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Hypericum perforatum - St. John’s Wort

Hypericum perforatum - St. John’s Wort


Common Name: St. John’s Wort

Scientific Name: Hypericum perforatum

Plant Family: Hypericaceae (St. John’s Wort Family)

Primary Uses

Edible Parts: While the plant is not ingestible in its raw form, the herb and the fruits can be used to make tea. The flowers can be used to flavor mead, as well.

Medicinal Uses: St. John’s Wort has been used by herbalists for millennia. The plant acts as an analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, and vermifuge in various applications. The most prominent use of St. John’s Wort was in treating nervous issues, although it also has been tremendously successful at healing bruises and deep wounds, incontinence, and mood disorders such as depression. 

Meaning of Scientific Name: The name Hypericum derives from the ancient Greek “Yperikon” and a long evolution of Greek use. Historically, St. John’s Wort was used ceremoniously to dispel evil spirits, which relates to the plant’s medicinal properties and was likely inadvertently treating neurological illness within a patient. The most likely theory behind the plant’s name appropriately connects hyper (above) and eikon (a figure or spirit).

Designing with this Plant

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 or 6-10, with partial shade

Forest garden layer: Herb Layer



Christopher Hobbs, Ph.D. 

Plants For a Future

Gardening Know How

Balkan Ecology Project