Among the most well-known herbs, St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum, is native to Europe, though it has now naturalized across much of North America. You will find this beautiful bright yellow flower growing in poor soil, fields, road sides, and ditches. As Kiva Rose says, it’s almost impossible to be anything else but happy in the presence of this herb. Where we are in Central Ontario, St John’s flowers in early summer.
Once considered a weed, St. John’s was traditionally thought to ward off darkness and today is most commonly used in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Less commonly known, St. John’s wort is also “an amazing anti-inflammatory herb” according to Rosalee de la Forêt.
Acting on nerve tissue, St. John’s aids in the restoration of proper nerve function. It can be used in the treatment of moderate depression, exhaustion, tension and frustration, nerve damage, sciatica, back pain, shingles, cold sores, herpes virus, deep wounds (visible and invisible), and inflammation of various kinds. Depending on the condition, St. John’s can be used on its own or in combination with other plants and herbs. St. John’s is contra-indicated with a number of traditional medical drugs, including anti-depressants, drugs used in the treatment of aids, and anti-rejection medication used for transplant patients. Before using St. John’s in the treatment of any condition you should consult a qualified herbalist or health professional.
Traditionally, in herbal medicine, we aim to treat the individual. There is no one solution to any general condition and each person’s particular problem is unique. Most often, St. John’s brings deeply buried issues to light and thus this medicine should be used with care. As always in herbal medicine one must be prepared to face the underlying issues that are at the root of each individual problem. In my experience, St. John’s deepest virtues are as an astringent anti-inflammatory.
St. John’s can be taken internally, in the form of a tincture or tea, and externally, in the form of an oil or salve. Sweet Song specializes in the making of Hypericum Infused Oil for external applications, as well as a tincture and tea for internal use.
We wild craft St. John’s throughout July and August (all herbs should be wild crafted ethically). In the preparation of our infused oil we cut the flowering tops and place them in large mason jars, filling the jar with food-grade quality Certified Organic Olive Oil. These jars are left for six weeks in the sun until the oil has turned a deep blood red.
Sweet Song has a special relationship with St. Johns. Not only is St. Johns a feature of our Serenity, Cold Sore Remedy and Herbal First Aid Salve, products we have been making for more than ten years, but this herb has recently become a fixture in our herbal gardens. We look forward to watching it grow and spread.