I was turned on to St. John’s Wort oil back in 1991 by a friend in Portland, Or. My friend Molly taught me about wildcrafting and making medicines. We would go out to the woods or meadow and gather. She taught me how to make St. John’s Wort oil for use on bruises.
I bruise something wicked. Sometimes my hands bruise when I open a door. Seriously. It’s that bad. I’ve had tons of tests done and it appears to just be how my body reacts to touch. If I brush up against a table it looks like I was in a horrible accident. I’m so glad I found St. John’s Wort oil. It takes the bruise away quickly if you apply it right away. Sometimes it stops the bruising all together. Either way, it helps reduce the physical appearance of bruises. Here’s what you need to do to make it.
There are two types of St. John’s Wort commonly found in the US. The preferred type is Hypericum ascyron L. great St. Johnswort. This type is taller and grows along roadsides and in fields. This is the type I prefer but I can’t always find it in our area. The other type is Hypericum perforatum L. common St. Johnswort. This is what you will find at a plant store or in an herb garden. I have tried to plant great St. John’s Wort in my garden and it has never taken root. I now have three plant of common St. John’s Wort growing in my garden and this is what I used for this batch.
St. John’s Wort blooms in the summer. Mine has been blooming for about a month. When we were camping last month in Wisconsin, I found some blooming there, too. Once you learn to spot the stuff, you won’t have any problem identifying it when it’s blooming. You do really need them in full bloom and you will have to just focus on the full flowers so depending on how much you find, you might need to take multiple trips to gather. I’ve gotten in the habit of grabbing a handful of flowers every couple of days. By the end of the summer I will have a full batch. My previous batch lasted me years and years, so this is not something you have to do very often.
Grab the flowers in full bloom. Carefully pinch them off the plant without damaging the plant. you want to grab the little green bit at the base of the flower, too. Once the flower is free from the plant you need to pinch/smash it between your fingers. I use a sort of rolling motion. This activates the good stuff. See the purple/red on my fingers? That’s exactly what we want.
Now drop that smashed flower in to a jar. Top with oil of choice. I used sweet almond oil in the past. This time I’m using good olive oil. Cover the jar and keep it in a dark place. You will want to let it steep in the oil for as long as possible. Eventually, it will turn a dark red color. This is what you want. You can strain it and add other things like bees wax to make it a salve. I just use the oil straight topically. The oil is red when you use it. Be careful about getting it on clothing and furniture.
That’s all there is to it. I hope you get a chance to make some this summer. It’s super easy to do and great to have on hand. You never know when you are going to need it.