The Mystical Past of St. John’s Wort and Its Benefits

by Melissa Chichester

Meet the herb of the summer sun: St. John’s Wort.

For centuries, this herb has been a folklore favorite for spiritual protection. Today, it is better known for its use as an herbal supplement.

St. John’s Wort is a perennial plant, easily recognizable with yellow flowers. Native to Europe, it also commonly found in the U.S. and Canada in the dry ground of meadows and woods. In some places, it is considered an invasive weed. The plant is also known by other names, including hypericum, Klamath weed, and goatweed.

So what sets it apart from other herbs? Let’s find out.

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The history of St. John’s Wort 

The use of St. John’s Wort dates back to the ancient Greeks. One of its first potential mentions was by Greek physician Euryphon, whose writings of “Yperikon” in 288 BC may refer to its botanical genus, Hypericum. According to Gaelic legends, St. Columba thought St. John’s Wort was a lucky plant and carried it because of his love for St. John. Because it is considered a lucky plant, many cultures throughout history have kept sprigs of St. John’s Wort in the home and pressed in between pages of books for spiritual protection. Despite these historical references, St. John’s Wort remained relatively unknown until the mid-1800s. 

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The benefits of St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort naturally contains flavonoids, which contribute to its positive effects. It helps to promote a positive mood, so you can be your tranquil best.* It also helps to promote a healthy emotional outlook and supports a relaxed mental state.* 

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How to use St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal supplement. Capsules include:

If you cannot swallow capsules, St. John’s Wort is also available as a liquid supplement that can be dissolved into water.

You may even find St. John’s Wort tea and ointments available. 

St. John’s Wort can be a useful supplement for mood support.* Before adding St. John’s Wort to your routine, it is important to discuss it with your personal healthcare practitioner who knows your health history and medications you are taking.