PART 2. THE HERBS
HYPERICUM PERFOR ATUM
If you’ve taken any sort of road trip across the United States and Canada you’ve probably seen this herb growing abundantly on the side of the road. This herb is widely studied due to its powerful antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, and antibacterial properties. Research has shown it’s able to suppress the AIDS virus, herpes virus, cancer proliferation, and more. Its striking buds are probably best known for their impact on feel-good neurotransmitters, including serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine, making it a powerful antidepressant remedy. (It takes three weeks of consistent use for its mood-boosting effects to kick in.)
Did You Know?
Hippocrates was a big fan of St. John’s wort and recorded its uses in his medical records. It’s natively European, but has proliferated pretty much everywhere. Australia, which now grows it as an exportable crop, produces 20 percent of the global supply.
MEDICINAL: Treats depression, stress, anxiety, shingles, herpes, sprains, wounds, burns, stings, and other injuries; eases symptoms of PMS and menopause; combats fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, muscle pain, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood swings, migraines, nerve pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); treats cancer, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis C.
COSMETIC: Reduces stretch marks, helps eliminate bruises.
•Apply as a salve, ointment, poultice, tincture, or oil
•Drink as a tea
St. John’s wort should be used under the guidance of a doctor if you’re pregnant or already taking antidepressants. Some people become sensitive to light when taking this herb. If this happens (skin becomes itchy, bumpy, red, inflamed), simply discontinue use or cut back on the dosage.
Locating & Growing
Drench it, neglect it, shade it, or overexpose it to sun—St. John’s wort doesn’t care. It grows like a weed. Although it loves a sunny meadow in Zones 3 to 9, it sprouts easily and self-sows just about anywhere.