Hello, everyone!

What a totally beautiful, true spring day today!
I have been so preoccupied with things indoors that I almost missed going out to the garden, and running around to see what was up and what was blooming, AND what needed cleaning!

I am sure there are gardeners reading this blog now and then, and if you are, and if you have a piece of ground – from the tinniest to the largest—around your abode, hurry and get out there, or, like me, you will be amazed how much work already is awaiting you!

But I love it, and do not complain.

For the first thing I saw as I was pushing leaves and dead branches out of the way of plants coming up from the ground were the tiny leaves of many herbs, one especially that I treasure: St. John’s Wort, (Hypericum Perforatum).

If you don’t know what St. John’s Wort is, or what its qualities are, and how beautiful it is, read on, and you will find out! And look at the photo of one of my plants from a few years back, maybe you will recognize it—or it will inspire you to run and buy one! (I do like to start my plants from seed, by the way.)

St. John’s Wort (named after the saint whose holiday falls around the herb’s blooming time) (wort , by the way, meaning herb in medieval English), is one fantastic looking plant, with bright yellow flowers, as bright as sunshine.

The brightness of St. John’s Wort’s flowers is what we need to see after the darkness of winter, and its chemical constituents are what we need after a period of inner darkness and sadness. Its shining yellow colors lift our spirits, and disperse our inner clouds.

For St. John’s Wort can treat many different conditions related to our spiritual (but also physical) wellbeing. It can help with tension and anxiety, but also with neuralgia and rheumatic pain.

However, St. John’s Wort is particularly recommended in the treatment of depression, sadness, and anxiety, and I have often recommended it as a tea, or, better yet, a tincture. When I use it, I often combine it with Chamomile, Skullcap or Hops—all of which have similar actions—the difference between these herbs and St. John’s Wort being that the latter is better on depression and the other ones are calming and relaxing herbs. But they do go well with each other! Or one can take it totally by itself.

So give it a try next time you are down in the dumps (!), and drink it throughout the day, 3-4 cups would be a good number to drink from am. to pm.

And if you feel up to it, do buy a very young St. John’s Wort plant, or grow one from seed (if you have the patience!). It can live in a pot by a sunny window all winter long, and you can take it out to a balcony or back yard or your Herbal Garden (which I hope you will start trying to have soon!)

Let’s drink our sadness away with a nice cup of this wonderful herb –a teaspoon of flowers or the powdered herb! Spring is around the corner, let St. John’s Wort and its sunny blooms chase away all our dark thoughts!

 

Charoula

If you have questions on any of the above herbs and their use, please contact me:

Ask Charoula about Herbs

 

All answers are posted on our website E-Wellness.com, on the following Friday.

Thanks for reading!

Charoula Dontopoulos
Certified Herbalist
Holistic Health Advisor
BC Polarity Therapy Practitioner

 


Questions and Answers

 

Q: Hello. St. John’s Wort sounds wonderful!

However, I have read here and there that herbs, though overall gentle, can also create problems because of the chemicals they are made of.  So I am wondering whether an herb that can act on depression (i.e. the mind) can possibly be a bit on the dangerous  side. How safe is St. John’s Wort?

A: You do have a point, generally speaking. Some herbs definitely require more caution than others—very few, however, and very rarely. I can promise you we will NOT be dealing with any such plants in this column.

In a future blog, we will definitely address the issue of safety much more in detail, but meantime I can assure you that the more well known plants we are discussing in these blogs are very well researched and very safe.

I consider St. John’s Wort a very safe plant, when taken as suggested by your Herbalist.

Q: What is the best way to use St. John’s Wort: Tea? Tincture? Standardized Extracts?

A: This question and the previous question actually go well together!

As one who has been using Herbs for a long time, I prefer tinctures! They are stronger than teas, but not as strong as Extracts.  Standardized Extracts are often strong enough to resemble a drug. Being that strong can sometimes cause some reactions for some people.

Always watch for symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, anything out of the ordinary—it just may be a reaction.

In such a case, stop taking the herb for a couple of days, and if you end up feeling better, it would be possible the herb did not agree with you.

Q: I am on some prescriptions for depression: does that mean I better not use St. John’s Wort?

A: Well, let’s put it this way: the leaves make a nice tea (albeit bitter!)  which is very efficient in cleansing our systems. However, for deep cleansing, eg. Liver/Gallbladder Detoxification, the Dandelion roots will do a better job.

In general, roots go deep into our systems and detox them, whereas leaves and flowers are great for sweeping out our circulatory, urinary, and lymphatic channels.

 

Please do consult your Holistic Health Practitioner, and most importantly your Herbalist before you use any herb, whether as a tincture, a tea, or a standardized extract.  Herbs are powerful!!!

I would love to hear more of your questions on any of our blogs, and specifically on any Issues you are wondering about!  Thanks for sending in your questions!

Ask Charoula about Herbs

Charoula