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Monday, July 27, 2009

St John's Wort Oil

My dear friend and mentor Margi Flint sent me some gorgeous fresh St John's Wort, Hypericum perforatum in the mail to make oil out of. St Johns Wort is one of the few plants, who's properties are actually activated by sunlight. What this means is that upon receiving the top flowering 6 inches of the plant, I immediately added olive oil into a 32oz jar filled with flowers, enough to cover the flowers and have an extra inch. I then blended this, trying not to burn out my motor. I ended up adding a little more oil to cover all the plant material. Because the flowers were fresh, I covered the top with cheesecloth and set it in the sun for 2 weeks(which in Texas may be overkill). My oil turned a gorgeous red color and is now ready to be strained and used. St Johns Wort is used topically as an Anti-inflammatory, particularly soothing to inflamed nerves, helpful for cases of neuralgia, and sciatica. It can also be used to treat sprains, burns, bruises and has a long history of use by midwives to treat tears and promote better healing after birthing. Locally, this species does not grow or flower well in gardens. Its closest native Texas relative is St. Andrews Cross, Hypericum hypericoides, which I tried making a tincture of and have no idea whther it will be useful like its Northern cousin, but why not try it out, eh?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My New Fresh Plant Tinctures from the Northeast

I just got back from the wonderful cool, wet weather in the Northeast, where I spent time at Margi Flint's house in Marblehead being introduced to all sorts of new Materia Medica to learn.
I came back with several single plant tinctures and was able to dig fresh Solomon's Seal Root, Yellow Dock Root, Burdock Root, and Wild Ginger Root. I also took a side trip to Misty Meadows herb farm in New Hampshire where I collected fresh Motherwort, Lycopus, and St Johns Wort to process.
My tincture making background is to either weigh fresh plant material at a 1:2 ratio (most of the time) at different percentages of alcohol depending on the plant. For example to process Yellow Dock I would chop or macerate 5 oz of root into 10 oz of alcohol in 75% alcohol.
Margi's method is a little different. She collects the root, macerates it into vodka and makes sure the plant material has about 2 inches of alcohol over the top of the plants.
Many herbalists have different methods for tincturing and its fun and interesting to learn them.
I am excited to see how these extracts come out.
Now its onward to shaking them regularly and waiting a full moon cycle....