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Why (Or Why Not) Drink St. John's Wort Tea

Updated on November 4, 2007
Heeeeeerrrrrreeeeee's Johnny!
Heeeeeerrrrrreeeeee's Johnny!

St. John's Wort is one of the most popular medicinal herbs used around the world, especially as a natural anti-depressant. It certainly has one of the most peculiar names. "Wort" is from the Old English "wyrt", which simply means "plant" or "herb". How did it get such a funny name? If you rub the petals, a blood red stain is produced. This was thought to be the blood of John the Baptist, who was beheaded by King Herod at the whim of his daughter. St. John's Wort is also in full bloom on St. John's Day, the Catholic name for Midsummer's day, the longest day of the year. As the herb gives kindly effects, so it was thought that it must have had close association with a saint.

Obviously, St. John's Wort has been growing long before Christianity and been used centuries before Christ was ever opened His big mouth. There is some theories that St. John's Wort might actually have been the mythical "eye of newt" that was supposedly the favorite ingredient of witches' brews. Some St. John's Wort specimens do have small eye-like markings. When Christianity became the norm and pagans were seen as being from the devil, just being able to identify medicinal herbs could get you killed.

Medicinal Uses

The good old Greeks knew a good wort when they saw one, and have been recorded using St. John's Wort to cast out evil spirits. Now, if you've ever had or are struggling with major depression, evil spirits are a walk in the park by comparison. Just like that line in Beetlejuice, a depressed person can say proudly, "I've seen The Exorcist about a hundred times and it keeps getting funnier every time I see it!" The Greeks called the herb "hypericum". Just not as catchy as St. John's Wort, is it? But the scientific name for St. John's Wort is Hypericum perforatum. The herb was usually soaked in wine.

The Greeks also knew their Hypericum could help fight fevers, clean out wounds and help heal minor burns. And recent scientists have proven that it has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It also is thought to help serotonin linger in the brain. Depression and some forms of headache are thought to be greatly affected by imbalances and extremely low levels of serotonin.

Today, St. John's Wort comes in many forms, including ready made tea bags and loose leaf teas. Often, they will be mixed with valerian, another well-known herb that works well on minor depression and sleep problems associated with emotional upset. In Germany, St. John's Wort is a prescribed medication. It comes in tinctures, ointments, bags of loose herbs, capsules and tea bags.

As A Tea

But we don't care about it's medicinal past - how is it as a tea? If you drink tea for the sheer pleasure of it, you will greatly disappointed by the taste of St. John's Wort teas. Quite frankly, they taste like dirt. If you are only interested in the medicinal benefits, then expect it to taste like medicine.

In order to get the medicinal benefits, you are to drink 1-3 cups a day for about six weeks, then give your body (and taste buds) a break for two weeks, then start again. Brown sugar or honey can make it almost tolerable.


St. John's Wort is powerful medicine. Before you drink St. John's Wort tea, ask your doctor's permission first. St. John's Wort has negative side effects for people on necessary medications. Do not take St. John's Wort in any way shape or form if you are on:

  • antidepressants (they will cancel each other out. I'm not kidding.)
  • blood-thinning medications like Wafarin
  • oral contraceptives
  • Loperamide
  • Digoxin
  • immunosuppressive drugs
  • asthma medications
  • blood-pressure medicines

Does Wort Work?

If you are in the clear, then drink only one cup for a few days until your body adjusts to it. You might wind up with cramps and diarrhea otherwise. If you break out into a funny rash, get a sudden headache or nausea, stop drinking the tea and call your doctor. I told you this was powerful medicine. Don't experiment with it.

But how well does it work on depression, as it's highly touted to, even in magazines such as Psychology Today?

Well, it depends on the kind of depression you have. Unfortunately, the word "depression" is used as an umbrella term from all kinds of sad emotions as well as very serious, life-threatening illnesses.

If you do not have a history of depression the disease, or have NEVER been diagnosed with depression, but just feel low, sad, blue and listless due to bad news or sudden life changes, then St. John's Wort might help for you (emphasis on the might).

Personal Testimony

This might sound as if I sniff at St. John's Wort, but I don't. Before I was medically diagnosed with major depression, I did try St. John's Wort tea. One day, as I was drinking a cup, my alcoholic roommate suddenly went into a maniacal rant. The fact that I didn't kill him or even raise my voice means I respect St. John's Wort tea very highly. It's too bad my now ex-roommate never tried it.

