Monday, August 4, 2008

St. John's Wort

I was so happy to find a healthy stand of this golden gem this summer. I've gone somewhat over the top with making various extracts and enjoying a lot of experimentation.

For those of you not familiar with this sunny wonder, St. John's Wort has a number of uses from uplifting the spirit to combatting viruses. It has has fantastical flowers that bloom around the summer solstice, however the stand I found was several miles up Twisp River Road and didn't reach it's peak until mid July.

Although the flower itself is a bright yellow, if you rub the yellow flower between your fingertips you’ll find a lovely purple stain left behind. This is due to it's magical abilities as well as the constituent hypericin which studies show is a powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-depressive, and anti-inflammatory substance. This has launched hypericin capsules and tablets – but I’ll take the whole fresh plant for my healing.

In the past I had mostly harvested the open flowers, but while I was rubbing the flowers between my fingers I noticed this year that more color was secreted in the flower buds.

I love St. John's Wort for it's ability to completely stop herpes virus in it's tracks. When I feel a cold sore coming on I reach for this herb first. I take the alcohol extract internally - 20 drops three times a day, as well as use external applications of the alcohol tincture and oil. This past weekend I made a very effective cold sore care lip balm with St. John's Wort, lemon balm, and tree tea oil. With frequent applications it stopped the cold sore I was getting in less than three hours.

I've been experimenting with using different alcohol strengths this year. Yet again, the 95% seems to be much more vibrant, while the 40% vodka seems to be a watered down version. However, for external application I prefer the 40% on my lips.

I also use St. John's Wort exclusively for nerve pain, either as an oil or liniment. I had a client two weeks ago complaining of chronic sciatic pain. Diagnostic testing revealed that her deep external rotators were completed restricted and her lumbar spine was under compression as well. I gave her some oil and extract which she used palliatively, until we could get the rest of her sorted out.

I've also used St. John's Wort Tincture externally for fungal infections. Again, it works great, although it can temporarily give skin a reddish hue.

A few weeks ago I made a trauma salve with equal parts:

St. John's Wort
Lavender EO

and last night I made up a bug bite salve with:

2 parts plantain
1 part St. John's Wort
1 part cottonwood
Lavender EO