st- john's wort

Wild harvesting St. John’s Wort

It was mid June when I ventured out on my first "herb hunt". I walked down the path behind our neighborhood, a trail I had been on countless times but had never thought about the plants around me.

With new eyes, herbs jumped out at me: lemon verbena, yarrow, St. John's wort, rosemary, lavender. They grew quietly, swaying in the summer breeze. How had I missed them all these years?

I harvested my first flowers of St. John's Wort that week; their little yellow star flowers were just beginning to open. From those precious buds I made my first infused oil.

I placed a jar of olive oil packed with blooms in the sun.

Two weeks later it was ruby-red and enriched with the blood of the flowers, a healing liquid called hypericin. Hypericin, I came to learn, has anti-inflammatory and astringent qualities that make it useful for healing burns, rashes and skin irritation. Amazing!

That scarlet oil sits proudly on my shelf today and I use it in several of my creations.

I often look at it, smile and think back to my first summer in love with herbs.