to this wide variety of treatment possibilities, particularly in regard to its use in the treatment of depression, St. John's Wort is currently one of the most frequently purchased herbal supplements in the United States.

St. John's Wort Cultivation and Growing Methods

ANNUAL/PERRENIAL PLANT:
Perennial

PARTS USED:
Herb tops, flowers.

SOIL REQUIREMENTS:
Does best in light, warm, sandy soil.

SUN REQUIREMENTS:
Partial sun is best for flower blooms, although they can grow in partial shade.

HEIGHT:
1 to 3 feet

SPACING:
1 feet apart, as the roots have a wide spread.

GROWING ZONES:
Grows throughout most of Europe, Asia and North America, and Zones 3 through 8.

PLANTING TIME:
Early spring after danger of frost has passed. Best to first plant indoors in a warm, sunny environment and re-plant in late spring. Transplant when seedlings are around two inches tall.

POLLINATION:
Propagated from cuttings, seeds, or division of roots.

FLOWERING/SEEDING TIME:
Seeds can take up to three months to germinate, and rootlets re-seed quickly. Flowers bloom in late July and August of the second year after initial planting.

HARVESTING:
Harvest when flowers are in full bloom. Both the leaves and flowers can be harvested. Cut off the upper 1/3 portion of the plant in July for harvest.

DRYING METHODS / YIELD:
Dry flowers and leaves in bundles, upside down, in a cool, dry place indoors.

PLANT YIELD:
Dried flowers may be stored in an airtight glass container for up to one year.

PRESERVATION / PACKAGING METHODS:
Dried flowers may be stored in an airtight glass container for up to one year.

ESSENTIAL OIL USE:
Essential oils are rare, but the flowers can be infused into a carrier oil for topical use. The oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory and aids in conditions of neuralgia, sciatica, sprains, burns, and fibrositis.

PLANT CHEMICALS:
There are at least ten groups of active components contributing to the effects of St. John’s Wort. The main classes are naphthodianthrones and flavanoids.

IS THIS AN EDIBLE PLANT:
Yes.

CAUTIONS / CONTRAINDICATIONS:
St. John's Wort interacts with many pharmaceuticals, so always consult with a doctor before taking. It has been related to photo sensitivity leading to to dermatitis and inflammation of mucus membranes. For this reason, people taking the herb over a long-term should avoid direct sunlight. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take this herb. This herb should not be taken with alcohol.

DRUG INTERACTIONS:
This herb should not be taken if you are currently taking any form of anxiety or depression medication, as it may interfere with the action of the drugs. Severe depression should not be treated with St. John's Wort. Other drug interactions include SSRIs, Tricyclics, MAOIs. Nefazodone (Serzone), the antihistamines Loratadine, Cetirizine. Fexofenadine, Dextromethorphan (cough medicine), Digoxin, as well as any drugs that drugs that suppress the immune system, any drugs that fight HIV, birth control pills, Reserpine, Sedatives, Anticonvulsants, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, drugs that treat insomnia,Theophylline, Triptans, Warfarin, Antifungal, Statins and calcium channel blockers.

Clinical Research About St. John's Wort

  • Brenner R, Azbel V, Madhusoodanan S, Pawlowska M. Comparison of an extract of hypericum (LI 160) and sertraline in the treatment of depression: a double-blind, randomized pilot study. Clin Ther. 2000;22(4):411-419. (DOI: 10.1016/S0149-2918(00)89010-4)
  • Chung DJ, et al. Black cohosh and St. John's wort (GYNO-Plus) for climacteric symptoms. Yonsei Med J. 2007;48(2):289-94. [PMID: 17461529]
  • Gaster B, Holroyd J. St. John's wort for depression. (Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:152-156).
  • Geller SE, Studee L. Botanical and dietary supplements for mood and anxiety in menopausal women. Menopause. 2007;14(3 Pt 1):541-9. [PMID: 17194961]
  • Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. (JAMA. 2002;287:1807-1814)
  • Kasper S, Anghelescu IG, Szegedi A, Dienel A, Kieser M. Superior efficacy of St John's wort extract WS 5570 compared to placebo in patients with major depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center trial. BMC Med. 2006 Jun 23;4:14. [PMID: 16796730]
  • Kobak KA, Taylor LV, Bystritsky A, Kohlenberg CJ, Greist JH, Tucker P, et al. St John's wort versus placebo in obsessive-compulsive disorder: results from a double-blind study. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005 Nov;20(6):299-304. [PMID: 16192837]
  • Kobak KA, Taylor LV, Warner G, Futterer R. St. John's wort versus placebo in social phobia: results from a placebo-controlled pilot study. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005 Feb;25(1):51-8. [PMID: 15643100]
  • Kumar A, Singh A. Protective effect of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) extract on 72-hour sleep deprivation-induced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage in mice. Planta Med. 2007;73(13):1358-64. [PMID: 17918039]
  • Linde K, Mulrow CD. St. John's wort for depression (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2000. [PMID: 15846605]
  • Schempp CM, Winghofer B, Ludtke R, Simon-Haarhaus B, Shopp E, Simon JC. Topical application of St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L) and of its metabolite hyperforin inhibits the allostimulatory capacity of epidermal cells. Br J Derm. 2000;142:979-984. [PMID: 10809859]
  • Schrader E. Equivalence of St John's wort extract (Ze 117) and fluoxetine: a randomized, controlled study in mild-moderate depression. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000;15(2):61-68. [PMID: 10759336]
  • Shelton RC, Keller MB, Gelenberg A, et al. Effectiveness of St. John's wort in major depression: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2001;285(15):1978-1986. [PMID: 11308434]

 

References

  1. Gray, Linda. Grow Your Own Pharmacy. 1992. http://www.botanical.com
  2. http://www.backyardgardener.com/pren/pg71.html
  3. St. John's Wort. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/st-johns-000276.htm
  4. http://www.rxmed.com/c.topstories/c1.cover.story/c1.cover.story.st.john.wort.html

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.