St. John’s Wort

Botanical Name: Hypericum Perforatum | Family: Guttiferae

Common name(s): St. John’s Wort, Klamath weed


  • Perennial, herbaceous | zones 3-8 | 24-30 inches tall | bright-yellow, star-shaped flowers which bloom around summer solstice.
  • Full sun, partial shade; well-drained soil.
  • Found in mountain meadows and along roadsides.
  • Propagate by root division in spring or fall. Spreads readily (self-sows).


Harvest upper 3-4 inches of flowering leafy tops only when in peak bloom and bud stage, on a sunny day when the flowers will be dry. (Best harvesting is when the buds, when pressed between your fingers, give a spurt of purple or deep red. Test daily, the window of opportunity for harvesting is short.)


Parts: Upper 3-4 inches of flowering leafy tops

Infusion: 1 cup boiling water over 1-2 tsp dried herb, leave for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day

Tincture: 10-30 drops (1-4ml) 3x/day

External: Ointment/salve, foot soak, bath

Duration: Needs to be taken internally over a 2-3 week period to  effective for stress and depression**.


Constituents: Hypericin, Hyperforin, pseudohypericin, procyanidins, tannins, flavonoids

Actions: Sedative, anti-inflamatory, astringent, anti-depressant

Uses: nerve pain (including arthritis), neuralgia, depression**, anxiety, stress, menopausal anxiety and irritability, nervous system support, immune system support, treatment of winter illnesses, topical skin treatment for healing of wounds, bruises, varicose veins, minor burns and sunburns.


  • depression: rose petals and lemon balm in equal amounts
  • pain relief: black cohosh, cramp bark, sassafras, willow bark in equal amounts


  • **Holistic Herbal says this herb is not recommended for severe cases of depression.
  • Can cause photosensitivity in some individuals.
  • May not be advised for pregnant women (they should consult with their doctor)


  • Cool, bitter
  • Liver, nerves


  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • *The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
  • Medicinal Herbs, Rosemary Gladstar
  • photo credit: free photos & art via cc

I saw this growing wild in a field on an herb walk, but don’t have any personal experience with it yet!