Continuing the story about the vast Siberia and its riches, today we will talk about the well-known St. John's wort. This herbaceous shrub up to 30-70 cm tall with single yellow flowers grows on the edges, meadows, deciduous and pine forests of the Northern Hemisphere, but is not as simple as it seems at first glance.
What is the Mystery and Power of St. John's wort
Legends were made up about the origin of St. John's wort. It was believed that this herb appeared from the feather of a firebird that brought fire to the Earth and was then injured. Because of the bright red pigment on the petals and leaves, people believed that the plant appeared in place of the drops of blood that fell from the head of John the Baptist. Since St. John's wort blooms in June, it has always been associated with the summer solstice and attributed to it magical properties to expel evil spirits and serve as a talisman.
In Russia this plant is called “zveroboy”, which means “the one that brings death to the animals”. Many people are wondering: Where did such a pretty plant with bright yellow flowers get such an intimidating name? The fact is that this plant is really dangerous for cows and sheep, as it can cause poisoning and general malaise by animals. According to other assumptions, the word St. John's wort comes from the Kazakh "jerabai", which means "healer of wounds".
St. John's wort was already used as a medicinal plant in Ancient Greece and Rome, Hippocrates and Dioscorides wrote about its properties. In Ancient Rus, St. John's wort was considered a herb for 99 diseases. Infusions from the plant were used to treat heart diseases, rheumatism, colds, headaches, liver diseases, stomach, bladder, etc.
Not a Plant, but a Field Pharmacy
There are more than 300 species of St. John's wort, but for medicinal purposes, common St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is of interest. It got such name because of the small glands on the leaves, which are filled with a red coloring substance – hypericin. It is thanks to hypericin and hyperforin, which can increase the level of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the body, that St. John's wort is now recognized as an effective herbal antidepressant, which is confirmed by scientific research.
St. John's wort contains many other useful substances: Antioxidants, flavonoids (rutin, quercetin), phenolic acids and carotenoids (violaxanthin, lutein, etc.), saponins, phytoncides – vegetable "antibiotics", tannins and resinous substances, essential oils, tocopherol, vitamins C, P, B vitamins, as well as iron, zinc, manganese, potassium, selenium, copper.
St. John's wort is used in various branches of traditional and folk medicine as an antibacterial, antiseptic, analgesic, wound healing, antirheumatic, diuretic and choleretic, astringent solution.
Beneficial Properties of St. John's wort
Due to its multicomponent composition, the plant has a number of beneficial effects on the human body:
A blend of herbs based on St. John's wort, tansy and corn stigmas promotes a gentle cleansing of toxins and metabolic products, increases the protective functions of the liver and prevents the development of inflammatory processes.
Such a detox helps reduce the load on the internal organs and increase the tone of the body.
Did you know that the known St. John's wort has such a rich history and so many useful properties?