Saint-John’s-wort. Saint-John’s-wort herb

Saint-John’s-wort. Saint-John’s-wort herb

Saint-John’s-wort. Saint-John’s-wort herb

Specification & Spread

Saint-John’s-wort herb — herba hyperici
Saint-John’s-wort — hypericum perforatum l.
Spotted Saint-John’s-wort — hypericum maculatum crantz ( = h. Quadrangulum l.)
St.-John’s-wort family — hypericaceae
Other names: John’s-wood, hypericum, tutsan.
Saint-John’s-wort It is a perennial herbaceous plant with a thin branched rhizome and a strongly branched taproot.
The stems are branched at the top, cylindrical with two longitudinal ribs 30–60 (100) cm tall. The leaves and branches are located opposite.
The leaves are oblong-ovate or elliptical, sessile, entire, with scattered on the leaf plate numerous translucent light and at the edges of the black dotted containers. It seems to be holes punctured with a needle – hence the name «pertusate».
The inflorescence – corymboline thyroid. The flowers are regular, with a five-leafed non-falling cup and a free five-pedal corolla; the sepals are linear-lanceolate, acuminate, the petals are bright yellow, oblong-elliptical.
The calyx and corolla also have light and dark containers.
Th stamens are numerous, accrete at the base in three bunches.
The pestle is with the upper three-cephalic ovary and three columns. The fruit is a three-capsule multi-seeded box, opening with three leaves.
It blooms in June – August, the fruits ripen in September.
Spotted Saint-John’s-wort
It differs with a tetrahedral stem with four longitudinal sharp edges.
The sepals are oblong-elliptical with a blunt tip.
Spreading. Saint-John’s-wort – Eurasian species. It is widely spread in the European part of the country (except for the northern regions), in Western and Eastern Siberia, in the Caucasus, in the mountains of Central Asia. For the Yenisei it is replaced by other species.
Spotted Saint-John’s-wort has the same range, but is more common in the northern areas and in the Black Earth.
Habitat. It grows on dry meadows, forest glades, in sparse forests, among shrubs, in forest belts, among crops. It is usually found in separate lanes, areas, large thickets form rarely. Convenient for harvesting young planting forests, overgrown cuttings and pairs.


The chemical composition of Saint-John’s-wort
The herb contains a variety of biologically active compounds.
The main active substances are photoactive condensed anthracene derivatives (up to 0.4%) –

  • hypericin,
  • pseudohypericin,
  • protopsevdogiperitsin and others.

There are also found:

  • flavonoids –
  • hyperoside (in herbs – 0.7%, in flowers – 1.1%),
  • rutin,
  • quercitrin,
  • isoquercitrin and
  • quercetin.

The herb contains:

  • essential oil, which includes esters of isovalerianic acid.

There are also found:

  • tannins (10-12%),
  • resin (up to 10%),
  • catechins,
  • leucoanthocyanidins,
  • carotenoids (up to 55 mg%),
  • nicotinic acid and
  • ascorbic.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The herb is harvested in the flowering phase (July – August) before the appearance of unripe fruits, cutting off leafy tops up to 25-30 cm long with knives or sickles, without coarse stem bases.
Security measures. For the resumption of populations of the plant is left for seeding. It is unacceptable to tear plants with roots. You can not use the same thickets annually, the frequency of harvesting 2 years.
Drying. St.-John’s-wort herb is dried in attics, under sheds with good ventilation, spreading the raw material in a layer of 5-7 cm and stirring occasionally. In dryers with artificial heating at a temperature of 40-60 ° C. The end of drying is determined by the degree of fragility of the stems. In the dried state, they do not bend, but break.

