by Rebecca Luna, Herbalist, Shop Owner
One of my personal favorite and most special days of the year at Rebecca’s is when we get to do our annual St. John’s Wort Harvest. We have been harvesting and making fresh, St. John’s Wort Infused Olive Oil in the same tradition on the same piece of land for the last 15 years. It started with just me, hiking up the hillside with my jar of oil, then with one employee, then with a few and sometimes a friend, and now has grown to include our whole shop crew. It is a time for us all to come together, celebrate old traditions, be with the plants and to make a vibrant, love-filled and valuable medicinal, herbal preparation.
Gathering very early in the morning, we caravan up to a gorgeous slice of organically certified land in the Boulder foothills. We each have a glass jar about 1/3rd filled with organic olive oil. We hike up the hillside, walking single file and pointing out our blooming friends along the way. When we get to the proper patch, we connect with the plants by sitting with them, quieting ourselves and offering a gift of thanks. This gift is individual to each person. I tend to bring a nutrient rich tea, which I pour onto the base of the plant, others may offer a crystal or some a dried herb mixture. Once we feel grounded and connected, we start the harvest. We collect bundles of the St. John’s Wort flowers until we have a little bouquet, then we sit on the earth and snip the fresh flowers into the waiting oil. We collect more flowers, sit, snip and repeat. Many of us will quietly sing during this process as another way to honor the plants and stay connected throughout our work. We do this until we feel we are done. It is wonderful to witness year after year, that we always collectively know when we’re done. You can just feel it.
Both tired and blissed out, we caravan back to the shop and carefully place our precious jars in the kitchen. We then go out and share a meal together at one of our wonderful local restaurants. Satiated, and full of gratitude, it’s time to go back to the shop. There we top off the jars with more olive oil and mix the blends together so that they are evenly infused. We cover the jars with cheesecloth, allowing excess moisture to come out of the preparations. These infusions then sit, being stirred frequently, macerating up to about six weeks. As with the harvest, it’s done, when it feels done. To quote my Grandmother, “You’ll know”. We then strain the oil from the spent flowers and let that sit for another couple of days, letting sediment settle to the bottom of the jars. Then, ever so carefully, we decant the oil into dark jars to be stored, used in our products, and sold on its own.
That is the story of our Fresh St. John’s Wort Infused Olive Oil. This process always brings me tremendous joy and gratitude. It feels like a great example of the blessings that come from working with plants and from running a small business. In both instances we can continue with time-tested traditions in our own way, at our own pace.
Recipes & How to Use St John’s Wort Infused Olive Oil
by Amber Graziano, General Manager & Herbalist
At the apothecary, we have a deep love for infusing medicinal plants into olive oil and then using the infused oils in body oils, salves, butters, lotions and more. This traditional method for therapeutic topical preparations is both effective and simple.
Topical Applications for St. John’s Wort Infused Oil(from The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants by Matthew Wood)
- Inflammatory processes with acute pain.
- Injuries to parts rich in nerves with inflammation, convulsion, spasm, redness, heat, shooting pains, sharp, needle-like pains; injuries attended with great pain.
- Sharp, shooting pains along nerves.
- Neuralgia, sciatica.
- Deep wounds; heals from the inside out.
- Skin conditions, burns, ulcers, skin tags.
- Corns, boils, ulcers, skin tags.
- Radiation burns.
- Bruises & sores.
- Dry, overheated & sun-exposed skin.
Recipes for St. John’s Wort Infused Oil
Summer Solstice Face Serum
.50 oz Rosehip Seed Oil
.50 oz St. John’s Wort Infused Oil
3 drops Helichrysum essential oil
2 drops German Chamomile essential oil
5 drops Carrot Seed essential oil
5 drops Frankincense CO2
3 drops Geranium essential oil
1 oz Boston Round Bottle with dropper top
Pour Rosehip seed oil and St. John’s Wort oil into a 1-ounce Boston Round bottle with a dropper top, add drops of essential oils, shake well and label. Apply daily as moisturizer and enjoy the benefits of this nourishing face serum.
Colorado Woodland Body Oil
4 ounces St. John’s Wort infused oil
1-dram Forest essential oil blend
4 ounce Boston Round Bottle with pump top or cap
Add 40 drops of Forest essential oil blend into bottle of St. John’s Wort infused oil. Shake well and do a test patch on your skin. Smell to see if you desire a stronger scent. If so, add 5 drops at a time testing as you go. Once desired scent strength is reached, label and date. Apply in place of or in addition to your favorite moisturizer.
St. John’s Wort All Purpose Salve
4 ounces St. John’s Wort infused oil
.50 oz Beeswax pearls or chopped pieces
20 drops Calendula CO2
20 drops Rosehip CO2
(5) 1 ounce metal or glass jars, or (1) 4 ounce glass jar + (1) 1 ounce glass jar
Add ingredients together in a small double boiler. Once beeswax is fully melted, remove from heat, and add Calendula CO2 & Rosehip CO2. Mix thoroughly and pour salve into (5) 1-ounce small glass or metal containers. Let cool overnight and then lid, label and date.