St. Johns Wort
Last fall, I planted St. John's Wort ( hypericum perforatum) in my Apothocary Garden. It has grown to about 2 feet and full of yellow blooms. The plant is named for John The Bapist. The word "wort" translates to plant, therefore, St. Johns Wort.
It has been used in herbal medicine for at least 2400 years.
Most people know St. John's Wort for it's use in mild depression and anxiety, but I have grown it for the flowers which I infuse in olive oil. The yellow flowers often turn the oil a deep red color. This red color comes from the pigment, hypercin, which is found along the margins of the petals. The oil has an anti-inflammatory property, and can be used as a message oil, or beeswax added to create a salve. Apply to bruises, sprains, burns, skin irritations or sore, aching muscles.
Plant in full sun or partial shade and allow plenty of room since the plant becomes a small shrub.
Harvest your plants on June 24th which is St Johns Day, and peak blooming season. Always harvest your plants in the morning, when the dew has dried, to get full effect of the essential oils.
St. John's Wort Infused Oil
Pick flowers and cover with olive oil
Place in a sunny window and infuse for 2 weeks, shaking every two or three days. Keep covered with oil
Place in the refrigerator, or a cool dark place after infused.
Image courtesy of Jennifer Anderson
USDA-NRCS Plants Database http://plants.usda.gov/