St John’s Wort Medicine

by Amber Wood, certified clinical herbalist & nutritionist

Latin Name: Hypericum perforatum

Parts Used: Flowering Tops

Botanical Description 

This plant grows to a height of 1 to 3 feet tall. Its leaves are opposite and oval shaped with numerous bright, yellow, five-petaled flowers at the ends of many branching stems. The flowers stain fingers purple when they are pinched. When held up to the sunlight, the leaves appear dotted with little perforations, hence the name perforatum. Harvest the open flowers, buds and leaves from the top 2 to 4 inches of the plant beginning around the summer solstice through late July. 

Medicinal Properties & Uses

Saint John’s Wort has been used since ancient times as a potent wound medicine, a mood enhancer and a spiritual ally. During the Middle Ages, it was associated with fairies, witches and saints and was believed to protect people from ill-health and evil influences. 


Topically, Saint John’s Wort has powerful anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. It is a valuable remedy for musculoskeletal pain and inflammation and is especially helpful with inflammation irritating the nerves. It is specifically indicated for common types of neuralgic pain including sciatica, shingles, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and toothaches. The infused oil of this plant is particularly useful for skin inflammation, and it speeds up the healing of wounds, bruises, varicose veins and mild burns. 


St. John’s Wort has been traditionally used as a nerve tonic and has more recently become popularized as a remedy for mild to moderate depression.  Because it is a nervous system restorative, St. John’s Wort can improve conditions of physical and mental weakness, emotional and nervous exhaustion, long term fatigue, chronic anxiety and seasonal affective disorder. This herb is especially appropriate for mood changes and irritability associated with hormonal fluctuations during PMS and menopause. Its antiviral properties have been used for disorders caused by enveloped viruses (i.e., cold sores, herpes, chicken pox, shingles, viral hepatitis). St. John’s Wort can also support and improve gut function through its tonifying action on weak and irritated digestive organs. It is also considered a liver remedy and detoxifier.  By promoting the processing and elimination of toxins (including hormonal buildup) and thus reducing liver congestion, St. John’s Wort can help relieve tension, decrease anxiety, increase energy levels and stabilize mood.


 Infusion (Tea) Dried Plant

Tincture – Fresh Plant

Infused Oil – Fresh Plant


  • This herb should not be combined with any pharmaceutical medication without first talking to your doctor, pharmacist or herbalist.  St. John’s Wort interacts with a number of pharmaceuticals by increasing the rates at which they are broken down by the liver, thereby reducing their bioavailability and decreasing their effectiveness.  
  • St. John’s Wort may cause photosensitization if taken in high doses, especially by fair skinned individuals. 

Massage Oil Recipe {for Pain & Inflammation} 

1 oz  St. John’s Wort Infused Oil               

1 oz  Chamomile Infused Oil       

6 drops  Rosemary Essential Oil   

6 drops  Lavender Essential Oil    

Blending Instructions: Combine all ingredients together in a glass bottle and shake well to combine.

Be Happy Tea Blend Recipe

2 pt St John’s Wort

2 pt Lemon Verbena

1 pt Tulsi Basil

1 pt Dandelion Leaf

½ pt Dandelion Root

½ pt Marshmallow            

Blending Instructions: To make the tea blend, combine herbs together in a bowl and mix well. To prepare a cup of tea, use 1 Tbsp of tea blend per cup of water. Steep 10-30 minutes. Strain and enjoy!


The Book of Herbal Wisdom – Matthew Wood

The Earthwise Herbal: Volume 1 – Matthew Wood

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine – Andrew Chevallier 

Medical Herbalism – David Hoffman

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West – Michael Moore

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