Hypericum punctatum

Botanical Name :Hypericum punctatum
Family : Clusiaceae – Mangosteen family
Genus : Hypericum L. – St. Johnswort
Species : Hypericum punctatum Lam. – spotted St. Johnswort
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom; Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision; Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass :Dilleniidae
Order: Theales

Synonyms: Hypericum punctatum Lam.,HYSU4 Hypericum subpetiolatum E.P. Bicknell ex Small

Common Names : Flux Weed ,Spotted St. John’s Wort OR Dotted St. John’s Wort

Habitat: Hypericum punctatum grows in every county of Illinois, and is fairly common . Habitats include moist to mesic black soil prairies, gravel prairies, open woodlands (rocky and otherwise), savannas, woodland borders, thickets, clay banks along rivers or lakes, and areas along roadsides and railroads.

Description:
Hypericum punctatum is a perennial plant growing up   to 2½’ tall, branching occasionally in the upper half. The hairless stems are red or green. The hairless opposite leaves are up to 2½” long and 1″ across. They are oblong, oval, or bluntly lanceolate (with rounded tips), with a few pinnate or parallel veins and smooth margins. The leaves are often sessile or perfoliate, otherwise they have short petioles. Scattered translucent dots are observable on the underside of the leaves. Smaller leaves often appear in the upper axils of the larger leaves on major stems.

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Many of these stems terminate in tight clusters of yellow flowers. Each flower is a little less than ½” across, and has 5 petals. In the center, is a flask-shaped pistil that is surrounded by numerous yellow anthers on long styles. Numerous small dark dots can occur anywhere on the surface of the petals or the buds, often appearing in streaks. There is no floral scent. The blooming period occurs during mid-summer and lasts about a month. The seedpods split into 3 sections, exposing numerous tiny seeds, which are scattered by the wind when the stems sway back and forth. The root system consists of a branching taproot and short rhizomes. Vegetative colonies of this plant can develop from the rhizomes.

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Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a rather lean soil, which reduces competition from taller plants. Rocky or gravelly soil is quite acceptable. Occasionally, the leaves turn brown in response to drought, otherwise this plant has few problems.

 

Propagation : Through seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Some compounds of the plant have been shown to have potent anti-retroviral activity without serious side effects and they are being researched in the treatment of AIDS. Hypericum punctatum is a mild antidepressant of the class “MAO inhibitor.” The mechanism by which St. Johnswort acts as an antidepressant is not fully understood. Early research indicated that this it mildly inhibits the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO). MAO is responsible for the breakdown of two brain chemicals – serotonin and nor epinephrine. By inhibiting MAO and increasing nor epinephrine, it may exert a mild anti-depressive action. The antidepressant or mood elevating effects of Hypericum punctatum were originally thought to be due solely to hypericin, but hypericin does not act alone, it relies on the complex interplay of many constituents such as xanthones and flavonoids for its antidepressant actions. Hypericum punctatum may also block the receptors that bind serotonin and so maintain normal mood and emotional stability. Hypericum punctatum is used in treating a wide range of disorders, including pulmonary complaints, bladder problems, diarrhea and nervous depression. It is also very effectual in treating bed wetting in children. It has a sedative and pain reducing effect, it is especially regarded as an herb to use where there are menopausal changes triggering irritability and anxiety. In addition to neuralgic pain, it will ease fibrositis, sciatica and rheumatic pain. The oil extract of the plant can be taken for stomach ache, colic, intestinal problems, and as an expectorant for the congestion in the lungs. Externally, a medicinal infusion of the flowers in olive oil is applied to wounds, sores, burns, ulcers, swellings, cramps, rheumatism, tumors, caked breasts, and other skin problems. It is also valued in the treatment of sunburn and as a cosmetic preparation to the skin.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.everwilde.com/store/Hypericum-punctatum-WildFlower-Seed.html
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/sp_stjohnwortx.htm
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=HYPU
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hypericum_calycinum_Tasmania.jpg

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