Hypericum perforatum (St John's-wort): Herbal properties & infused oil preparation

St John's-wort is one of the most popular and commonly used herbs. Herbalists adore to use its oily extract which has been  traditionally recommended for a wide range of medical conditions, in particular mild-to-moderate depression.

Hypericum perforatum is well known since antiquity for its healing properties and numerous medicinal  applications. It is often recorded by Galen and Dioscorides for its wound healing properties.
It is said the its name Hypericum is derived from the Greek words Υπέρ=Hyper=above and Eικών=religious icon, in reference to the medieval tradition of hanging plants over religious icons at home during St John's Day to ward off evil.
Perforatum, latin word for perforated, refers to its flower petals's appearance. When held up to light, the translucent petals glands resemble perforated. In fact they are speckled with dark stigmas containing essential oils and resins. If you try to  rub the petals of the herb with your fingers  they will become red due to because of hypericin one of the principal active constituents of Hypericum. Besides hypericin, the other active ingredients of the herb are hyperforin, flavonoids, tannins and essential oils.
St John's-wort is believed to have antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent and healing properties. It is considered effective for healing sciatica, rheumatic pain and aching joints.
Additionally, it is used for healing wounds, bruises and burns. Because of the sedative and analgesic properties it is ondidered as the natural Prozak an alternative  & effective antidepressant comparable with the standard ones while causing lower adverse effects.

Info: Richard Mabey, The New Age Herbalist, Simon & Schuster

To make a herbal infused oil with St John's-wort you will need: 

  • fresh (preferably as they are more potent) or dry St John's-wort flowers
  • vegetable oil, preferably extra virgin olive oil
  • vitamin E

St John's-wort oily extract is used as a carrier oil for massage and also as the main ingedient for the preparation of healing or cosmetic creams & lotions.