A medicinal herb used in Europe since ancient times, St Johns wort or hypericum has recently caused excitement among scientists with its anti-viral action against the HIV virus which causes AIDS. This proven anti-viral activity may also lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of multiple sclerosis although research into its effect on both these retroviruses is still in its early stages.

St Johns wort taken internally has a proven effect on anxiety and depression and a reputation for suppressing urination, useful knowledge for parents of bedwetting children. It is a sedative and will relieve the pain of neuralgia as well as lessen the irritability triggered by menopausal change.

The aromatic herbal oil easily extracted from the plant’s bright yellow flowers has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties and is an excellent dressing for sunburn and superficial wounds.

St Johns wort grows well in Australia, so well in fact that it is considered a noxious weed in some states.

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