How To Tell If You Have Depression. Film By TatesLikeChicken07


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  • profile image

    Ian, UK 8 years ago

    "before Christ was ever opened His big mouth..."

    - what did he ever say that was bad ?

  • profile image

    IAN is an IDIOT 8 years ago

    IAN (From the UK ) Wrote: "before Christ was ever opened (SIC) His big mouth..."

    Ok, FIRST off - WTF? are you looking to get your skinny pastey ass kicked? STFU when you are talking about our Lord.

    Secondly, you write like a buffoon.

    Lastly, please consult your family tree, chances are there are LOTS more idiots like you sprouting from that STUMP of a tree....

    - Sir Ian Paisley

  • profile image

    Ian, Uk 8 years ago

    You didn't answer my question, "What did he ever say that was bad?"

    I don't believe he did.

    Whoever is behind the name "Sir Ian Paisley" ,- may God bless you, turn towards you and give you peace, in Jesus name.

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    VICTOR 8 years ago


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    jay meister 8 years ago

    that dude needs to drink some st. john's wort tea.

  • profile image

    tell 7 years ago

    In the comment 'Christ opened his big mouth', it is simply referring to the people who took on a misinterpretation of it and started killing all the pagans "witches" who dealt in herb medicine. Locals villagers would seek advice and treatments from their 'local medicine doctors' being your now days homeopaths, and the church was becoming less popular, so they started killing.. in the name of Christ. It sad, but its important history to know. I hope st. johns wort works for me, I'm about to drink my first cup

    (it has berries in it for flavour). I have a sensitive body however so wish me luck!! thank you for the information. peace & love.

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    Health benefits of yoga 7 years ago

    In the 10th and 11th centuries, Zen teachers began compiling the \"sayings\" of different Chinese ancestors. Many of these collections record encounters between a well-known teacher and a nameless monk. The monk asks a fairly standard question (e.g. \"What is the Way?\") and the teacher responds; the monk either does or does not have a realization. Among these compilations, the sayings of Layman P'ang stand alone. First, the Layman, uh, was a lay person, not a monk. He was not a recognized teacher. How remarkable that his stories would have been collected!

  • profile image

    aurora  6 years ago

    "are you looking to get your skinny pastey ass kicked? STFU when you are talking about our Lord."

    -scary, lol and almost the most stupid sentence I've ever read in my life

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    esther 6 years ago

    i read about st. johns wort awhile ago, this was a pretty factual article, and yes the 'dark ages' did have some ignorance in the Christian/pagan infiltrated church, witches and medicine and all that. im bipolar and use cannabis to meditate and medicate, and using wort is a good herb too to help with the mood and what not, and i would advise anyone who does drugs (pills etc), it can effect you with problems. good when you have colds... i find the taste all right, my tongue is accustomed to less spicey, salty tasting things, so im ok with it. having a raw, organic lifestyle using herbs in tea gives you a greater advantage in life, more knowledge on plants that are toxic and helpful, so peace in learning and love my brothers and sister, Yahweh bless you and goodnight.

  • profile image

    Tspoon75 6 years ago

    Wow! Scared to try anything a blasphemer uses to cure a bad mood...

  • profile image

    Me. Who else? 5 years ago

    My suggestion: On reports, keep your opinions to yourself. They can be rather offending even if they're not supposed to be. People can take things the wrong way. So stick to the facts please.

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    Julianus 5 years ago

    This is proof Christianity is the root of all evil XD

    Unless you guys are kidding, you shouldn't get offended at a harmless comment about Jesus.

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    April 5 years ago

    Human being shouldn't get offended at a harmless comment about Jesus.

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    Is it *Wort* it 5 years ago

    Talking about magic effects, just hearing the name "Jesus" makes me fall asleep instantly. I'm glad we are witnessing the end of the pathetic reign of christianity, and it will disappear forever like greek gods and other such non-sense. Let's talk about the interesting stuff that matter - science.

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    KB 5 years ago

    Woaaahhh, people take religion seriously, hey? :S.

    Thanks for the advice on the herb! :).

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    alexandra 5 years ago

    i like the taste of saint john`s worth tea and i drink it unsweetened

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    Bob 5 years ago

    I hope for the sake of future generations that religion is not something that is routinely forced into children's upbringings for much longer.

    It has it's place, but breeds too many extremists.

