St. John's wort plant in my garden St. John's wort, also called Chase devil or Tipton weed, with its pretty small yellow flowers, growing wild in the fields, is well-known as a perennial herb with healing properties, indigenous in Europe. Its botanical name is Hypericum perforatum. The genus name, Hypericum comes from the Greek words "hyper" meaning "above" and eikon which means "picture". It refers to the orthodox custom of hanging the plant above a religious icon on St. John's day, to ward the house from evil. The species name perforatum comes from the translucent dots visible in the light on their small, opposing and oblong leaves. Leaves appear to be perforated, St. John's wort on the fieldhence the Latin name of the plant. Hypericum perforatum's stalk is strong, reddish (especially in the lower parts) and it grows tall, up to about 3 feet (1m).

The root has strong, creeping rhizomes. Flowers are yellow, with five petals; sepals contain Hypericum perforatum flower close-upglandular dots in the tissue. Stamens are many, united into three bundles.[1] The plant is considered invasive in many southeastern European countries, and even listed as a noxious weed in more than 20 countries. It becomes invasive in pastures and can replace native plant communities in natural habitats. If ingested in large quantities by lifestock can be poisonous and lead to death.[2]

For humans, Hypericum perforatum is a very good treatment for depression, stomach pain and liver.[3] Also, thanks to the antioxidants components, it can be used to prevent Parkinson's disease. [4] Hyperforin, a major constituent of St. John's wort, is contained in the oil glands, pistils and fruits. It has antidepressant and anxiolytic properties and also acts as a plant protection against herbivores.[5] Thanks to its antibacterial properties, the plant can be used for treating gram-negative bacteria. It also has antibiotic properties. Extracts from the plant can heal wounds, abrasions, burns and muscle pain. Hyperforin can be useful in the treatment of alcoholism.[6] However, the plant can't be used when associated with some particular Hypericum perforatum flowersdrugs, that's why you need to be very careful if you are following any treatment for your disease.[7]Hypericum perforatum blooms

Since we've gotten older, my husband and I have experienced some pains, like all people do; but the worst was burning stomach pain ( the so-called heartburn), were killing us. I used to "treat" it with lots of water and tea, which was working. My husband wouldn't follow my advice to drink more water when he had the burning sensation. He started to take more and more antacid pills, but the symptoms returned more frequently and he needed more and more pills.

A check-up with our doctor revealed that we both had gastritis caused by bile reflux in the stomach. Bread, garlic, coffee and smoking were some of the causes of our heartburns. The doctor recommended more antacid pills to keep the burning sensations under control, and changes to our diet. Since we've decided to quit smoking, the burning sensations have diminished, but after eating cake or more than one slice of bread, combined with lots of coffee, they appear again. Cutting out bread from his meals was good for my husband and he didn't have such bad burning sensations anymore. I am not a great bread eater, but I like cakes and coffee too, so I also needed to change my diet to prevent heartburn.

Bumble-bee on St. John's wort bloomsWhen writing an article about the herbs around my house, I researched about all those herbs, including the St. Paper bag in my hand while picking up St John's wort flowersJohn's wort. This is how I found out about its healing properties. And then it hit me: this could be our healer!

Last summer I harvested all the St. John's wort flowers I found on the field and in my garden. I went out every day with a paper bag in my hand and picked off all the blooms. This went on almost all summer. After harvesting, I put them on a large paper sheet to dry. I stored the dry flowers in a paper bag in a closet, together with all the other herbal teas. And since I was picking up so many St. John's wort flowers every morning, I started making a huge pot of tea, with a handful of fresh flowers for breakfast every day, when we're not having milk.

St. John's wort flowers on a paper sheetDry St. John's wort flowers

St. John's wort bush in full bloom in my gardenThis has become a habbit and it has continued ever since. The burning sensation after eating has diminished both for me and my husband. Even if we're experiencing a sudden burning sensation during the day, I make some St. John's wort tea immediately and in no more than five minutes, the burning sensations are gone. To prevent burning pain stomach over night, we drink a cup of tea in the evening and save some for the night, in case we're thirsty. The results are glorious: no more burning sensation overnight and, hence, no more antacid tablets for my husband, which also leads to a small economy in our buget!

If you want to experience St. John's wort tea for your heartburn, it may help you too! Please consult your physician or pharmacist before taking it or any other herbal supplement. This article should not be construed as offering medical advice.

[1] -'s_wort#Botanical_description

[2] -'s_wort#Invasive_species

[3] -

[4] -'s_wort#Depression_treatment_use

[5] -

[6] -'s_wort#Other_medical_uses

[7] -'s_wort#Adverse_effects_and_drug_interactions