: any of a genus (Hypericum of the family Guttiferae, the Saint-John's-wort family) of herbs and shrubs with showy yellow flowers; especially: one (H. perforatum) of dry soil, roadsides, pastures, and ranges that contains a photodynamic pigment causing dermatitis due to photosensitization in sheep, cattle, horses, and goats when ingested—see hypericism
usuallySaint John's wort: the dried aerial parts of a Saint-John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum) that are held to relieve depression and are used in herbal remedies and dietary supplements
Biographical Note for SAINT–JOHN'S–WORT
John the Bap·tist\-ˈbap-təst\ (audio pronunciation)Saint(flourished 1st century AD), Jewish prophet. John lived approximately at the same time as Jesus Christ. He is considered by Christians the last of the Jewish prophets and the forerunner of Christ. John preached the imminence of God's Final Judgment and the Messiah. He baptized his followers as a token of repentance, and Jesus himself received his rite of baptism. He was executed by Herod Antipas for publicly opposing the latter's marriage to Herodias. Saint-John's-wort derives its name from the fact that it was traditionally gathered on the eve of his feast day (June 24) and used to ward off evil spirits and as a medicinal herb.
Illustration of SAINT–JOHN'S–WORT
Common name for plants in the family Hypericaceae, which contains 560 species of herbs or low shrubs in eight genera. The family is sometimes considered part of the family Guttiferae. The majority of species (about 370) belong to the genus Hypericum. Their leaves are opposite or whorled, dotted with glands, and usually have smooth margins. Several species are cultivated in temperate regions for their handsome flowers. H. perforatum, a showy golden flower grown in both the Old and New Worlds whose buds contain a red oil, has long been credited with magical and medicinal powers; today it is being widely used and studied for its possible efficacy against depression.