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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!


Love your site!... it is fantastically informative, if the Saint johns wort is made in coconut oil /olive oil and then refrigerated is it safe to take internally? Does high-quality vodka tincture prevent any kind of poisoning and should that also be refrigerated ? Many thanks, I steeped my flowers in olive oil in the sun last summer until deep red for a couple of wks. and refrigerated as a topical pain reliever and Massage oil but would like to take it internally this yr...also, since the other articles suggest working with the dried herb is not that effective I'm wondering why the above information? Thank u!

Botulism is a problem with an airless environment with water, that is, oil and fresh herb. I wouldn't ingest a steeped fresh herb oil, unless it's been steeped for less than three days and kept refrigerated the whole time.
A SJW oil made with dried herb won't turn red. Other preparations (powder, tea, tincture) work fine with dried SJW.
A tincture with SJW, dried or fresh, has no problem with botulism; it's alcohol, not oil.

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