Two of my favourite oils to make every summer are St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) and Marigold (Calendula officinalis) oils because of the intense red and orange colours. Working with the plants is always a feast for the senses from the aromas of the leaves and flowers to the feel of the roots and of course all the colours.
When making plant extractions for medicines the colours are often a surprise. St. John’s Wort is probably the most exciting of them as the flower buds turn both oil and alcohol into a bright rich red.
We often dry or semi dry St. John’s Wort and Calendula flowers before making into infused oils. Moisture content of the plant material is the enemy in herbal oil making. In Ireland, so much is weather dependant when working with plants. The dampness and air humidity are certainly a draw back.
St. John’s Wort oil is invaluable for musculoskeletal oil blends and ointments in combination with other herbs and spices. It’s also fantastic for lotions and oil blends we would make for patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia, sciatica and even shingles! It’s always combined with other herbs specific to the patient’s presentation so external remedies are made for the individual. St. John’s wort oil is for external use only. Herbalists will usually always make up an internal formula of herbs to be taken alongside topical remedies for conditions.
Calendula oil is a must have in any clinician’s dispensary. It’s anti-inflammatory and vulnerary actions make it ideal for use alone on cuts, wounds and rashes of all kinds. We use it in a multitude of creams, lotions, and oil blends for varicose ulcers, acne, eczema, and all kinds of skin conditions. It’s a classic cottage garden herb to have growing for home remedy making.
We’ve been straining and bottling lots of herbal oils this week during the rainy days. With so many plants flowering at the moment there’s still ample time to get harvesting this season