Saint John’s Wort in my Garden

by Cynthia

St. John's Wort Flower

In various places throughout my yard and garden I have allowed St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) to grow. It is very pretty in bloom and incredibly useful in the herbal medicine cabinet. I know many people may not agree with me seeing that St. John’s Wort is considered to be an invasive weed in many locations.

This time of year it is starting to burst into bloom in my garden. Currently I have St. John’s Wort blooming right next to a large patch of self-sown chamomile. While out harvesting my chamomile I also gather the flowering tops of the St. John’s Wort so I might make some herbal oil from them to use throughout the year. These days when most people think of St. John’s Wort they think of how it is helpful in treating depression naturally. I make my oil for other reasons though.

St. John's Wort in flower

An herbal oil made from St. John’s Wort is packed full of uses. One can use it to cook with if desired but I personally make it for its external uses. When anyone in the house has a stiff neck or shoulders I pull out the St. John’s Wort oil for a massage. It truly is amazing how much this oil helps relieve the pain associated with stiff and sore muscles. The oil can also be used to help heal bruises and rashes. The flowering tops would also make a very good addition to a salve recipe.

To make:

St. John’s Wort Oil

Place in a glass jar your freshly picked flowering tops along with a few leaves and stems. Cover with one to two inches of olive oil. Carefully mash and bruise the plant material (I use either my pestle or a wooden spoon). Place in a warm sunny location for about two weeks.

Strain the plant material from the oil which should now be a beautiful shade of red. (You want it to be red. The oil turns red from oils naturally occurring in the plant. Rub some flowers and buds together between your thumb and forefinger and you will release this oil.)

Store in a cool location out of direct sunlight and use as desired and don’t forget to date it! Discard if you notice the oil has gone rancid.

St. John’s Wort is a yet another powerhouse herb that many overlook. I hope next time you see this flower blooming in the wild you will think twice before viewing it as just a troublesome weed.

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