What exactly is Saint-John’s-wort, which we are hearing so...

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Question: What exactly is Saint-John’s-wort, which we are hearing so much about as a treatment for depression?

Answer: Saint-John’s-wort, or hypericum, is a yellow-flowered herb named for St. John the Baptist. The suffix wort is commonly used for medicinal plants. Saint-John’s-wort was used in the past to ward off evil, protect homes from lightning, cure bed-wetting, and promote healthy crops. It was used extensively as a wound treatment in the Civil War. It is a spreading, woody perennial that blooms in June and is often seen in well-drained rock gardens, banks, and edgings. Some people claim that if you cut it after sunset, a fairy horse will carry you off until daybreak.