This soothing and healing st john’s wort oil eases muscle pain as well as soothes wounds and sunburns. With its healing capability this hypericum oil makes a valuable addition to your first aid kit.
If you are not sure whether the summer has arrived, search for st. John wort. It is blooming at the time of the summer solstice in late June. It is also the birthday of the biblical John the Baptist - where the herb gets its name from and for me it is a clear sign of summer.
St.John wort plant
In latin Hypericum Perforatum, this herb is well known as a herb for depression and anxiety. However this versatile herb also called Saint Joan’s wort, Touch and Heal, Goatsweed or scare-devil has many other applications for use. It can be used internally in a form of tincture, tea or capsules or topically as an infused oil or salve. While for the herbal decoction we use stems, for infused oil just flowers. As one of its other names suggests it has wound healing properties and powerful first aid action, helps to stave off infection and repair cuts and promotes nerve regrowth.
In ancient times, girls wore wreaths of St. John's wort on the day of St. John , and danced around John's fire. On this mysterious night, twigs were thrown into the river, and the virgin girl knew when the wilted flowers bloomed again that she would have a groom next year. In Upper Austria, according to an old custom, peasants placed st. John wort plants between two slices of bread to protect their animals from disease.
In most cases St. John’s wort is most potent when used fresh. Its fresh leaves and flowers exude a rich red juice that color any menstruum to which is macerated whether alcohol, water or oil.
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where does st john's wort grow
Saint John’s wort can be harvested from early to mid summer. It grows worldwide in disturbed areas such as pastures or along roadsides. St. John’s Wort is 1–3' (0.6–1 m) tall with five petaled yellow flowers. If you want to be really sure whether it is St. John wort you can squeeze a flower between your fingers and red-purple hypericin oil will come out.
There is however one more trick that helps with identifying this medicinal plant and that are its leaves. They display tiny transparent dots that when you hold a leaf up to the sun, you’ll see the tiny pin pricks that will give them a perforated appearance. (which explains the second part of its latin name).
There is one herb that is often mistaken for st. JOhn wort and that is Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) which is TOXIC. So be careful.
st john's wort oil uses and benefits
Saint John’s wort is a nervine and sedative herb successfully used as a herbal remedy for mild depression and anxiety. In folk medicine on the other hand it is the oil extract of St. John’s that is considered a good wound healer.
It contains hyperforin that possesses antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties and is very effective in the topical treatment of burns and wounds, mainly infected ones (1)
It makes for a wonderful oil for massage relieving nerve-related pain or soreness, stiffness, and muscle pain,
St.john wort oil is also beneficial for skin protection against sun exposure (2) and for its ability to soothe & heal sunburns
Maria Trebens, well known austrian herbalist also suggests using it for swollen glands and swollen lymph nodes in the abdomen. Gently massage a small amount of this healing oil into the affected area several times per day.
In this triple-blind clinical study performed on 98 primiparous women (3) st. john’s wort salve significantly reduced pain intensity followed by episiotom when applied topically
st john's wort infused oil
Soothing and healing St. John’s wort oil is much more effective when made of fresh herbs rather than dried and is typical for its deep red color due to the hypericin content.
I have been making a few infusion oils in the past and always recommend using dried herbs to avoid spoilage, rancidity and increase shelf life. In this case however, to make the most potent oil we will make an exception.
The best time to forage the flowers and stems of hypericum perforatum is on a sunny day. let them wilt on a drying screen for a few hours to release most of the moisture.
If you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can order dried St. John’s wort from Mountain Rose Herbs. While it won’t be as potent as a fresh it will still possess medicinal benefits.
Use 250 ml sterilized jar (1 cup) that you fill with wilted herbal material.
Pour in fine olive oil so the flowers are completely submerged in oil
Cover the jar and place it in the sun or in a warm place for a few weeks (3-4).
Over time, the oil turns red.
Then filter it through a cheesecloth, squeeze out the rest,
store the oil in dark bottles away from direct sunlight.
When used for burns and sunburns , replace olive oil with linen seed oil instead.
Gently massage this healing oil into scar tissues, burns, sunburns or bruises.
For nerve pain relief - massage into affected areas for adults. If a child is experiencing nerve pain, consult with a pediatrician.
To improve the absorption you can moisten the skin slightly before the message
Due to increased moisture in the oil there is a higher chance for spoilage. You will usually notice a change in aroma of the oil when it goes bad. If stored in a cool and dark place it could last up to 5 months.
This hypericum oil can be faster infused with a heated method. Place the jar in a double boiler or slow cooker and set the temperature at the lowest setting. After 4-5 hours you will notice the color change of the oil into a deep red tone. Strain the herbal material through the cheesecloth and store the pure oil in a dark bottle.
In historical times the red color of the oil was attributed to the blood of Jesus, nowadays we have scientific explanations for red color that is present in all st. john wort macerations. It is the hypericin that is responsible for the color change.