Whole raw materials
The tops of stems with leaves, flowers, buds and unripe fruits.
The stems are hollow, cylindrical, up to 30 cm long, with two (for St.-John’s-wort) or four (for spotted St.-John’s-wort) longitudinal ribs.
The leaves are opposite, sessile, elliptical or oblong-ovate, entire, bare, up to 3.5 cm long, up to 1.4 cm wide. In common Saint-John’s-wort the leaves are with numerous translucent receptacles in the form of bright spots. Numerous flowers, about 1-1.5 cm in diameter, are gathered in a scaly-paniculate inflorescence.
The calyx is schistophylous, deeply divided to five, the sepals are lanceolate, thin-pointed (in St.-John’s-wort) or oblong-elliptic with a dull tip (in spotted St.-John’s-wort).
The head is voile, 2-3 times as long as the calyx, there are five petals.
The stamens are numerous, fused at the base of the threads in three bunches.
The fruit is a three-capsule multi-seeded box.
The colour of the stems varies from greenish yellow to greyish green, sometimes pinkish purple; the leaves – from greyish-green to dark green; the petals – bright yellow or yellow, with black dots, clearly visible under a magnifying glass; the fruits – greenish brown. The smell is weak, peculiar. The taste is bitter, slightly astringent.
Milled raw materials
The pieces of stems, leaves (greyish-green), flowers (yellow) of various shapes and unripe fruits passing through a sieve with holes of 7 mm in diameter.
The smell is weak, peculiar. The taste is bitter, slightly astringent.
Distinctive features of various types of St.-John’s-wort:
Common St.-John’s-wort L. Hypericum perforatum L. Is bare, 30-80 cm high, cylindrical with two ribs, oblong-ovate or elliptical, 1-3 cm long, bare, with numerous translucent dark and light receptacles, with rare black dots; the petals are golden yellow with black and light glands.
Spotted St.-John’s-wort – Hypericum maculatum (Crantz)(H. quadrangulum L.) is bare, 30-70 cm tall, tetrahedral, egg-shaped or elliptical, 0.5-3.5 cm long, bare, with diffuse transparent dots, paniculate, four-edged sepal, obtuse; the petals are golden yellow with black glands on the edge.
Siberian St.-John’s-wort – Hypericum elegans (Steph). Is bare, 20–80 cm tall, cylindrical with two ribs, ovate-lanceolate, cordate at base, 1.5–2.5 cm long, bare, with black dots wide, almost pyramidal whisk on top of teeth; the petals are light yellow, with black glands on the edge.
Mountain John’s-wort – L. Hypericummontanum is low-pubescent, 30-60 cm high, cylindrical Oblong-ovate, bare, 1.5-5 cm long, rare, short, oval broom of the sepal on the edge of black-iron-toothed; pale yellow petals.
Bent St.-John’s-wort – Hypericum hirsutum L. Is dense, 50-100 cm tall, cylindrical, egg-shaped or elliptical, short-stemmed, 1.5-5 cm long, densely pubescent, without receptacles; the petals are golden yellow.
Qualitative reactions
When a 2% alcohol solution of aluminum chloride is added to 50% alcohol extract from the herb of St.-John’s-wort, a greenish-yellow coloring (flavonoids) develops.

Properties and application

Saint-John’s-wort herb has versatile pharmacological properties.
The main pharmacological effect of Saint-John’s-wort –

  • antispasmodic action associated with the presence of flavonoids in the plant. This action is manifested in the smooth muscle elements of the stomach, intestines, biliary tract, blood vessels.

The Saint-John’s-wort preparations have:

  • astringent
  • anti-inflammatory and
  • antiseptic properties
  • have a stimulating effect on regenerative processes.

In recent years, a careful study of Saint-John’s-wort has revealed it

  • pronounced antidepressant effect. This action is due to the presence in its composition of hypericin and other components acting on the structure and function of the brain.


  • increases the adaptation of the psycho-emotional sphere under stress. Due to the photosensitizing effect of hypericin, St. John’s wort increases skin sensitivity to the action of light and ultraviolet rays, which is especially pronounced in albino animals.

When eating hay with large admixtures of Hypericum, animals show signs of poisoning.
Biologically active substances of St.-John’s-wort herb (a mixture of higher alcohols, carotenoids, tocopherols):

  • have anti-inflammatory effects.

A variety of biologically active substances in St.-John’s-wort causes a versatile use of its preparations.
The infusion and tincture of St.-John’s-wort herb is used as:

  • antispasmodic,
  • knitting
  • disinfectant and
  • anti-inflammatory preparations.

Water infusions of St.-John’s-wort is prescribed:

  • with gastritis,
  • in acute and chronic enteritis and colitis,
  • in biliary dyskinesia,
  • cholecystitis,
  • gallstone disease,
  • hepatitis,
  • flatulence.

St.-John’s-wort tincture is used to rinse when:

  • chronic tonsillitis,
  • angina,
  • gingivitis
  • stomatitis.

The St.-John’s-wort preparations are prescribed:

  • with depression of mild and moderate severity, including in a state of anxiety, fear, insomnia;
  • with asthenic syndrome.

With prolonged application of St.-John’s-wort preparations may occur:

  • dyspeptic symptoms
  • photosensitization (during treatment, ultraviolet radiation should be avoided).
  • Photosensitivity,
  • hypertension,
  • pregnancy and lactation,
  • idiosyncrasy.