Yellow blossom of St. John's wort with buds and green leaves
St. John's wort
[Hypericum perforatum]

St. John's wort: the natural antidepressant

St. John's wort is widely found along roadsides. It is immediately noticeable, because its bright yellow flowers shine directly at you. Like the sun, the flower shines brightly and warmly, signaling to you what the plant is all about! St. John's wort brings the light back to you and drives away the darkness.

Facts about St. John's wort

Did you know that...

... St. John's wort as a light plant blooms around the summer solstice, when the days are longest and is therefore a sacred herb of solstice dances?
... St. John's wort is good for burns and nerve pain? get red fingers when you grind the flowers?
...St. John's wort red oil is traditionally used in the relaxing Breuss massage?
...Hypericum was long used as a dyeing plant for fabrics and yarns?

What is St. John's wort?

Hypericum is a tough, herbaceous and upright growing plant that grows up to 100cm high. You can find it a lot along sunny meadow paths or hiking trails, as lean, sandy soils are enough for it. Due to its yellow flowers, it quickly catches the eye. In medicine, St. John's wort is one of the great nerve healing plants. It originates from Europe, North Africa and Central Asia, but is now found worldwide. What makes it special are its black dots in the petals. They give the impression of a perforated leaf, which gave St. John's wort its nickname 'perforatum'. The black dots contain the active ingredient Hypericum, which is the key to its effectiveness as a medicinal plant. It has been used as a medicinal plant for mood disorders since ancient times and is much praised.

General and medicinal properties of Hypericum perforatum

The basic knowledge

Wound healing

St. John's wort is wound healing. Especially for skin and nerve injuries caused by burns and abrasions it helps well. It soothes the pain by calming the nerves and promotes tissue regeneration.

Mood enhancing

Hypericum is mood-lifting. Even with more severe depressive moods, you can get a little light in the soul with St. John's wort. It works in the brain-nervous metabolism by blocking enzymes and lifts the mood again.

Nourishing for the nerves

Cold, heat and blunt injuries often lead to prolonged nerve pain. St. John's wort is nerve nurturing and promotes the regeneration of nervous structures.

Wound healing

St. John's wort is wound healing and antibiotic. It shortens the time until the wound heals and ensures that the wound does not become infected.

St. John's wort: ingredients

Mostly the petals of St. John's wort are used. Although they are not the only effective part of the plant, they contain the active ingredient complex in their black dots and so you can let the plant stand and live.

However, pharmacologically usable is the whole plant with herb and root.

You will find the following ingredients in Hypericum:

  • Hypericine
  • Hypericin and pseudohypericin
  • Hyperforin
  • Adhyperforin
  • Essential oils with sesquiterpenes
  • Flavonoids
  • Bioflavones


St. John's wort: effect for body and mind

St. John's wort is certainly known for its mood-lifting properties in depressive moods. There are also some studies that show that the effect of the whole plant is superior to the isolated use of hypericin. It is assumed that the other active ingredients support the effectiveness. It is important for you to know that the undesirable effect of photosensitive skin is less when the whole plant is used than when hypericin is administered alone. Hypericin acts in the brain as a monoaminooxidase inhibitor (MAO inhibitor for short). Monoaminooxidase breaks down neuro messengers in the brain. MAO inhibitors like hypericin block this breakdown, allowing neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine to accumulate. The result is that your mood improves. Hypericin also makes the skin sensitive to light. In a controlled way you can use this important component of the effect for yourself. Due to the higher light sensitivity, the skin absorbs more UV radiation and increases the production of vitamin D, the sun vitamin. Vitamin D is good for your bones, but also for your stress hormones and thus your mood. You just have to be careful that you don't get sunburn. The other active ingredients such as hyperforin, adhyperforin and sesquiterpenes provide St. John's wort with antibiotic properties. Therefore, St. John's wort preparations such as oily extracts or ointments are also successfully used for wounds with or without nerve injury.

Properties of St. John's wort

  • Mood enhancing
  • Antidepressant
  • Nerve regenerating
  • Wound healing
  • Soothing

Fields of application in naturopathy

[Hypericum perforatum]
As you have already read, St. John's wort can be used for several different issues due to its mix of active ingredients. Below we have written together the most important ones.

St. John's wort for cuts and abrasions

An abrasion can burn for weeks. However, if you have cut yourself deeply and injured a nerve, you may feel it for months. The healing wound is sensitive to pressure, too warm or cold water are really electrifying. Here you can make daily compresses with St. John's wort red oil or hypericum ointment. This helps the injured nerve to heal and makes the wound disappear in no time.

