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Hypericum perforatum is a yellow-flowering perennial herb indigenous to Europe, which has been introduced to many temperate areas of the world and grows wild in many meadows. The common name comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John's day, 24 June. The genus name Hypericum is derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the traditional use of the plant to ward off evil, by hanging plants over a religious icon in the house during St John's day. The species name perforatum refers to the presence of small oil glands in the leaves that look like windows, which can be seen when they are held against the light.

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Identifying characteristics:
St John's Wort is a perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its stems are erect, branched in the upper section, and can grow to 1 m high. It has opposing, stalkless, narrow, oblong leaves which are 12*mm long or slightly larger. The leaves are yellow-green in color, with transparent dots throughout the tissue and occasionally with a few black dots on the lower surface. Leaves exhibit obvious translucent dots when held up to the light, giving them a ‘perforated’ appearance, hence the plant's Latin name.
Its yellow, five petaled flowers measure up to 2.5*cm across, have five petals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots. The flowers appear in broad cymes at the ends of the upper branches, between late Spring and early to mid Summer.. The sepals are pointed, with glandular dots in the tissue. There are many stamens, which are united at the base into three bundles.
When flower buds (not the flowers themselves) or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.

Transplant to waste areas, roadsides, and open areas.

Parts Used:
Leaves, Flowers

Wild Food Uses:
None Known

Medicinal Uses:
St John's Wort has emerged as the best selling herbal remedy for Depression. Outselling Prozac by 20 to 1 in Germany, where it is approved for use in the treatment of mild to moderate forms of depression. It is also used to treat nerve pain, and has been shown to have antimicrobial properties. It has been shown to kill staphylococcus aureus, (MRSA, also called golden staph, the most common cause of staph infections). I have also taken a course where the herbalist said he has treated TMJ with St. John's Wort, although I have not tried this, nor can I speak to it's efficacy. I can however say this is an extremely important medicinal plant, which no home should be without. I have used infused oils, and tinctures made from the leaves and flowers. Make sure to gather the plant when it first begins to bloom, as this is when it is at it's most potent. When the unopened flower buds, and fresh new flowers crush and form a dark red or purple dye.

Medicinal Actions:
Analgesic, Antidepressant, Anti-Infective, Antimicrobial, Nervine