Saturday, June 27, 2009

st. john's wort oil

summer solstice it is tradition for me to go out and harvest some wild (non-native) st. john's wort(hypericum perforatum) for my healing oil. thought i'd share it with you. the benefits are many- tea or tincture from the flowers can be used for minor depression and massage oil is wonderful for nerve damage such as sciatic issues and also general muscle aches and pain. the oil can also be added to healing salves.

st. john's wort is usually ready to harvest around the summer solstice around these parts. i was so lame this year-i knew harvest was approaching and waited a day-the flowers went from perfectly bloomed to most of them dead the following day. hiking around our property i found some blooms that had not died yet. be sure to harvest this variety and not the landscape type- refer to a book if you are confused. if you hold a leaf up to the sun you will see tiny dark dots-this holds the precious medicine and helps you to identify.

i cut the flower as well as about 4-6 inches of foliage. do not wash!!!! you don't want excess moisture on the plant as it will cause mold!-so pick after dew has evaporated. i also let the plants wilt in the shade or house for about 4-6 hours to help aid in getting rid of moisture! here's my pile:
once the herb is wilted i roll it in my hands and squish and squeeze to break the cell wall. some people use knives or food processors-i prefer my hands -works fine for me. i then stuff the st. john's in a jar leaving about half inch to an inch from the top. pour olive oil to the top-always use olive oil- it does not go rancid as quickly. i then use chop stick to release air bubbles.

let alchemy do it's magic by placing the jar in the sun-it always amazes me that the oil does not turn rancid. shake the jar daily and you will see the green oil turn a beautiful shade of ruby red! it usually takes about a month and will be ready..strain thru cheese cloth and store in amber bottles in a cool dark place...i've had the oil last for years before going bad!you can see the olive is starting to pink after just one day!!! i love this stuff. but as with anything there are cautions- some folks experience a photo sensitive reaction from touching the plant-if this happens-do not use in any form. the herb is not good for livestock either.


Birdsong said...

Just beautiful... I love the ruby-red of the oil when finished. Thanks for all the pictures!

soxchik said...

It looks lovely. And, it has to smell better than that neem oil!

magnusmog said...

Hmmm, I wonder if you can dye with it too?

karen said...

oh...steph! i've been wishing i was there where i had some st johnswort, (or as one friend called joanswort!) to make oil and salve with. it is absolutely the best, most healing, and most beautiful thing i think i ever used. you inspire me! thanks for the post...mmm mmm mmm..