Bursts of yellow bunches of St Johns Wort dotted the highway as we drove to one of my favorite foraging sites. Seeing this excited me, one for the fact these herbaceous perennia are so resilient (I often find these growing straight out of a crack of concrete), and two because this was the very beauty I was embarked on to gather.
St. John's wort starts to blooms on the summer solstice and many like to harvest on St. John's day, June 24th. Christians commonly called this plant the blood of Christ and associate the flowers five yellow petals as that of a halo, representing the sunlight and sun linking St John whom also symbolizes light. Mature plant foliage, ones that are ready for picking, display red spots which mimic stigmata which only shows on those who are ready for an intense life serving Christ.
Before Christian beliefs, St. John's wort was used to banish evils and illness of many types for centuries around the world. Ancient China referred to this plant as Qian Ceng Lou and was used to treat many of the same complaints today. Greeks and Romans utilized it in the same manner but also for their magic as it was a common offering to gods and goddesses leaving bundles at the feet of their statues.
Today St Johns Wort is used as an antidepressant and for nervous problems. The flowers and leaves are analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, resolvent, sedative, stimulant and vulnerary. Fresh flowers are used to make healing oils and tinctures. Fresh leave along with flowers are yummy additions when tossed into a summer salad. When making medicine, let the plant wilt so moisture doesn't spoil your product. I like to let my oil infusion sit in the sun to soak up all those warm summer day rays. Your infusions will turn a deep red over the course of a few weeks to months. Great remedy for seasonal affective disorder. A little bottle of liquid sunshine for those dreary days. 🌞