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Stored sunshine - St Johnswort OilStored sunshine –St. John’s wort Oil

St. Johnswort blossoms along the roadside.

St. Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum),was all the rage in the 90′s as a herbal remedy for depression. As is often the case with health fads,people soon lost interest,the effects of this common summer-blooming weed being too subtle for those accustomed to aggressive pharmaceutical solutions.

Since then,through my forays into the world of herbal skin care,I’ve gained a high regard for this lowly plant and look forward to its blooming each summer. Infused in extra virgin olive oil,the bright,yellow flowers mysteriously transform the golden liquid into a deep auburn-red.

I especially love the way St. Johns wort oil imparts warmth in winter. It envelopes cold,moisture-starved skin like an August heat wave. It feels so good that once experienced,capturing those little yellow flowers and the sunshine they contain becomes a summer foraging priority.

To make hypericum oil,fill a jar loosely with flowers,avoiding the green parts and including any plump buds. Then submerge in olive,sweet almond or grape seed oil. Shake the jar well and leave in a sunny windowsill,giving a shake once or twice a day. After about 6 weeks,strain through cheesecloth,and bottle in a sterilized jar and store in a cool dark place.

The oil can be used as-is for massage oil,serum or worked into home made lotions,scrubs and salves. Money just can’t buy such a high quality skin care product and one that preserves the essence of summer happiness. But you have to pick and make it yourself to get the maximum therapeutic effect.

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