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Herb info 20/2017: St. John's wort.

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Herb card 20.2017: St. Johns wort. St. John's wort (SJW) is a perennial herb that likes dry meadows.

It's easy to tell SJW: crush a yellow flower in high summer. If it stains your fingers purple, it's a St. John's wort. During rainy summers or on sunny fall days the color is less strong. If it's a rainy fall, the color is absent altogether.

Some species of SJW won't color your fingers red. As far as I know, they can't be used. The redder the color, the stronger the herb, so do pick it during a sunny spell in high summer.

SJW is the depression herb, but personally, I prefer to give nutrients for that. I don't like giving only herbs for nutrient deficiencies. SJW strengthens the nerves and the nervous system, and it gives you sunny days during rainy times in your life.

Make a tincture: 100 g (4 oz) fresh flowering tops to 200 ml (½ pint) 95 % (190 proof) grain alcohol. Or 100 g (4 oz) dried flowering tops to 500 ml (2 pints) 60–70 % grain alcohol. Let steep for 2–4 weeks, strain, bottle, label. Take 15–30 drops 1–3 x/day.

Or make a tea: 1 teasp. dried or 2 teasp. fresh herb to 200 ml (½ pint) boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, strain. Drink 1–3 x/day.

An infused oil from the fresh flowering tops works exceedingly well for swelling from trauma and bruises. It heals nerves and can be useful for neuropathy, provided the damage is fairly recent (about 1–3 years). For those, use the herb internally as well. Older damage can respond, but not as well, and it'll take a long time.

Infused SJW oil used externally helps protect against sunburn.

Don't ingest infused oils made from fresh herb. They can contain botulism toxins.

SJW won't render contraceptive pills ineffective. Internal use can make sunburn worse, but this is rare. Don't use SJW with antidepressives and avoid it if your medication has been tailored to your metabolism. Transplantees should also avoid it.


Henriette's herb cards: buy yours here!

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