Lesser known facts about a well- known Midsummer herb
St Johns Wort
St Johns Wort, is ruled by the sun. Its folk uses are steeped in magic and superstition. It was thought to banish unwanted apparitions and negativity if carried, and banish them from your dreams if placed under the pillow. Supposedly, if you hang it from the rafters, whichever piece wilts first over the people living there, signifies who will pass first. More than anythin, it was believed to protect the wearer. Folks began picking the buds on St Johns Eve, or Midsummer eve, the longest day of the year.
In modern day use, its a popular antidepressant but I mainly use it topically. The plant is activated by sunlight, and will turn oils a bright red. Interestingly, you can use the plant for burns, but taking it or applying it can also increase photosensitization, making you burn more easily.
St Johns properties include being antiviral, euphoric, sedating, expectorant, cholagogic, antimicrobial, and tonic.
This translates into use in detoxification and cleansing, as well as against infections, and calming the nervous system.
It combines well with lemon balm for depression.
Make sure and research its contraindications, there have been multiple studies on its use and how it can affect the effectiveness of certain medications as well as photosensitive.
St Johns does not grow well in Central Texas but, as there are 400 species, we do have a native variety, Hypericum hypericoides, or St Andrews Cross, which grows into a shrub. Otherwise, the official species is a weedy invasive, non-native plant in N America that can be found in open fields and even the sides of roads. It is common in Northern climates of the US across from the West Coast to the East Coast. The most active part of the plant is the top 6-12 inches in bloom.
In commerce, the only decent herb I have been able to obtain was either directly from herbalists, or @zackwoodsherbfarm
Anywhere else, was mostly leaf.
Substitutes if you cannot obtain it may include Wood Betony or Prickly Ash.
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