    Religion should be something one may choose to do as a conscious, intelligent, free thinking adult. But that will never happen. No one would believe it if they weren't forced into it at a young age.

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    Sofia 5 years ago

    First i would like to say thank you for the information second i'm sure god or jesus wasn't offended on her frase and for the rest of you who ever got offended probably couldn't finish reading the content of this article because you where blinded by your emotions there for you learned nothing personally i lifted my head up when it's come to that line but than i sad that's between her and god one of the best article i read because on this days when you go to the the internet everybody is just try to sell you something without tell you what they try to sell they rely on authors like her to get the information,thanks for reading my comment have good one Sofia R.West Palm Beach,Fl 9:46 am

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    Anonymous 5 years ago

    --before Christ was ever opened His big mouth

    Not appreciated and made me doubt the integrity of the rest of your article.

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    Mr. Balloon Hands 5 years ago


    In other news, St. John's Wort is pretty great. I have bipolar II (it's like normal bipolar disorder, except you don't get extreme highs, just extreme lows). I take three capsules a day in lieu of prescriptions drugs and it has made a difference. In combination with other coping mechanisms (yoga, tai chi, meditation, music, or whatever you're into), it can really change your outlook on life. Mind you, it does take a bit of time to work - the first couple weeks were a bit hellish, but after that, smooth sailing. AND IT IS SO MUCH FRIGGIN' CHEAPER THAN A SEEING A PSYCH AND BUYING PRESCRIPTIONS.

  • profile image

    Sheri Southern 5 years ago

    I have been drinking the tea for a couple months now and I've actually come to look forward to the taste of it. It's not bad! And with a teenager in the house who can come off as pure hate at times, I feel as if the herb may have saved me a couple times from calling the police or killing myself. Good work, Mother Nature!

  • profile image

    chris 5 years ago

    The comment about Christ did not add to your post. Regardless of your view, pro or con, has nothing to do with the subject, i.e. SJW. Why risk offending? You obviously have no concept of what attraction marketing is.

  • profile image

    John 5 years ago

    In answer to actual article, which it seems many of the commenters have not read, St John's Wort is not necessarily a bad thing if you have a mood disorder. You just need a doctor and pharmacist who understand the potential interactions. I have bipolar disorder, and with my prescriptions, St John's Wort has helped prevent me from falling into that deep, dark pit of suicidal depression.

    Also, I rather like the taste.

    As far as the armchair theologians out there, I really don't think Jesus ever said (or did) anything bad. A lot of people have used Jesus as an excuse for doing very bad things, though, and some even wrote parts of the Bible.

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    Lauren 4 years ago

    At the judgement seat, we will all answer to Jesus one day whether you believe it or not. I can only live my life and speak on my own behalf. I only have good things to say about Jesus and think it was unnecessary to bring Him into this and say bad things about Him. Following Jesus will never die out, because He is the beginning and the end and the saviour who can forgive and reconcile us to God. We cannot compare ourselves with a great God that made the whole universe and is still in control. He Himself will always speak to the heart of men and I'm sorry to say faith in Him will only die when the earth is no more... We live by Faith and you should know that God loves you and doesn't want to lose anyone. You can turn to Jesus any time and follow Him. It's never too late xxx

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    Mika 4 years ago

    "One day, as I was drinking a cup, my alcoholic roommate suddenly went into a maniacal rant. The fact that I didn't kill him or even raise my voice means I respect St. John's Wort tea very highly. It's too bad my now ex-roommate never tried it."

    Well said, sir.

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    DocWho 4 years ago

    I just think you guys are hilarious. You're all like

  • profile image

    martin 4 years ago

    It's obvious that Sherwood is biased against Christians,

    However l will add my comment.... If you are tired

    of all the bad side effects of

    unnatural meds, then start

    looking at plants as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals. They were around for thousands

    of years before man created the PILL.

  • profile image

    Cru 3 years ago

    I also really like the taste of the tea.

  • profile image

    Dante 3 years ago

    Haha, people get butthurt over everything.

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    Maria Ferreira 3 years ago

    As a Christian I say:"shame on you for making such a statement referring to Christ, when he was sent down to earth to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God the Father. I can't believe that someone could be so disrespectful towards the Son of God in a page that

    was supposed to be about tea.

    Besides, it's not God's fault that people kill each other!-After all He is the One who said "Thou shall not kill".

    I have no respect for people who don't honor God!-I hope you reconsider what you said and that you'll repent!

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