Hypericum (scientific name Hypericum Perforatum), also known as St. John’s Wort
or Devil’s Wort, is a plant belonging to the Hypericaceae family, quite widespread: it is in fact possible to find it along the edges of roads, in clearings and on the edges of fields. . The shrub can reach a maximum height of 50 cm, and has no difficulty in growing on dry soils and at significant altitudes (up to 1,600 meters above sea level). It is at the end of June that its flowering reaches its apex, giving luxuriant 5-petal yellow flowers.
In ancient times, this plant was recognized with various “mystical” properties: in particular, it was used to drive out demons and evil spirits. Not surprisingly, one of its “vulgar” names is scacciadiavoli, while the “official” name is made up of the prefix hyper (= ‘beyond’) and the noun eikon (= ‘apparition’). Around 1500, then, new uses of the plant began to spread. Among others, people looking for remedies to improve their mood enjoyed its benefits . The famous doctor and alchemist Paracelsus was convinced of the numerous qualities of the Hypericum, who also prescribed it as a local treatment for wounds.
According to tradition, the collection of Hypericum Perforatum should take place at night on June 24th. This date takes on a double meaning, as it represents both the day dedicated to San Giovanni and the night of the witches; furthermore, it is historically considered the shortest night of the year. For all these reasons, it was believed that the herbs collected on this occasion were able to prevent any disease.
The properties of the Hypericum: excellent for the mood and more!
Examining in detail the characteristics and benefits of Hypericum , it is first of all necessary to remember how this plant proves useful in the treatment of anxious states .confirming, in fact, what emerged centuries ago. And the combined use with other plants – such as passion flower and valerian – guarantees excellent results in cases of anxiety and sleep disorders .
The action on the mood of St. John’s wort has found further confirmation in various scientific researches, and arises from the ability to increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body. Even those suffering from insomnia can take advantage of the benefits of Hypericum, excellent in regulating the production of melatonin.
People who just want to find greater serenity can limit themselves to using it in the form of herbal tea – even better if mixed with other plants with calming and sedative effects. When mood problems tend to become chronic, instead, it is better to resort to supplements based on Hypericum, characterized by a higher concentration of substances.
Excellent adjuvant also in case of wounds and skin irritations
In the past this plant was known as a sort of universal panacea, and not only among the remedies to improve the mood! Hypericum is widely used in relieving a variety of ailments, usually in the form of oil or mother tincture. The plant is also excellent for giving energy in case of physical fatigueor in the local treatment of wounds, stings and irritations and oil to find frequent use. P
ur being available in pharmacies and herbalists, in case of need, this oil can also be self-produced (obtaining it from the flowers); in addition it is a real cure-all even in the presence of stretch marks, psoriasis, dry skin and obvious scars. Even by applying a cream based on St. John’s Wort on the face and neck before sleeping, it is possible to obtain results that have nothing to envy that is normally expected from quality anti-wrinkle products. In addition to the face, Hypericum Perforatum finds more and more space as an ingredient in various moisturizing body creams. And the benefits of Hypericum also emerge in the moment of hydration after sun. It is surprising for its ability to relieve reddened skin from excessive exposure to sunlight. Finally, in addition to being effective also on acne and pimples, it deserves to be remembered as a valid support in the care of damaged hair.
The use of Hypericum in the kitchen
If its presence among the remedies to improve the mood cannot be doubted, one of the most surprising uses of this plant will concern its “alternative use” as a culinary ingredient. In fact, it can be used to dress salads, or to prepare an aromatic grappa. To obtain the tasty alcoholic drink from the St. John’s wort, it will be sufficient to put 15 grams of dried flowers and the slices of a lemon in a liter of grappa, leaving the extracted in infusion for a couple of weeks, then pressing it, filtering it and adding some sugar. A truly surprising grappa will be created!