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In ancient folklore, St. Johnís wort, hypericum perforatum, was heralded as the ďherbe of protection.Ē People revered it as a magical talisman capable of protecting them from evil spirits and their homes from lightning storms. These mystical qualities are reflected in its name. Its Latin name hypericum is derived from a Greek word that means ďover an apparition.Ē

In todayís world, many people use St. Johnís wort to ward off what is considered a modern-day ghostly spiritódepression. With scientific research affirming its antidepressant qualities, as well as renewed recognition for its other traditional medicinal uses, St. Johnís wort has become one of the most popular herbal supplements in the United States and throughout the world.

To gain further appreciation of its health benefits, it is possible to study St. Johnís wort (as well as other herbs, nutrients and foods) through the lens of herbal astrology. Through this periscope, we can further unveil the ways in which St. Johnís wort may serve to protect health and well-being.

The Sun is Linked to St. Johnís Wort

St. Johnís wort is linked astrologically to the Sun, the planet that is associated with the sign Leo. In astrology, the Sun represents our true essence, the core of vitality that guides our lives. Leo characterizes joy, love and self-expressionóthe experience of living life with the world as your canvas, on which you can freely create. In medical astrology, the Sun and Leo are associated with the circulatory system, including the heart.

The physical characteristics of St. Johnís wort capture many qualities of Leo and the Sun. Leoís position as the fifth sign of the zodiac is mirrored in the five petals of the St. Johnís wort flower. These flowers shine a brilliant solar yellow color. On close examination of the leaves, you can perceive small perforations (the plantís translucent glands), which appear as windows through which the Sunís light shines.

St. Johnís Wort and Depression

Reflecting its Leonine qualities, St. Johnís wort has been in the limelight for the past few years. It has been the subject of many clinical trials that have explored its antidepressant properties. The results of these research studies have suggested that St. Johnís wort may be an effective therapy for people who experience mild to moderate depression.

In modern medicine, depression is associated with the brain and its neurochemistry. Yet, people who experience depression describe it not just as a shrouded feeling in their minds but also in their hearts. This further reveals St. Johnís wortís correspondence with depression as the Sun correlates not only to the physical heart, but to the heart chakra (the energy center through which emotions flow). Consequently, depression often robs people of experiencing certain Leo characteristics, such as joy and childlike delight.

Research has suggested that St. Johnís wort may also be useful in alleviating the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is characterized by depressive symptoms occurring during times of the year when there is limited sunlight. One noted treatment for SAD is full-spectrum light therapy. Maybe St. Johnís wort helps to relieve SAD symptoms through serving as a botanical arbiter of the Sunís astrological energy for those who are deprived of the Sunís physical light.

Other Uses of St. Johnís Wort

In addition to its use as an ďherbe of protectionĒ against depression, St. Johnís wort applied as a topical treatment seems to have therapeutic benefits against injuries to the skin. St. Johnís wort enjoys a long historical tradition of use for wounds where the skin is perforated and blood (linked to the Sun) is present. Additionally, as it is also suggested to be an effective topical treatment for burns, Sun-ruled St. Johnís wort may help to alleviate one of the consequences of too much solar heat or fire.

How to Use St. Johnís Wort

St. Johnís wort is available in a variety of forms, including teas, tinctures, capsules and oil-based preparations. For the treatment of mild to moderate depression, many nutritionally-oriented health experts recommend that people take 900 milligrams daily (in three divided doses) of a St. Johnís wort extract standardized to 0.3 percent hypericin. As recent research has suggested that its constituent hyperforin may play a significant role in its antidepressant effects, many recommend products that have reliable hyperforin contents. The oil-based preparations of St. Johnís wort are commonly used for treating wounds and burns.

The primary side effect of St. Johnís wort is photosensitivity, especially in fair-skinned people. St. Johnís wort seems to make certain people more sensitive to the Sun.

It is important to always consult a licensed healthcare provider if you are thinking of using St. Johnís wort or other dietary supplements to treat any health condition. As recent research has suggested that St. Johnís wort may interfere with the metabolism of certain pharmaceutical drugs, informing your healthcare provider of its use can help them to evaluate any potential drug-supplement interactions.

Editorís note: The health information given in this article is not meant as a substitute for care from a qualified physician. This information is given for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe. is not responsible for any mishaps that occur as a result of using this information.

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Stephanie Gailing, MS, CN, is a Certified Nutritionist, astrologer and freelance natural health writer. She holds her Masters Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, where she currently serves as adjunct faculty. Stephanie has been involved in the natural products industry for more than ten years, with experiences ranging from operating her own natural products retail store to serving as a marketing consultant for dietary supplement companies.

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For more information about Stephanie Gailing, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Stephanie Gailing:

  • Herbal Astrology: Cayenne   4/3/2003
  • Herbal Astrology: Valerian   11/6/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Bilberry   10/16/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Vitex   9/4/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Chamomile   8/7/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Licorice   7/24/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Horse Chestnut   7/10/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Feverfew   6/5/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Hawthorn   5/22/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Milk Thistle   5/8/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Garlic   3/20/2000

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