Saturday, June 21, 2008

Solar-Infused St.John's Wort Oil...1-2-3

... otherwise known as Hypericum oil. The Latin name for St. John's Wort is Hypericum perforatum. Called 'Perforatum' for the teeny tiny pinpoint size 'perforations' in the leaves. You can see them if you hold the leaf up to the sky. Those pinpoint holes are identification marker #1. See those plump and juicy buds? They are ripe for the pickin', Bud.
Well, maybe it's not exactly 'pickin'.' Plucking and Pinching are better descriptive words. You'll notice that your pinching fingers will turn a lovely shade of crimson. This is identification marker #2. I like to pinch the buds just before I drop them into a small jar of olive oil that I keep close by the plant. Yes, it can get very tedious at times. You may only get a few buds everyday, but persistence is the key to get the desired results. Be sure to keep the lid on tight and elevate it slightly off the dirt so that it gets the full benefit of the blazing solar rays. (I use a small stool) It will need to remain out there for one month.
Before you start you should know that less oil is better. Trust me on this. It is better to have only a few drops of perfect St. John's Wort oil, than a whole quart of mediocre oil!
After one month in the sun, adding buds daily or every other day, you will be rewarded with an oil that is more precious than red, red rubies....well,okay, in the Farm at Coventry book, anyway. Deep red oil is the perfect identification (#3) of a very well made St. John's Wort oil. The red pigment in the flowers is called hypericin, one of the most useful compounds found in the plant. It is only available in abundance in the fresh flowers, disintegrating rapidly when dried.This is all that remains of the oil that I made last year. That is a good thing. Oops, sorry, Martha.I know you probably own the rights to that line now..but it is a very good thing to make just enough oil to last the whole year. After straining the oil through a fine strainer, label and store in a cool, dark cupboard. This is the first this oil has been in bright sunlight since last summer at this time!I like to use this as a massage oil to the neck, shoulders and spine area which is rich in nerve endings. And especially tail bones injuries...ouch! As you can probably imagine, there are alot of nerves there. The oil is useful for pinched, inflamed nerves, particularly sciatica.  I always add a few drops of essential oil of lavender to the finished oil, too. Goood stuff.


Lorelei Ranveig said...

I'm curious, where to you get the oil that you use? I go through so much sometimes, because I like to make oils for a whole number of reasons. But it gets so costly. I purchase in bulk sometimes from Echo Hills (a local Mennonite grocer who sells in bulk), or from BJ's Wholesale. I just cannot find anywhere who charges less. I used to purchase wholesale, but they raised their prices and it just didn't make sense after shipping thereafter. Thanks!

I love the St. John's Wort. It has been useful for us in so many ways. I'm aching to grow some of my own more recently. Our yard space is so limited...but there is never too little space! ;)
Doesn't St. John's also give off the red as a dye for clothing? We like to have "dye" days, but I haven't used St. John's yet. On our most recent dye day, we used Weld and Woad...that was fun!

Susan said...

We buy 5 gallon buckets locally and it is still very pricey. No cutting corners when you use good olive oil. We use it for all of our soap making as well.I wouldn't use SJW for dyeing. It's too precious and time consuming to harvest.


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