St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Family - Hypericaceae
Eight years ago, we inherited a beautiful botanical garden that is completely fenced in; with twelve very large raised beds. We have diligently cultivated and nourished this garden; enriching the soil, sowing seeds, and then enjoying various crops of botanical harvest. Our botanical garden is like the magical mystery tour. The curious thing is there are several plant species that have come up in the garden that were never planted and any other garden is miles away.
This year we have an amazing crop of St. John’s Wort!
The botanical name for this plant is “Hypericum perforatum”. “Hypericum” refers to its exalted status of solar brilliance at high summer. “Perforatum” is designated for the abundant oil glands which “perforate” the leaves and flowers of St. John’s Wort. Plants which are endowed with strong oil-bearing forces, are uniquely able to hold light and warmth.
St John’s Wort is native to Europe but has since been naturalized to other temperate climates around the world, with particular prominence in North America.
St. John’s Wort plant is named after John the Baptist, possibly because it blooms on the anniversary of John the Baptist’s birth. It has beautiful yellow flowers that have a sweetest and uplifting scent. The red sap that is in the stems, leaves, and flowers are supposed to represent the blood of John the Baptist. One way to identify this plant is If you rub a flower in-between your fingers it leaves a reddish-purple tint.
There are several applications for these amazing flowers that we have processed that we would like to share with you.
The oil is a red in color with a light scent, and is fairly gentle to the skin. It is useful as an anti-inflammatory, for wounds, mild burns, soothing inflamed nerves, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, sores, ulcers, muscles, or organs in spasm, as well as sprains, or bruises. It seems to also have a beneficial effect on stress and anxiety.
Use 5-10% in an aromatherapy blend with other carrier oils and essential oils.
Photosensitivity caution: Do not apply before going into the sun.
In contrast to its many uses, some countries have identified St John's Wort as an invasive species and noxious weed. Though useful to humans, it can be dangerous to livestock, sprouting up in pastures and causing photosensitivity to the grazing animals that feed upon it. Ingestion of the plant may lead to health complications and even death.
St. John’s Wort flower essence has similar attributes as in the whole herb, or tincture, with a few exceptions. As a flower essence, St. John’s wort has amazing restorative powers, providing protection and strength when a person is in this over expanded state. This essence is good for many levels of protection both psychicaly and environmentally and is suitable for those who are empathic.
Those that benefit from this flower essence often feel physically or psychically vulnerable. They often can feel overwhelmed, feeling quite sensitive, anxiety, and often depressed or fearful. They are stressed by both emotional and environmental factors, sometimes resulting in allergies. They are also sensitive to light, can burn easily in the sun and need to wear sunglasses even on a hazy or cloudy day.
Even though this flower essence is useful for people who are sensitive to light, it is equally useful for people who feel that they are deprived of light. It is particularly good for people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as it stimulates one’s own inner spiritual light, helping to anchor their consciousness to the earth plane. It can make a person feel that they have an illuminated consciousness, filled with solar strength and spiritual content.
St. John’s Wort flower essence is also useful for a wide variety of sleep disturbances such as insomnia, nightmares, night-sweats and night-time incontinence.
We offer a short course if you would like to learn more about making your own flower essences from your garden:
A tincture or herbal extract is an alcohol or glyceride base infusion.
St. John’s Wort tincture is known as an herb to elevate and assist in maintaining a positive mood while relieving certain symptoms associated with mild sadness. The active chemicals in St. John’s wort extract include hypericin and hyperforin as well as flavonoids. These chemicals might work by encouraging your brain to increase its production of dopamine‚ norepinephrine‚ and serotonin‚ which are neurotransmitters that may be involved in promoting a sense of emotional well-being.
Moreover‚ St. John’s wort extract might have a mild stabilizing effect on the nervous system. This extract may also help address certain symptoms associated with mild anxiety‚ nerve pain‚ or trouble sleeping as well as to alleviate some mild PMS symptoms like irritability.
Suggested Use: Shake Well Before Use. Add 1 full dropper full into to 2 oz. of water or juice, 2 to 5 times per day. It is best taken between meals.
Precautions: Seek expert medical advice before taking St. John's Wort with medical drugs. Avoid intense exposure to sunlight or UV light while taking St. John's Wort. Keep Out of the Reach of Children.
NOTE: Glycerites are sweet herbal tinctures which use vegetable glycerin to extract the medicinal constituents and flavor from an herb. Herbal tinctures are typically made from alcohol, but glycerin is a good alternative for children, animals, and adults when palatability and alcohol sensitivities are primary considerations.
Resources and Acknowledgments
Dechen, Shanti, Clinical Aromatherapy Level 1 Text, Crestone, CO, 2017, p. 62, 68.