What is St John's Wort tincture used for?
St. John’s Wort tincture is a well-known treatment for mild depression, as well as anxiety and insomnia. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to make your own St. John’s Wort tincture. It’s a simple process that will take just a few minutes of your time and requires just a handful of ingredients.
What is St. John's Wort?
St. John’s Wort is a flowering plant in the Hypericum genus that grows wild throughout Europe and North America. The flowers of the plant are used to produce an oil known as hypericin, which has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties.
The flowers of the St. John’s Wort shrub have been used for hundreds of years in both Western and Eastern medicine as an antidepressant, sedative, antidepressive agent and analgesic (pain reliever). In recent years, it has become one of the most common herbal remedies prescribed by naturopaths because of its effectiveness at treating mild depression symptoms such as mood swings and loss of interest in daily activities without causing any side effects like those associated with prescription medications.
Keep in mind, if you experience depression, particularly moderate-to-severe depression, it’s worth talking to your doctor about the best option for your specific needs as this herb is not effective for everyone or all types of depression.
How to take St. John's Wort
When taken internally for depression, anxiety, or insomnia, St John’s wort is best consumed as a tincture or tea. While most herbal remedies can easily be made with dried store-bought herbs, the St. Johns Wort plant is different. The herb is only potent when used or extracted fresh, and dried St. Johns Wort herb is more or less useless.
This herb grows naturally in the wild and can easily be identified and foraged for use in your own herbal remedies. If you can’t find St. John’s wort in the wild, consider growing some yourself or purchasing a tincture from a reputable source such Mountain Rose Herbs. It’s my favorite place to buy high-quality, organic herbs and herbal products. Some people find that St. John’s Wort tincture works for them, but it isn’t a miracle herb and has some contraindications.
How to Make St. John's Wort Tincture
To make a St. Johns Wort tincture, you’ll need the following ingredients and equipment:
- St. Johns Wort flowering tops, harvested fresh (remember, dried plant material will NOT work for this tincture).
- Vodka (or any other palatable alcohol that’s at least 80 proof/40 percent — there’s no need to splurge here, any vodka brand that’s inexpensive and has a neutral taste will do the trick).
- Mason jar with lid. It’s best to use amber glass, but if you can’t find those, any glass jar will do as long as you keep the tincture away from light at all times.
- Fine mesh strainer
- Amber glass tincture bottles (with dropper)
Instructions for making St. John's Wort tincture
- To make the tincture, fill a jar two-thirds full with flowering tops of St. John’s Wort.
- To make a tincture of St. John’s Wort, fill a jar two-thirds full with fresh flowering tops of the herb. Cover the herb with vodka or other alcohol and seal the jar.
- Place the developing tincture in a cool, dark place and give it a gentle shake every few days.
- You’ll notice that a tincture made with fresh St. John’s Wort flowers will turn an amber-red color because of compounds in the fresh flowers. This is perfectly normal and is what you want to see.
- After 4 to 6 weeks, it’s time to decant your liquid.To do this, strain the plant material through a few layers of cheesecloth and squeeze the plant material to make sure all the liquid is expelled. Then carefully pour the tincture into small amber glass tincture bottles.
- When the tincture has been decanted, it’s a good idea to label the bottles with the date and suggested dosages.
St. John's Wort Tincture Dosage and Cautions
I am not a doctor or clinical herbalist, so I’d suggest consulting one to discover the best dosage for you. Typically speaking, though, St. John’s Wort tincture is taken in doses of 2 to 4 ml three times per day. A “dropper full” in a standard tincture bottle is 1 ml and a teaspoon is 5 ml.
Again, be aware that St. Johns Wort has a long list of negative drug interactions, so be sure to consult your doctor especially if you’re taking other medications. It’s also been reported that some people have negative reactions when they’ve been taking St. John’s wort tincture for a while and then suddenly stop, so try to slowly taper off to avoid that (unless advised otherwise by your doctor).
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Medical Disclaimer: The information provided throughout this site is for educational purposes only and is not to be regarded as substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the guidance of your qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.