St. John's wort for depression

The effect of St. John's wort in brain metabolism is that it lifts your mood and thus reduces your depression. Because St. John's wort makes you sensitive to light, your skin absorbs more UV light and produces more vitamin D. This vitamin, in turn, has an additional positive effect on your stress hormone system. This vitamin, in turn, has an additional, positive influence on your stress hormone system and enhances the antidepressant effect.

St. John's wort against headache

Some headaches simply arise from nervous overstimulation. Since St. John's wort calms and regenerates the nerves, it can help you here.

St. John's wort soothes sleep problems

Sleep problems often occur in the context of low mood and depressive moods. You feel insanely tired, but sleep doesn't want to come and your head is spinning. Here you can use St. John's wort, e.g. as a tea, to bring calmness to the mind in order to find sleep. Maybe you should drink the tea already during the day in such conditions. St. John's wort taken in the evening can also wake you up. The mood lifts, but sleep stays away!
application area-sleep

St. John's wort for hypersensitivity during the period

Many women are stressed and tense during their period because of the pain. St. John's wort can help you both internally and externally. You can take capsule preparations or massage your abdomen with St. John's wort red oil. Possible cramps and hypersensitivity should subside and the days should become more bearable.

St. John's wort brightens the mood during menopause

Menopause is a very challenging time for women. You have symptoms and apparently no control over when or why they occur. Especially the mood swings stress you as well as your relationships. Here St. John's wort can help you through the change better by its nerve-calming and strengthening effect. It gives you back composure and calmness.

St. John's wort for skin problems

Due to its calming and nurturing effect on nerves, St. John's wort is always worth a try for skin problems such as rashes or acne. However, it should definitely be considered in the case of neurodermatitis. As the name suggests, the nerve metabolism and stress play a major role in neurodermatitis. Exactly the field of application of St. John's wort! St. John's wort promotes the formation of anti-inflammatory vitamin D in the skin and has a positive effect on your body's stress system.
Young woman with very clear skin after a shower

Notes on the use of St. John's wort

If you want to take St. John's wort, you should make sure that you take it throughout the day. Taking it after 4 p.m. can cause sensitive people to be awake and fit in the evening. There are various preparations on the market. Phytotherapeutic capsules with dry extract, tablets, alcoholic drops, globules, tea preparations, oily extracts and ointments. Whether you choose one or the other is up to you. People with alcohol problem should stay away from the drops as they are mostly alcoholic extracts. The dose for internal use varies from product to product, but 2-3x daily is a common rhythm for acute conditions. From the tea you can drink up to 3 cups a 200ml per day. Oily extracts and ointments are intended for external use. With the oily extracts are usually made thin rubs or massages. Under a plaster made or bandage one uses rather ointments. In principle, do not skimp on ointment. The most effective for wounds and skin problems has been shown to be the nightly ointment dressing. Here applies: Much ointment, helps much!

St. John's wort during pregnancy and lactation

There are no negative reports on this, but also not many studies. The thin knowledge base does not allow any statement and therefore advises against the use in pregnancy and lactation as a precaution.

St. John's wort in certain diseases

Caution is advised when taking other medications such as antidepressants, contraceptives and chemotherapeutic agents at the same time. Often St. John's wort has a reinforcing effect on their action. Be sure to discuss this with your therapist and do not make any attempts!

St. John's wort and sun

A desired effect of St. John's wort, if you take it internally, is that you produce more vitamin D through its light-sensitizing effect. But be careful: the sun can then also hurt you more and you get sunburn more easily! According to current research, however, there is nothing to be said against external application as an oil or tincture. So far, it has not been observed that external application has made the skin at the site more sensitive to the sun.

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Use the healing power of St. John's wort!

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golden yellow flower of St. John's wort with buds and leaves


St. John's wort

Botanical name

Hypericum perforatum

Plant family

Hard hedge plants

Other designations

Bloodwort, Hard hay, Jesu woundwort, Woundwort, St. John's wort


Around the summer solstice beginning (21.6.) until August

Harvest time

During flowering time, on sunny days


Sunny to partial shade


Europe, North Africa and Central Asia

Flower color

bright yellow to gold

Flower shape

turbinate, pentate

Leaf color

light green

Leaf shape

opposite, elliptic-ovate, tapered

Sheet properties

On leaf blades are glands for resins and essential oils

Soil type

loose and permeable, gravelly to sandy

Soil moisture



normal to slightly acidic (ph5.5)

Lime compatibility


Nutrient requirements




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