St. John's Wort herb had its claim to fame in the United States when received the European clinical research confirming its effectiveness in the treatment of depression. The new popularity was no surprise among many herbalists. They have been using it not only for depression but also for the treatment traditionally for many other ailments. A shrubby perennial plant. The woody, branched root produces many round stems which put out runners from the base. The leaves are opposite, oblong to linear, covered with transparent oil glands, giving the appearance of holes. The bright yellow flowers are in flat-topped cymes, the petals are dotted with black along the margins. The fruit is a 3-celled capsule. The plant has a turpentine-like odor. Found in the eastern U.S., along the Pacific Coast & many parts of the world in dry, gravelly soils, fields and sunny places.
Origin(s): Albania, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, United States.
Latin Name(s): Hypericum perforatum.
Also known as: Hypericum, goatweed, God's wonder plant, witches herb.
Plant Part(s) Used: Herb.
Appearance: Greenish brown.
Taste: Bitter, astringent.
GMO Status: Non-GMO.
Additives: Free of any additives or preservatives.
Applications / Preparations: Can be put into capsules, teas or infused as an herbal extract. For cosmetic use can be put in lotions, salves, ointments & creams.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.
Warning: Not to be used during phototherapy. Fair-skinned persons should avoid excessive exposure to sunlight during use. May decrease the blood levels of certain orally administered drugs. Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before taking with medications.
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