Saint John’s Wort – An ancient crop grown with new technology

27-07-2022    11:05   |    ZipGrow

St. John’s Wort (SJW) hypericum perforatum is a perennial shrub with a long history of use dating back to ancient Greece and used as a traditional medicinal crop for a wide variety of treatments including Mental Health treatments for mood disorders and depression.

Currently, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are one of the most commonly used antidepressants however one of the biggest drawbacks of SSRI’s and other antidepressants, is the potential side effects. There have been numerous medical studies done by reputable institutions that have shown that SJW shows a significant reduction in mild depression with fewer potential side effects. SJW could fill a gap in treatments for depression for people who have tried other treatments and are looking for a holistic alternative.

St. John’s wort is a shrubby plant with clusters of yellow flowers. They have oval, elongated petals and both the flowers and the leaves are used as medicine. Typically, St. John’s Wort has been grown in soil as a cash crop for pharmaceutical companies, where there can be wide variability in concentrations of bioactive components. Currently there is very little research for SJW being grown in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) systems. 

Similarly to food security issues, one of the challenges in the near future will be the sustainable production of medicinal plants due to the negative impact of climate change and lack of arable land.

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Photo Courtesy of ZipGrow

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