St John’s Wort ( Hypericum perforatum )

Definition: Herba Hyperici consists of the dried flowering tops or aerial parts of Hypericum perforatum L. (Clusiaceae). Synonyms: Hypericum officinarum Crantz, Hypericum officinale Gater ex. Steud., Hypericum vulgare Lam. Clusiaceae is also referred to as Guttiferae or Hypericaceae.Selected vernacular names Balsana, bassan, bossant, common St John’s Wort, corazoncillo, dendlu, devil’s scourge, echtes Johanniskraut, Eisenblut, erba di San Giovanni, flor de sao joao, fuga daemonum, hardhay, Hartheu, herbe à mille trous, herbe de millepertuis, Herrgottsblut, Hexenkraut, hierba de San Juan, hiperico, hipericon, houfarighoun, iperico, Jageteufel, Johannisblut, Johanniskraut, John’s wort, Jottannesort, klamath weed, Konradskraut, Liebeskraut, Lord God’s wonder plant, Mannskraft, millepertuis, pelicao, perforata, perforate St John’s wort, pinillo de oro, quian-ceng lou, St Jan’s kraut, St John’s Wort, seiyouotogiri, sint janskruid, tenturotou, Teufels-fl ucht, Tüpfelhartheu, witches’s herb, zwieroboij.Geographical distribution: Indigenous to northern Africa, South Africa, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe and New Zealand, and is naturalized in the United States of America. The plant material is harvested at flowering time.
Description: A herbaceous, aromatic perennial plant, up to 1 m high; glabrous throughout, green or sometimes glaucous. Stems rounded, 2-winged, erect and branched at top. Leaves oval, linear-oblong, broadly elliptic, subcordate, flat or more or less revolute-marginated with pellucid glands and sometimes a number of brown-black glandular dots. Flowers numerous, forming a broadly paniculate, compound cymose inflorescence. Petals oblong to oblong-elliptic, inequilateral with numerous glandular dots. Seed 1 mm long, cylindrical, brown, minutely pitted longitudinally. Plant material of interest: dried flowering tops or aerial parts.
General appearance: Stem glabrous greenish-yellow to brownish-yellow branching, 2-winged, cylindrical with 2 equidistant longitudinal bands. Leaves glabrous, generally sessile, opposite, greenish-grey, oval, 8–35 mm long, with entire margins; laminal margin often more or less revolute-marginated. Brownblack glandular dots sometimes present along the edges; numerous pellucid glands on the entire surface. Flowers, 2 cm in diameter, regular, forming a broadly paniculate, compound cymose infl orescence at top of stem, composed of: 5 green, lanceolate sepals, containing punctiform, black glandular dots on the edges; 5 golden-yellow petals, with numerous glandular dots along margins; and 3 staminal blades, each divided into multiple golden-yellow stamens. Anthers with single, terminal, dark pigment dot. Ovary elongated and conical, parietal placentation, carries 3 styles. Fruits trilocular capsules containing numerous brown, triangular seeds.
Organoleptic properties.
Odour: weak, aromatic, balsamic; taste: bitter, acrid.
Microscopic characteristics: Transverse section of the stem circular and presents 2 lateral edges corresponding to the 2 longitudinal bands. From the exterior inwards are seen: epidermal layer formed of large polygonal cells; continuous collenchymal layer, slightly more developed at the 2 lateral edges; a cortical parenchyma containing crystals of calcium oxalate in the shape of a sea urchin; a ring of continuous phloem, distinct from the xylem, which consists of large vessels and a lignified parenchyma with a visible cambium; and a lacunose medullary parenchyma. Secretory pockets, almost invisible, rarely present in the endoderm. Upper surface of leaf section shows polygonal cells with sinuous, slightly beaded, anticlinal walls; cells of lower surface smaller, anticlinal walls more wavy with frequent paracytic, sometimes anomocytic, stomata; smooth cuticle, thicker on upper surface; straight-walled, elongated epidermal cells of veins occasionally beaded. Dorsoventral surface of leaf consists of a single palisade layer and large oil glands. Midrib shows single, collateral bundle with small area of lignified xylem. Microscopic characteristics of the sepal resemble those of the leaf. Petal narrow, elongated, thin-walled, epidermal cells with straight anticlinal walls on outer surface and wavy on inner surface. Stamen lignified fibrous layer of anther wall; elongated, thin-walled cells of filament with striated cuticle. Pollen grains spherical or elliptical, 20–28 µm in diameter, with 3 germinal pores and smooth exine. Ovary small polygonal cells with underlying oil glands. Seed testa brown, thickwalled hexagonal cells.
Powdered plant material: Yellowish-green or brownish-green. Leaf fragments abundant, most containing large characteristic hypericin oil glands with brown to red contents. Fragments of leaf epidermis, the adaxial side with thick-walled punctate, slightly sinuate cells, and abaxial side with sinuate cells and paracytic stomata; mesophyll fragments with large secretory pockets which are spherical, bright, containing strongly refractive oil droplets; fragments of palisade parenchyma; stem fragments with reticulate spiral vessels, areolate punctation, long fibres with thick walls, ligneous parenchyma, and small number of thick-walled, characteristically punctate medullary cells; fragments of petals made of elongated rectangular cells with irregular nodulous thickenings, containing numerous yellow droplets and large, round to oval secretory pockets; fragments of anthers; pollen grains 20–28 µm in diameter, smooth spherical or elliptical with 3 germinal pores; clusters of calcium oxalate crystals.

Action: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial. Used to treat difficulthealing wounds. You could say that St. John’s wort is one of the most commonly used herbs as a positive effect on the gastrointestinal tract – withgastritis, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcers, colitis, hemorrhoids, chronic inflammation of the gallbladder and kidneys, in sciatica and as a diuretic agent.Positive effect on the nervous system by increasing mood and removes sadthoughts, insomnia and feelings of fear of disease. – Depression – St. John’s wort impact positively on brain metabolism and stimulates the production ofmood-enhancing hormones.

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