St John’s Wort is blooming at Gritman’s.
These are beautiful blooms and a classic herb. This particular St John’s Wort is considered a Texas Native. It’s scientific name is Hypericum frondosum. The name hypericum is derived from hyper meaning above and eikon meaning picture, in reference to the traditional use of the plant to ward off evil, by hanging plants over a religious icon in the house during Saint John’s day. H. perforatum is the plant known for relieving depression. This is a good example of how much confusion there is in the herbal world. The depression medicine is only in the perforatum genus and is only in the flower. The depression medicine in the flower is oil soluble and will not be released in water based teas. The flower needs an oil or fatty medium like factionated coconut oil to release its medicine. Capsules with leaves and flowers will not help depression. The oil turns red when the flower’s release their medicine and this lets you know that you truly have anti-depressive medicine. The St. John’s Wort that grows here in the Gritman garden does not produce this medicine, but it does produce fat soluble medicine that is antispasmodic. It other words it reduces tension or spasm. It is also inflammatory and can be used for red damaged skin or inflamed insect bites.
We make St. John’s Wort right in the garden. We bring our jars with a bottom layer of salt to absorb water. pick the flowers, and add fractionated coconut oil. This jar stays in the garden for a month and the sun and heat of the day gently warm the oil and pull the medicinal properties from the flowers. The oil takes on a light yellow color which tells you that flavonoids or anti-oxidants are present. This maceration of St. John’s Wort has a light delicate scent. Once the oil is strained, it can be used for many things.
A drop or two applied to temples and back of the neck will relieve headaches. Use the oil in massage for painful joints or muscles. It can also be used with lower back pain especially when the muscles are in spasm. Add peppermint, lavender, and/or geranium to help prevent or treat sunburn. For varicose veins add cypress to the St, John’s Wort’s Maceration and apply to legs massaging toward the heart.
Now what about the St. John’s Wort essential oil? Does it help depression? No, it does not. It is made from the plant that produces Hypericin, the anti-depression medicine, but this molecule is too large to come across the distillation tube and stays behind with the gross plant material. St. John’s Wort essential oil is very helpful for headaches caused by Menopause. It is the kind of headache that feels like a band is wrapped around your head and it is squeezes tighter and tighter. It relieves the tension and allows the headache to dissipate. St John’s Wort essential oil is used to balance the physical and the spiritual and relieve any tension from the imbalance.
Here is a picture of the St. John’s Wort shrub. It grows to 3 feet tall here but I have heard it growing larger. It likes partial shade and blooms only in the Spring for us. Right now we pick the flowers every morning. This will last until June and then we have to wait until next year.