St. John's Wort

Uses

Principal Proposed Uses

Other Proposed Uses

Probably Ineffective Uses

  • Viral Infections

St. John's wort is a common perennial herb of many branches and bright yellow flowers that grows wild in much of the world. Its name derives from the herb's tendency to flower around the feast of St. John. (A wort simply means plant in Old English.) The species name perforatum derives from the watermarking of translucent dots that can be seen when the leaf is held up to the sun. St. John's wort has a long history of use in treating emotional disorders. During the Middle Ages, St. John's wort was popular for "casting out demons." In the 1800s, the herb was classified as a nervine, or a treatment for "nervous disorders." When pharmaceutical antidepressants were invented, German researchers began to look for similar properties in St. John's wort.

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