Companion Botanical: Saint John’s Wort
Hypericum perforatum, or common Saint John’s wort, is a member of the hypericaceae family. Its common name is based on the fact that it generally blooms at the beginning of summer on or around June 24th, which is the birthday of the biblical John the Baptist. It is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, and is considered an invasive species in the United States. It generally grows in “neglected” areas such as fields, roadsides and recently disturbed earth. One unique characteristic of the flower and leaves of Saint John’s wort are the glands located within them. When rubbed between the fingers, these glands release a dark red pigment which will stain the skin. When infused into a base oil, it will turn that base blood red if done in sufficient proportion and time. While it is highly regarded for its medicinal benefits in humans, it can be poisonous to livestock because of its tendency to produce photosensitivity.
Saint John’s wort is perhaps best known for its ability to promote a healthy mood. For thousands of years, with evidence extending back to ancient Greece, it has been taken internally to treat melancholy and “madness.” In contemporary times, most notably in Europe, it is commonly advised for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. While in some cases it can be more effective than prescription anti-depressants, caution must be exercised because it interacts with many other prescription drugs, limiting their effectiveness. Taken alone and in the correct dose it is generally regarded as safe.
Topically, Saint John’s wort has a long history of use as an anti-inflammatory, particularly in the treatment of swelling, burns and bruises. It is for this reason that we have chosen it as an ingredient in our 1:1 Salve and Ceres Hemp Infused Salve. Both of these products begin with a base of organic coconut and hemp seed oils that have been infused with the organic flowers of Saint John’s wort, arnica and chamomile. This powerful flower formulation is in place to boost the therapeutic effects of CBD, which people often forget, is also derived from a flower… the Cannabis sativa flower.
Fun Fact: “Wort” is an old English word that means “plant” or “herb,” especially one with medicinal value.