Hypericum perforatum


Florafinder.com. (2012). 7/3/2012 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA. Retrieved from: http://www.florafinder.com/Species/Hypericum_perforatum.php

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Thomé, O. W. (1885). Hypericum perforatum. Retrieved from: www.biolib.de.

Botanical Name: Hypericum perforatum
Common name: St. John’s Wort, Hypericum (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 826)
Family: Clusiaceae (Guttiferae) (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 827)
Parts used: Dried Aerial Parts (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 827)

Constituents: Naphthodianthrones (incl. hypericin and pseudohypericin); Flavanoids (incl. biapigenin, quercetrin and rutin); Xanthones; Phenolics (incl. hyperforin and adhyperforin); Procyanidins; and Essential oil (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 827)



  • Nervine
  • Anti-depressant
  • Vulnerary
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 826)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Astringent
  • Antimicrobial (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 559)


Folklore: An ancient remedy used to treat ulcers, burns, wounds, abdominal pains and bacterial disease, Hypericum perforatum has recently gained attention for the treatment of depression in clinical trials. The generic name Hypericum is derived from Greek and translates to “to overcome an apparition” (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 826).

While not a weed in its native Europe, Asia and North Africa, the plant has become a weed in most temperate regions of the world (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 826).




  • Nervous afflictions: excitability, menopausal neurosis and hysteria
  • Disorders of the spine
  • Spinal injury
  • Neuralgia
  • Sciatica
  • Muscular rheumatism
  • Urinary problems
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dysentery
  • Parasitic infestation
  • Jaundice
  • Haemorrhages
  • Menorrhagia
  • Bed wetting
  • Topically used to treat ulcers, swellings, bruises


Indications supported by clinical trials

  • Mild-moderate depression (high level evidence)
  • Anxiety
  • Orofacial and genital herpes
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Psychological symptoms of menopause
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Psycological symptoms associated with IBS
  • Aerobic endurance in athletes
  • Wound healing and scar healing (topical)
  • Mild- moderate dermatitis (topical) (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 826)


Has shown potential in:

  • Treatment and prevention of enveloped viruses (e.g. cold sores, genital herpes, chicken pox, shingles, glandular fever, cytomeglalovirus infection, viral herpes).
  • Sleeping disorders (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 826)


Preparation & Dosage

Tincture (1:5 in 40%): 2-4mL/tds

Infusion: 1-2tsp/1 cup water/tds

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 559)


Cautions & Contradictions:

Photosensitization has been reported at high doses (rare) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 559)



  • May interact with selected serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 559)
  • Evidence shows St. John’s Wort to increase activity of isozyme CYP3A4 and therefore may theoretically reduce the activity of drugs that are known substrates for this isozyme, such as:
    • Nonsedative anti-histamines
    • Oral contraceptives
    • Certain antiretroviral agents
    • Antiepileptic medications
    • Calcium-channel blockers
    • Cyclosporine
    • Some chemotherapeutic drugs
    • Macrolide antibiotics
    • Selected anti-fungals

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 559)

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