St. John's wort: picking it.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Harvesting St. Johns Wort
From: (Henriette Kress)
Date: Sat, 25 Jan 1997 21:38:24 GMT

>I have some St. Johns Wort growing in my garden. Spring is a long way off but I am looking for information on how to harvest it and then what to do with it afterward to make it useable.

Provided you have a medicinal species of Hypericum (the yellow flower will stain your fingers red when you crush it):

Take a big basket and lots of patience out with you on the meadow to gather St.John's wort. Now you have to make a choice between quality and time spent on the meadow:

  • either pick only the yellow part of the flower, and mainly plants which have both buds and flowers (no seeding flowers yet) ... this will take -ages- but you'll have excellent quality oil or tincture when you're done.
  • or pick the top 5 cm of the flowering plant - you'll need scissors or a knife for this, they do tend to come up root and all if you simply try to 'pick' it; you'll get good quality oil or tincture when you're done. (this is what I usually do)
  • or pick all but the lowest 10 cm of the flowering plant - you'll get quality oil or tincture when you're done.

If some flowers have gone to seed, ok, no need to discard that part.
If some flowers are but buds - that's really good.

It's not feasible to pick only buds (even if this would theoretically yield the best-quality oil or tincture), as

  1. you won't even see the plants in the high grass of the meadow
  2. it'll take -ages- to pick this meagre take (it takes ages to do the flowers only, and buds are -lots- smaller)
  3. the flowers are prettier, and it makes me happy to go in a kind of zen-like state just picking yellow Hypericum -flowers

Next step: pour your take onto a large sheet of newspaper, and let it be in shade for an hour or so to give the small black beetles a chance to leave. There's -lots- of them, at least in my Hypericums.

Then: either crush the lot and pour oil over it, or crush the lot and pour alcohol over it.

For the oil, or the regular tincture, you need a wide jar with a tight-fitting lock, and leave it in your window for 7 days or so. After 7 days you filter the stuff and pour it into bottles with tight-fitting lids. The oil has to be decanted off the bottom layer after about 4 days.

And the experts say that dried herb doesn't cut it. I tend to believe them.


From: Deb Skinner <>

>I have some St. Johns Wort growing in my garden.

Refer to 'Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West' by Michael Moore
ISBN 1-878610-31-7

I go out every day and pick some of the flowers [leaving some for the bees]. I put some into a jar of whichever oil I happen to be thrilled with [hypericum infused in pecan oil made a very nice face creme] and some into 40-45% alcohol [cherry brandy won around here]. I also eat a few flowers every day just to keep the blues away. ;>