St. John’s Wort for Depression

St. John’s wort is a common meadowland plant that has been used as a medicine for centuries. Early European and Slavic herbals mention it. The genus name Hypericum is from the Latin word hyper, meaning “above,” and icon, meaning “spirit.” The herb was once hung over doorways to ward off evil spirits or burned to protect and sanctify an area.  

The species name perforatum refers to the many puncturelike black marks on the underside of the plant’s leaves. Some sources say the plant is called St. John’s wort because it blooms on St. John’s Day (June 24); others say it was St. John’s favorite herb, and still others note that the deep red pigment in the plant resembles the blood of the martyred saint.

Whatever its name origin, St. John’s wort has a number of uses. It has been used to relieve muscle…

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