Its so easy to make this very useful healing oil, all you need is a patch of St Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) to harvest the flowers from, a nice light vegetable oil, a lidded jar, some sunshine and a little time.
St Johns wort is flowering now here in East Sussex and should be easy to spot in the hedgerows or long grass, look out for the star like yellow flowers in clusters at the top of the plant, growing up to around 2 feet tall. An easy way to positively identify the plant is to hold a leaf up to the sun – if you see tiny holes in the leaves then you have St Johns wort, the name ‘perforatum’ refers to these tiny perforations.
Pick the flowers on a dry day when they are fully opened and in perfect condition, before they start to shrivel or go brown. Make sure you only take a few flowers from each plant so that plenty of flowers remain – these will go on to produce seeds and allow the plant to proliferate next year, hopefully the patch will spread year after year and provide even more flowers to harvest.
Put as many flowers as you can in the jar and pour on enough oil ( I used sunflower oil ) to cover the flowers. Make sure the flowers are good and dry as any moisture on them can make the oil go rancid very quickly. Shake the jar a bit to get rid of any air bubbles, then secure the lid and put aside in a sunny place ( inside on a windowsill or outside ) to infuse for at least a couple of weeks, preferably a month. I have been adding fresh flowers to mine every couple of days, as and when more flowers open and are available, topping up with more oil if needed.
The finished oil will be a gorgeous sunset red colour and at this point, strain out the flowers and any other bits of debris and store in a lidded jar or bottle in a cool, dark place for future use.
This healing oil is like liquid sunshine and is especially good when applied to the skin for easing muscle pains, sprains, knocks, bumps and inflammation, nerve pain from shingles, stabbing or shooting pains, painful and/or arthritic joints, to speed up healing of broken bones, burns, sunburn, cuts, wounds, abrasions, insect bites and skin conditions like psoriasis. It is also a reliable anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibiotic. A few drops in the ear will also quickly relieve earache. * External use only. not to be taken orally.
It makes a great base for an ointment or add other herbs or essential oils to it for even more healing properties. All in all a very useful ally to have in the herbal cupboard, I make a small batch every year and it has become a welcome seasonal friend. I am expecting this years batch to be especially powerful as I have a friendly Gnome watching over it !