The leaves and flowering tops of Hypericum perforatum, Linné (Nat. Ord. Hypericaceae). Europe and America.
Common Name: St. John's Wort.
Principal Constituents.—Volatile oil, a resin, tannin, and hypericum red, a resinous red coloring principle.
Preparation.— Tinctura Hyperici, Tincture of Hypericum (herb, 8 ounces; Alcohol, 76 per cent, 16 fluidounces). Dose, 1/4 to 30 drops.
Specific Indications.—Spinal injuries, shocks, and concussions; throbbing of the body without fever; spinal irritation, eliciting tenderness and burning pain upon slight pressure; spinal injuries and lacerated and punctured wounds of the extremities, with excruciating pain; hysteria. Locally as a vulnerary.
Action and Therapy.—External. St. John's Wort is valued by many practitioners as a vulnerary, much as arnica is employed. Therefore it has been used extensively as a local application to bruises, contusions, sprains, lacerations, swellings, ecchymoses, and in acute mammitis.
Internal. Hypericum is said to be diuretic and sedative, and as such has been used in chronic urinary disorders, particularly suppression of urine. It undoubtedly has a strong influence upon the nervous system. Used according to the indications named above, many physicians believe it useful to relieve the painful effects of spinal concussion, shocks, etc., and to prevent tetanic complications. It will take pretty strong proof to convince most practitioners of the present day of any such virtue as true antitetanic properties in this simple drug. The internal uses as given above are based chiefly upon homeopathic symptomatology, and the drug has gained little favor in the Eclectic school of practice. It has, without question, a value in nervous disorders and should be more fully studied and tested, but miraculous powers should not be hoped for from it.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.