this week in the herb garden

...it is time to harvest St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St John’s Wort can be found growing in sunny fields and hedgerows as well as in partial shade. It has oval shaped leaves and golden yellow, five petalled flowers. When held up to the light the translucent leaf glands appear to be perforations. An infused oil of the flowering tops is both healing and anti inflammatory. I make a beautiful dark red oil which can be used directly on the skin, or added to healing salves and lotions to treat bruises, burns and insect bites. All that is required is a clean, dry jar with a lid and some good quality light olive oil or sweet almond oil. I gather the flowers on a dry day, when in bloom, and put them into the oil to infuse for 4 - 6 weeks. After this time it is strained through cheesecloth and stored in a cool place to be used as required.