Late solstice harvest

St. John’s Wort flowers and oil made by Rachel, head gardener at the Asha centre. St. John’s Wort is one of the few oils that must be made in sunshine and not heated. For many other oils (marigold, comfrey, chamomile) I find a gentle heat overnight in a slow cooker makes the best oils, but St.John’s Wort would be damaged like this. Instead it should be harvested as dry as possible, chopped fine, covered with a base oil (Almond is a fine oil to use) and left where it can be exposed to sun over two weeks. Obviously this can be rather problematic in England, but the main concern is to keep a check in case it becomes cloudy (with water) or has condensation collecting on the sides of the jar. If this is the case, 20 minutes of gentle heat should help clarify it. Once a rich red colour (2-6 weeks depending on sun) the oil can be easily strained through a coffee filter. This is an oil I use frequently in the clinic, particularly when there is hyper-sensitivity. Used in this way it is often experienced as warming, calming and protective.

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