Do you ever just look at a plant and start smiling or laughing? This was my experience while I was knee deep in Tick-ville, wildcrafting the backyard St. John’s wort for a would healing, pain relieving salve. I plucked a few buds from one plant and when I turned around another plant appeared to be jumping out at me, playfully, full of sunshine and smiles. It wasn’t until after I laughed out loud that I remembered its reputation in our society as an uplifting nervine. It’s exciting and truly amazing to see, hear, and feel how plants speak to us when you’re willing to listen!
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is easily spotted in fields, or around property lines with its five-petaled vibrant yellow flowers and its many long stamens. Its leaves appear to have pinpricks (oil glands) that are visible when held up to the sky. You know you have the right plant when it “bleeds” a beautiful deep reddish purple after squeezing one of the buds. The pigment comes from the active constituent hypericin. This pigment can only be extracted from fresh plants and creates a gorgeous deep red product – making it a really fun plant to work with.
Here is a great link to help with identification http://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/Plant_Families/Hypericaceae.htm
Externally, St. John’s wort can be used in an oil, salve, or liniment (witch hazel or vinegar infusion) and applied to puncture wounds, scrapes, burns, and rashes, etc. to speed healing and reduce scarring. It’s energetically cooling, anti-microbial, and also has astringent and vulnerary actions. This means it cools, tightens, and tones inflamed tissue and aids in skin repair and new cell growth while keeping your wound free from bacteria. Rosemary Gladstar suggests its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties make it an exceptional herb for bacterial or viral infections.
Its anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and analgesic actions help relax sore, inflamed muscles and aches ‘n pains by releasing heat and reducing swelling. And, because of its affinity for the nervous system, St. John’s wort may be especially helpful used on areas where pain is nerve related and is also helpful in repairing nerve damage.
So, get out, get witchy, and craft up this gorgeous high-vibing oil!
- Fresh St. Johns wort buds & flowers – always ensure 100% positive identification
- Olive Oil
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- Harvest the tops of the St. John’s wort plant, gathering mostly buds, some flowers, and just a bit of the greens.
- Allow these tops to lay out for a few hours allowing the bugs to crawl away and some moisture to evaporate out.
- Chop your wilted St. John’s wort, place into a jar and cover it with olive oil – making sure it is completely covered. Let this infuse for 4 to 6 weeks in the sun for a solar infusion; adding sunshine and solar energy to your healing salve. If you need your salve a little quicker, place the oil and herb combo into a slow cooker with water and let it infuse for a couple days, until you see that beautiful red oil!
- Strain out and compost the plant material. Voila! This is your oil!
- Add approximately 1 oz of beeswax per cup of St. John’s wort oil and heat slowly in a double boiler until melted. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.
Apply as needed.
All information from Life Infused is meant for educational purposes only. The methods on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Please conduct your own research and make decisions in partnership with your health care provider – especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition, or are taking any medication..
Gladstar, Rosemary (2012). MEDICINAL HERBS: A Beginner’s Guide, North Adams, MA: Story Publishing