Thursday, 4 December 2008

St John's Wort - No St John's Medical Assistance Needed

St John's Wort - No St John's Medical Assistance NeededI have seen the herb St John's Wort ever since I can remember but in supermarkets, health shops and chemist as a processed medicine in various forms I thought it was about time it was looked into, after all, the products off the shelf all originate form the natural herb of St John Wort.

Why can't we find or grow our own St John's Wort and produce homemade tonics instead of paying high street prices? This is a versatile herb that can be used as a an effective medicine both internally and externally, as a drink, a flavourer, a dye and allegedly like so many other herbs brings out magical powers.

St John's Wort is also known as Tipton's Weed, Goat Weed or Klamath Weed. There are around 370 species of this herb from all around the world. St John's Wort is well known as an effective herbal treatment for many ailments. Medicinal use of the herb dates back to ancient Greece.

It can treat severe depression, alcohol cravings alongside bed wetting, and insomnia. It has been found to slow down or restrict the growth of HIV and AIDS in animals, watch this space. The oil extract of St. John's Wort is used for intestinal and stomach problems with the lotion form speeding up the healing of many skin problems, especially sunburns.

In Germany it is used for mild depression, especially in children and teenagers mainly based on the fact that it is cheaper and just as affective as more conventional medical remedies. Native Americans use it for anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic symptoms.

St John's Wort - No St John's Medical Assistance NeededIt has yellow flowers and is a perennial herb, which grows wild in many meadows. It like well drained sunny positions where it will thrive. It used to be used to dispel evil by hanging plants over a picture in the house during St John's day after St John the Baptist. With this, the name St John comes from the history of its flowers and harvest on St John's day, 24 June. The word 'Wort' comes from the an Old English word meaning 'root.'

The plant seeds that are produced are small, numerous black three-celled capsules. The flowers have five yellow-petals that measure around 20 mm across coming out to bloom late spring and mid-summer. The leaves have distinctive dots that are translucent looking as if they have been perforated. There is a purple liquid extracted if the flowers or seedpods are squeezed, this can produce red and yellow dyes that are used from the herb.

St. John's Wort has been widely used by many cultures to exorcise demons and spirits. It is said that if you hang some around your neck it will scare off fevers. It is also believed in some circles that burning St John's Wort is effective for exorcisms. Still on the magical uses, it is also worn to strengthen the resolve of the wearer and him or her invincible in war.

Growing the plant is easy. You can transfer the plant as a whole into you own garden or grow it from seeds or cuttings. When harvesting you need to put it in a dark, warm place until it completely dries out. Once dried and will retain the active ingredients in the form of an herbal tea has long been enjoyed help with anaemia, headaches, jaundice, feminine problems and chest congestion. It has a pleasant, but slightly sour taste. Alternatively, you can use the herb in a press to extract the red oil it produces from the leaves. This will keep for a couple of years if kept in a dark container.

St John's Wort is used in some instances for flavouring distilled spirits. Finding this out give me mind to try it in a litre or two of my own homemade Bulgarian rakia next year.

St John's Wort - No St John's Medical Assistance NeededMaking your own St John's Wort infusion (technically tea) is simply a matter of putting 1 teaspoonful of dried St John's Wort in a small cup of hot water and steep for around 5 minutes. This should be drink twice a day one cup at the start and at the end of the day.

If you are into the natural colourings or dyes, you can use the top of the plant which make the yellow dye which is ideal for wool.

St John's Wort is a beautiful herb in many ways and certainly a herb to take serious with so many medical and other fringe benefits it possesses.

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