Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

St. John's Wort: Herbal Remedies

St. John's Wort: Preprations and Uses

St. John's wort can have many positive effects, if used correctly in herbal remedies to treat mood disorders and physical afflictions. Below are some tips on how to use this powerful herb.

Preparations and Dosage

The fresh buds and leaves can be made into oils for topical use or dried for teas and capsules. Oils are made by soaking pureed leaves and flowers in olive oil for four to six weeks.

Unlike most herbal oils, St. John's wort should be processed in direct sunlight. Below are some basic recipes for St. John's wort tea and tincture.

Herbal Tea: Infuse 2 to 3 teaspoons per cup of hot water. Drink several cups of tea a day.

Tincture: Take 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon, every four to eight hours.


Precautions and Warnings

Luckily, St. John's wort is a very mild herb and can be used fairly safely in herbal remedies. It does not bear any precautions or warnings, other than photosensitivity in very sensitive people.

St. John's Wort

St. John's wort doesn't have many known side effects.

With long-term use, the hypericin in St. John's wort may make the skin of a few sensitive individuals more sensitive to sunlight -- a condition known as photosensitivity. After eating large quantities of the herb, cattle developed severe sunburn and blistering.

Yet, after taking precaution with the sun, St. John's wort can be a useful way to relieve muscle problems, depression and anxiety.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.

  • 1
  • 2