Picking St. John's wort.
Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 12:01:42 -0400
From: Patricia Harper <HarperP.AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: Harvesting St. John's Wort
There are many ornamental St. John's Worts that grow in many climates, typically with 1-2 inch yellow flowers on trailing ground cover or medium shrubs. Be sure you have Hypericum Perferatum for medicinal use. It is usually 1-3 feet tall and looks like a weed; the flowers are much smaller than the garden varieties, about 1/2 inch across.
Harvest the whole flowering tops of the plant's branches and mainstem, when freshly blooming. Slightly wilt the fresh plant and begin your oil infusion before it dries. "Traditionally," the plant is harvested on St. John's Day (June 24th), which was just right in far, far north-western California, where I used to find it.
For you herb-lore-lovers out there:
A sprig of St. John's Wort (first passed through your midsummer's-eve-bonfire), can be hung over your door to protect you from witches.
In fact, it is a perfect replacement for that golden bough (i.e. mistletoe sprig) you might have cut down from an oak on the previous summer solstice, and hung at midwinter.