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As for the hypericum these are shrubs and perennial trees with erect, evergreen or semi-evergreen habit, which can be rustic or delicate. The Hypericum, originating from the European continent and western Asia, can reach a height that varies from half a meter to about one meter and a diameter of about 60 cm. The plant is characterized by the flowers, star-shaped, yellow in color, which appear during the summer season. The leaves are ovoid and bright green. Generally it develops for a height of 20-30 cm forming compact carpets that produce a beautiful color effect at the time of flowering.
However, the genus Hypericum is composed of a very large number of species, most of which are present in our country. The recognition among the different species is certainly difficult for an untrained eye. In this great natural variety there is also a selection made by nurserymen and florists to identify flowering varieties capable of producing longer and more resistant blooms for a best ornamental effect.
The plant generally prefers the positions of full sun or partial shade. Like all completely rustic varieties they can withstand harsh temperatures, even down to -10 / -15 ° C. The cultivation of hypericum turns out to be rather easy and does not need special care and attention. During the coldest winters it is advisable to keep under control the leaves of the plant that could dry up or fall off until the next vegetative restart.
THE PERFORATUM HYPERICUM IN BRIEF
|Family, genus, species||Hypericaceae, hypericum perforatum|
|Common names||St. John's wort, millebuchi, scacciadiavoli|
|Type of plant||Perennial herbaceous with a woody base|
|Flower color||Sulfur yellow|
|Height||Up to 40 cm|
|Habitat||Throughout Italy, up to 1600 m.|
|soil pH||Neutral to sub-alkaline|
|Soil humidity||Well drained|
|Exposure||Half shade, light shade|
|Propagation||Seed, cutting, offshoot|
|use||Officinale, natural garden|
For optimal growth of our St. John's Wort, the ideal soil must be well drained even if the plant is well suited to any soil, even to already used garden soils. As for irrigation, it is not necessary to wet the plant. In fact, it is satisfied with rainwater, even when it is found in rather dry climates. It is important to proceed with pruning approximately every 2 years. However, this should only be done when browning of branches and leaves occurs.
Plant propagation occurs during the autumn season, whether it is carried out by sowing or by division. Between May and June it is possible to take cuttings, to be rooted in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts.
THE HIPERIC CALENDAR
|Flowering||From June to October|
|Talea||August / April|
|Sowing||September / March|
The Hypericum grows spontaneously in the spots and plains of Europe and Western Asia.
To remember are the medical properties of the plant; in fact, Hypericum is used to soothe and calm anxiety and depression.
Finally, the fact that the leaves, if ingested, can be harmful to the organism should be considered.
Collection and properties of the plant
Generally the harvest takes place at the end of the vegetative cycle of the plant, in autumn; You can also pick it up in the spring. According to tradition, however, the best time for the harvest of hypericum is June 24th (night of San Giovanni) from which the popular name of the plant comes. During this night, considered magical, the legend states that witches and devils gathered for their Sabbath and to draw good or bad wishes for the future.
The cultivation of hypericum is also done to obtain its multiple properties. It is indeed very rich in active ingredients. It is useful to relieve stress, to treat the skin, to alleviate redness and irritation, burns, burns and rashes.
Pests and diseases
As for pests and diseases that could affect the plant, we can say that St. John's wort often suffers from rust, which causes yellow spots on the leaves compromising their use.
History of the Hypericum
This plant, popularly known as St. John's wort, scacciadiavoli or millebuchi, is widespread in its natural state throughout our peninsula and is used for medicinal purposes since the dawn of time.
Its botanical name derives from the Greek and, according to some, means "I cast the images" in reference to the ability that was attributed to it to drive away the demons (probably the anxieties ...) Perforatum is instead in relation to the small spots that are seen in backlight on the leaves and that give the impression of being holes.
In classical times it was already used for the preparation of healing ointments. In any case, it was also used orally, in various formulations, to combat various types of illness (spasms, menstrual pain, anxiety and depression). The same use continued until the Middle Ages, when it was also attributed the ability to drive away demons.
Active ingredients of hypericum
Among the active ingredients present in hypericum, those whose effectiveness is demonstrated are: hypericin (which acts on neurotransmitters linked to changes in mood), hyperforin, tannins, phenols, flavonoids and xanthones. The latter have proved very useful as sedatives and antidepressants.
However, it must be emphasized that the individual components gave doubtful or poor results in the experimental tests. It has therefore been hypothesized that the efficacy of hypericum derives from the combined action of the various active ingredients.
We therefore avoid buying products in which there is only one: we prefer instead natural extracts where the proportions are generally respected.
As we have said, it is a very common plant: to find them in large quantities, it is however advisable to search along hill paths or in bright areas at the edge of the woods. In any case, we avoid collecting at highly trafficked roads or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides must be used.
The best period goes from the end of May to September, late in the morning (when the dew has already dried). Only the apex of the plant is captured, provided with flowers, buds and small leaflets, cutting it with scissors (this way we will avoid tearing and favoring the release of active ingredients). They should then be gently washed and left to dry for a few hours in a ventilated and shady area.
Preparation and use of oil for external use
Hypericum oil, of a beautiful red color, is obtained by soaking the tips long (about a month and a half) in a cool and dark place. The recommended doses are about 300 grams per liter of oil (possibly of almonds, excellent for its soothing and emollient properties). At the end of this process we will have to expose the bottle for a whole day, warm, in the sun. Finally, we filter with a very fine gauze and store in a cool, dark place.
It can be used to soothe and treat skin diseases, particularly sores, wounds, burns and sunburn. It is also an excellent product to improve its appearance, delay the appearance of wrinkles and avoid the onset of stretch marks.
Preparation and use of mother tincture
The hypericum mother tincture is obtained from fresh flowered tips (or dried in a shady, cool and well ventilated place). The proportion for fresh flowers is 100 grams per 300 ml of food alcohol at 70 °. We will leave it to macerate in a dark and cool place for about 10 days, stirring often. Then we will filter and bottle them in dropper containers.
You can take 8 to 10 drops, up to 3 times in minutes. The treatment is useful in cases of colic, cystitis and other inflammations. Naturally it always has its effectiveness against mild mood disorders. Massaged on the skin it helps the healing of sores, wounds and skin irritations.
Hypericum property - Hypericum: Internal use
With the flowered tips you can prepare an excellent herbal tea: 15 to 30 g of dried product per liter of water are sufficient. Useful for combating mild moods.
To combat diseases of the respiratory system and inflammations in general we can get a mixture of 50% hypericum and terrestrial ivy in herbal medicine. A cup before meals, three times a day, will be of great help.
The hypericum has a good effectiveness against mild and moderate depressions. It can easily be compared to synthetic drugs, with the advantage of having fewer side effects. In herbal medicine you can find dry extract capsules, suitable for those who feel a really slight or transient illness (like the one linked to seasonal changes or excessive winter darkness). More concentrated formulations can therefore only be purchased in pharmacies, under strict medical supervision.
In any case, treatments must be continued for at least two weeks before the beneficial effects are significantly felt.