St. John’s Wort

by Daisy on 08/24/2010

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It sounds very Renaissance Fair, doesn’t it?  Anything with the word “wort” in it does, I think.

I had to look up the word, in fact, for this post, hoping it had a bizarre, archaic meaning, but really it only means herbaceous (non-woody) plant.  Unless you are talking ale, then it means the liquid produced from mashing grains.

St. John’s Wort, in particular, is a medicinal herb.  It doubles as a dyer’s plant, producing a yellow or gold color.  Lots of studies have been conducted to see if it works as a treatment for depression, but the results are often inconclusive and sometimes contradictory.  It’s been used traditionally for a slew of other complaints as well, something I find to be the case for most medicinal herbs.  What this means I hesitate to speculate, but it seems that once a use is found for a plant, it gets tried for many ailments.

If you want to read more about this plant, here’s a general overview.

It grew easily in my garden from seed, but it hasn’t flowered yet.  Hopefully it will and I can get some photos of the yellow blooms.

If you have experience of this plant, let’s hear it!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin August 24, 2010 at 9:09 am

It can also interact with other medications, so always consult a doctor before using!!!!!

Tanya Walton August 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

I have heard of this plant and I used to seeing growing wild in the hedgerows but have to admit to not having tried growing it myself…I do like my herbs though so maybe it’s one I should add to my patch!!

Lisa August 24, 2010 at 10:51 am

I have 2 St. John’s Wort planted in my garden. Mine have a beautiful tri-colored leaf with bright yellow, cup-shaped flowers on the ends of the branches. I’ve not used it for medicinal purposes. I planted it because my chickens had dug up the lavendar and I needed to get something to fill the spot. They just looked so pretty sitting on the shelf at the Feed and Garden store.
They don’t seem to grow very quickly. Mine have stayed fairly small.

Granola Girl August 24, 2010 at 11:16 am

Thank you so much for posting these various medicinal herbs and dyers plants. I’m making lists and planning for the acreage we will have in a year or so. Your plants and pictures make planning so much more exciting!

megan August 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

the flowers make a gorgeous red oil (when steeped in oil, that is). Traditionally used for preventing stretch marks and scarring. Usually, I make some, and then never actually use it for anything other than thinking how pretty it is.

Heidi August 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm

St. John’s Wort grows wild all over my 10 acre property. So far I’ve not tried to harvest it, but I do enjoy seeing the golden colored flowers and using them in wild flower arrangements.

Red Icculus August 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm

It is a great anti-depressant without causing much *ahem* “side effects” in men. One word of caution, it can counteract birth control.

Ambra August 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I have been rubbing St. John’s wort oil on my back for a nerve pain in my back and leg and it actually got better. I read somewhere that it works well for this type of pain (pinched nerves and sciatica), it’s well worth trying.

Rachael August 24, 2010 at 7:09 pm

In New Zealand it is considered a noxious weed as it has taken over huge tracts of Central Otago. In the home garden it is best to plant it in pots as it can become quite invasive. From experience in our family, we have found it is a great wound healer, also for nerve damage applied topically (the oil), and great as a herbal tea for depression , nerve damage, and wound healing (you can only enjoy the tea if you require it, or else it tastes awful!)

rose August 24, 2010 at 10:14 pm

this plant is superinvasive and is a dangerous plant to have around: This site details the fact that it can cause hyper-photosensivitiy and in large doses, is poisonous to cattle….and apparently in the West it is considered an invasive species driving out native plants . so, dig it up now and put it in a pot

Ariana August 28, 2010 at 8:39 am

My mother discovered, the hard way, that St. John’s Wart does not have the same anti-depressant effect on people with type O blood! (Here’s a site about it:

Strange, huh?

Isabella Baby September 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Wow. Ariana. That is strange. You know, I am a type O person but I was using this all along. I don’t know if it has any effect to me or what. But I need have it verified with my doctor for assurance. Thanks the post and thanks for the info Ariana.

Melanie Large September 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Oh. This is really a wound healer. My grandma used to use this to treat some minor wounds and scratches. What she did was to mix some scented oil with its extract and there you go! Instant wound treatment! Well, she has a lot of it in the garden anyway so that is why she uses it a lot.

Virginia August 6, 2015 at 6:27 am

Have been wanting to grow st. John’s wort. Can’t buy the seed in Calif. Something about it being invasive and dangerous to livestock…:(

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