St. John's Wort

St. John’s Wort blooms at midsummer, and its clear yellow flowers capture the essence of sunlight. It’s been well-established for decades now as a reliable remedy for ‘mild to moderate depression’, but its healing action on the nervous system goes much further than that. For anything from easing the pain of post-herpetic neuralgia to slowing down the progress of degenerative conditions like multiple sclerosis, St.John’s Wort is one of the first herbs to choose.
It’s a slow and steady worker, coming into its own after some weeks of continuous use, and happy to work alongside other herbs like Yarrow, Rosemary or Oatstraw. Not to be used with some kinds of anti-depressant drugs, however, so always tell your doctor if you want to take St. John’s Wort, and ask your herbalist’s advice if you have one. It’s not that there are any harmful side-effects, but St. John’s Wort will cause the drug to be metabolised more quickly than usual, so you will lose some of its action. In any case, the gently supportive effect of the herb would be overshadowed by the drug, so it’s best kept for times when you’d rather avoid drugs altogether, or after you have come off them.
If you steep the flowers in an oil such as sunflower, leaving it in sunlight and turning it every day, after about six weeks you will have a rich red oil which can be made into a cream or applied directly to the skin. It is anti-inflammatory, soothing burns, chilblains, neuralgia and general aches and pains. Not a herb that pushes its way into the limelight, despite all the publicity it’s received in recent years, but a gentle, reliable friend that gives solid background support where it is needed.


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