Saint John’s Wort is a “must have” herb to have on hand as a tincture, salve, and/or oil. Look for it in the hottest part of summer, along roadsides, in “gravelly” areas. It soaks up the sunshine during this time of year and can give you that sunny joy in the darkest part of winter, if you make that tincture now!
Hypericum Perforatum is St. John’s Worts Latin name, and is actually taken from the Greek. Literally translated it means “over the spectre”, describing its almost magical ability to lift the spirit from the darkness of depression and “the blues”.
The plant’s flowers are like 5 pointed little yellow stars, its leaves are roundish. The flowers have long center stamens that are orange on the ends. If you squeeze a flower bud, a purplish, reddish liquid oozes out and stains your hands like ink. This is hypericin, a powerful antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-depressant.
The ancient Medieval Crusaders used both St. John’s Wort oil and tincture for the healing of wounds. Both the oil and tincture are red and resemble the red blood of Christ.
St. John’s Wort is soothing to the nerves in many different ways. Internally, it is a restorative tonic to the entire nervous system. It is calming and soothing to “frayed nerves” or when you feel anxious, nervous, or irritable. In addition, it is healing to illnesses involving nerve endings, such as the herpes virus – Chicken Pox and Shingles.
St. John’s Wort infused oil is also used as a pain reliever for bruises, muscle aches, joint pain, sunburn, arthritis, swollen glands, and sciatica pain. It is also healing for skin conditions such as psoriasis and exzema.
Internally, St. John’s Wort is like liquid sunshine according to modern herbalist Susun Weed. It is in Stress Buster Tea, sold by the Bulk Herb Store (see link below in the pink box at the bottom of the page). I call this tea Happy Mama Tea. I have found that it lifts that cloud of depression within about 30 minutes. It also seems to make me think clearer, especially when under stress.
Other internal uses include:
- Muscle pain
- Post Partum pain and Depression
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Menstrual problems
- Spinal cord injury, pain
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
How To Make St. John’s Wort Infused Oil:
Cut the flowering tops of the plants, including flower buds and leaves. Leave part of the plant to continue to grow. Gather herbs only on sunny, dry days because you don’t want to introduce any moisture into your oils, thereby producing mold.
I use a quart sized mason type jar for infusing (and tincturing). Make sure your jar is clean and DRY. Olive oil is the best oil to use as seed based oils tend to go rancid fairly easily.
Chop up your herbs coarsley, place inside jar (2/3 full give or take), fill the jar to the top with oil, leaving NO HEADSPACE. If you leave headspace, you will introduce air. You want an air-free environment for your herb to infuse.
Stir the herbs around in the jar with a wooden spoon, getting as much of the air bubbles out as you can and getting all the herb mixed well with the oil. Screw on the jar’s lid and place in a DARK spot, a basement for example. Leave for about 6 weeks – voila! You now have St. John’s Wort infused oil to use for just about anything!
How To Make St. John’s Wort Tincture:
Gather herb like described above, on a sunny day after the dew has dried. Chop up the herb as noted above, place in a quart sized Mason type jar, fill with 90 – 100 proof Vodka. Place lid on the jar and set in a dark spot for 6 weeks. Tincture’s ready to bring you sunny days!
Both the oil and the tincture will be red in appearance.
Sources used for this post include:
“Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs” by Gail Faith Edwards, 2000, Ash Tree Publishing.
“Common Herbs For Natural Health” by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, 1997, Ash Tree Publishing.
I hope you enjoyed this post and are now heading outside to find some St. John’s Wort! Please share on FB and Twitter!