St. John'swort contains numerous compounds that possess documented biological actions, and are the focus of much study. Those constituents that have generated the most interest thus far, include the naphthodianthrones, hypericin and pseudohypericin, a wide range of flavonoids, including quercetin, quercitrin, amentoflavone and hyperin, and the phloroglucinols, hyperforin and adhyperforin. Also of interest to researchers are the essential oils, and xanthones.
Wise herbalists have always used the whole herb, and researchers agree, that it is an interaction between the many constituents in St. John's wort, rather than any one active ingredient, that is responsible for the wide range of beneficial actions this healing herb offers.
All parts of the herb are used medicinally, with hypericin content concentrated in the buds and flowers, and also present in top and bottom leaves, as well as the stem, though to a lesser degree.
Activity of Constituents:
Amentoflavone is antiinflammatory and antiulcer.
GABA is a sedative.
Hyperforin is an antibacterial agent active against gram-positive bacteria, is wound healing, a potential anticarcinogenic, and a neurotransmitter inhibitor.
Hypericin is strongly antiviral
Proanthocyanidins are antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, and vasorelaxant.
Pseudohypericin is antiviral and
Quercitrin is a MAO inhibitor, as are the Xanthones.
Xanthones are antidepressant, antimicrobial, antiviral, diuretic, and cardiotonic.
St. John'swort is an excellent wound healer. It possesses strong antimicrobial properties, is a significant antifungal and antibacterial agent, and is especially effective against gram-positive bacteria. It inactivates Escherichia coli at dilutions of 1:400 or 1:200, and is also active against Staphloccus aureus.
Two constituents of the herb, hyperforin and adhyperforin possess antibiotic effects stronger than that of sulfonilamide.
Burns heal rapidly with the application of St. John'swort. In one study using St. Johns'wort oil, first, second, and third degree burns healed at least three times as rapidly than those treated with conventional treatments, and scaring was minimal. Orally administered St. John'swort tincture demonstrated a remarkable healing of incisions, excision and dead space wounds, and has also been shown to inhibit keloid formation.
Studies indicate St. John'swort may enhance coronary blood flow as well as hawthorne, due to the activity of the procyanidins. It significantly increases the production of nocturnal melatonin, which means taking it will help you sleep better, and feel better.
St. John's wort has also shown promise in the treatment of chronic tension headaches, and also appears to be liver-protective. It is a proven antidepressant, best used by those who are mildly to moderately depressed. It is also historically used to treat neurological conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia. neuroses, migraines, fibrosis, dyspepsia, and sciatica.
St. John'swort is an ally when dealing with any fungal problem, such as candida (infusion as sitz bath), thrush (infusion as mouth wash), or an infection on the skin or nails(frequent soaks in infusion). Frequent applications of St. John'swort oil will also help in healing these infections.
Use the oil to rub on to tired, sore, achey, painful, overworked muscles. St. John'swort oil is legendary for relieving the pain and inflammation of back-ache, stiff neck, sore shoulders, bad knees, tennis elbow, and anything else that hurts.
St. Johns'wort has shown to be of considerable benefit to patients with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. (AIDS)
In one study, 16 out of 18 patients stabilized or improved during a 40 month period during which they were treated with St. John'swort. Only 2 of the 16 experienced an opportunistic infection during the time they took the herb.
Many studies have proven that St. John'swort inhibits a variety of viruses, including herpes simplex types 1 and 2, and HIV-1 viruses associated with AIDS. Researchers have concluded that both hypericin and pseudohypericin are uncommonly effective antiviral agents.
St. John's wort is also active against murine cytomegalovirus, para-influenza 3 virus, Sindbis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, and equine infectious anemia virus.
The antiviral activity of St. John's wort appears to be somewhat photodynamic, involving a photoactivation process to become more intensely effective. Internal use of St. John'swort is not recommended if you are currently taking a pharmaceutical antidepressant.