St Johns Wort Market: 1996-2000
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Ed Harris
Posted on: March 28, 2001

I originally sold more than 250,000 lbs. SJW in 1997 (Wilcox to BI, then Indena). Our price at that time was US$1.20/lb., FOB WA. We had a 2,000 acre field which we had been forest farming since 1995. Other fields in the area. Idaho was a year later, as was OR.

I then cultivated a Topaz variety in northern California, COG in 1998. Price was US$1.60/lb., FOB CA. 12,000 lbs., and I was lucky to sell it.

In all my field studies, I never found any SJW to have 0.3% hypericins. We even looked into using "ag bags" to ship fresh material directly to the extractor. No fresh material ever showed levels higher than 0.28% (daily samples taken over two month window).

I now suspect "important chemistries" are the "volatile flavinoids" that deliver so-called anti-depression action. No one knows (yet). But having handled this crop before anyone else, that is my guess. That’s why harvests needed to be done at night, as temperatures during the day would drive off this aspect.

Of course, I also harvested this plant for the wool industry since 1984, and have a chapter on that aspect in my Native Plants Of Commercial Importance (OAK). Current Topaz variety COG is US$1.00/lb, FOB CA, with inventory.

4:1 extract prices range from one extractor to another. This is where the profits lie in this crop, certainly not as a raw material supplier (like myself). I can guarantee the finest SJW available in the world at US$1.00/lb.

I am searching for information on historical prices of St Johns Wort. I found your name from your interview with Conrad Richter. Please let me know if you can help.

More specifically, I am looking for data, (or where to get the data) on the wholesale price of SJW in the 4:1 extract form and/or the 0.3% Hypericin grade, in the period 1996-2000.

Other relevant product pricing may be helpful if my preferred info is not available.

Can you help?

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