St. John's Wort - Hypericum perforatum
St. John's Wort is a common flowering plant with a vast array of medicinal benefits for the human population. St. John's Wort is frequently used to treat various forms of depression and also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. This plant was originally native to parts of Europe and Asia, but has spread as a cosmopolitan species with invasive properties and can easily grow in the temperate regions of India, Canada, the United States, and Africa. St. John's Wort is defined as a herbaceous perennial plant species with stems that can grow up to one meter high with narrow leaves that typically reach no more than 2-3 centimeters in length. This beneficial flowering plant grows best in warm, sandy soil with partial sun exposure. There are most often spaced about one foot apart and can be grown in USDA zones 3-8. It is best to plant St. John's Wort in the early Spring months, after the risk of excess frosting has passed for the seasons. Flowers tend to bloom in late July or early August, assuming that proper care and maintenance of the plants have been supplied adequately by the grower. Harvesting takes place when the flowers are in full bloom, in which both the flowers and leaves can be harvested and utilized for essential medicinal purposes in the human population.
St. John's Wort is an incredibly effective antidepressant, but it is crucial that it is not taken along with other various antidepressants or anxiolytic medications as these combinations can result in a dangerously high level in serotonin in the central nervous system. There have also been rare cases in which an individual has contracted psychosis as a side effect of the heavy use of St. John's Wort (possibly along with other antidepressant medications that amplified the effects). This example stresses the important of taking various forms of medication in regulation with extreme moderation to prevent dangerous or undesirable side effects.