3.4.19 St. John's Wort

St. John’s Wort #

Binomial / Botanical Name Hypericum Perforatum
Street Names Perforate St John’s Wort
Major Active Compound Hyperforin; Adhyperforin;
Indigenous Source Europe; Asia
Form Shredded Leaves & Plant Matter
RoA Oral
Personal Rating On Shulgin Scale +**


Whilst this is widely purported to alleviate depression, and is sometimes sold as a herbal remedy for insomnia, its effect upon healthy non-depressed individuals is occasionally called into question, including by Christian Rätsch, in his magnificent tome The Encyclopaedia of Psychoactive Plants.

Equally, whilst its Wikipedia page supports its efficacy, it continued to be sold via major retail chains in the UK following the implementation of the all-embracing Psychoactive Substances Act.

Despite these apparent contradictions, it appears to be undisputed that St John’s Wort can interact with a significant number of drugs, sometimes dangerously. It may also reduce their effectiveness. In both cases I refer to prescription medicines as well as recreational psychoactives. For these reasons it is not a plant that I will be testing extensively or at large doses.

Instead of purchasing an extract, or a cocktail of herbs within a commercial remedy, I opted to acquire a box of tea bags, courtesy of Amazon, for a whopping £2.39. I was somewhat surprised when my purchase arrived just a few days later, directly from Bulgaria.

The advert stated “Top Quality 100% Natural St John’s Wort from the Balkans”

The advert stated “Top Quality 100% Natural St John’s Wort from the Balkans

Given the warnings just referred to, I decided to use just a single bag, containing 1.5g of tea. I did, however, soak this well in the cup of boiling water.

T+0:00 I sip the tea slowly as it cools. It tastes fairly neutral, being neither unpalatable nor pleasant. [8pm]

T+0:20 Having drunk the entire cup, I lean back in my chair, and wait. I begin to feel a mild warmth and an anxiolytic wave takes hold, but I muse that these could be placebo effects, given that I was not depressed at the outset. Undoubtedly, however, I do feel more relaxed at this point, and calmer.

T+1:00 Whilst I expected nothing from this experiment, I feel rather heady and sedated. I have definitely wound down from earlier, and can confirm that, for me, this tea is certainly psychoactive.

T+3:00 This has induced a very relaxed evening, with a nice background buzz, which is quite mild but rather pleasant. I retire to bed, sleepy, with a chilled and almost serene disposition.

The night’s sleep was another surprise. I slept like a log for the first time in weeks. Given the conflicting reports, I didn’t see this coming at all. This morning I felt a little drowsy but generally positive and well.

This was nice. The flip side is that if Christian Rätsch’s reference is correct, I apparently have underlying issues.

Reminder: don’t use this with other medicines or drugs.