ST JOHNS WORT - hypericum perforatum

The blooms are pretty yellow flowers with 5 petals, and it is a winter hardy perenniel that can spread but is not neccasarily invasive. Description: Historically the astringent and antibacterial leaves have been used medicinally and are still used externally by herbalists to treat burns. St. Johns Wort is gaining popularity as an alternative treatment for some forms of depression.

For centuries, northern European women wore hypericum to repel demon lovers. With the spread of Christianity the plant was associated with John the Baptist; it was said that it flowers on his birthday and bleeds red oil in August on the day he was beheaded.

Yellow and red dyes are obtained depending on the mordant used. The infused oil of the flowers is also used by herbalists in liniment type massage oils for minor aches and pains.

When you hold the leaves of the true hypericum perforatum up to the light you can see hundreds of little holes (or perforations) where the sunlight shows through, this is an identification key to know you have the true St. Johns Wort of legend among herbalists.

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