The Sunniest and Merriest of Summer's Yellow Flowers,
the Cheery Face
of St. John's Wort Heals You in Many Ways

(Before I supply you with all the good St. John's Wort (SJW) stuff, the following blather has been requested, and faithfully supplied for the yahoo group ATFE aka Aromatherapy for Everyone's subpage - the ATFE Herb Garden).

Personal Information on the happy herbalist responsible for this website
Anya McCoy, in an alchemical blaze of fitting word to image to folklore to folks, scratched through her harddrive, both in her head, and on her computer, to post this page to the ATFE Herb Garden for posterity (since Stacey demanded it).

Astrological Sign
Stacey, the "ride 'em hard and put 'em away wet" ATFE taskmistress is by no way, shape or form to be mistaken with me, a spacey, yet punctual and sweet-smelling Libran. (she's a Virgo, and we know what that means, re: previous thread on ATFE).

Varies according to the decade. This decade, writer, herbalist, aromatherapist, perfumer, environmentalist. Last decade, land planner, urban designer, photographer, publicist, magazine writer, herbalist, aromatherapist, elected official, professor. Before that -- memory fails me, but basically the same as before. Next decade -- anybody's guess.

Steamy Miami, Florida, USA, where the Sunbelts of many Third World countries coalesce into a mango jalapeno akee mojo mushmush. Ask me about my jasmines on my property, aka JasmineWorld.

Personal hobbies and interests
Don't get me started. Really. Don't. I'm ambihobbist.

Aromatherapy (AT) Roots- what brought me to aromatherapy; education; background.
Perfume lover since able to sniff. First blend, at age 2.5, combining two of my favorite scents, resulted in big discovery: they stunk when combined. Always gardened. Got degree in Ethnobotany, studied and wrote book on herbs for University of California. Started collecting essential oils as child, then got serious about building my collection during ethnobotany studies.  Started community gardens. Got Masters in Landscape Architecture. Designed aromatic gardens, both public and private. Collected many aromatherapy plagiarized, fairy tale books. Challenged them. Got on web lists and learned and argued with others as to the information being put out there by aromatherapists. Put up webpage on AT. Blend and play with AT all the time. Finance clinical trials using SJW oil and AT oils.

Current AT use, specializations, business or hobby activity
Oh, everything.


Plant Information
Alright already, you might say -- what in Bob's name is SJW
doing as part of an Aromatherapy Herb Garden project?
Well, a few years ago AT folks discovered that the infused oil of SJW,
which herbalists had been using since time immemorial, made a fabulous
carrier oil for pain-relief blends. Being an herbalist and aromatherapist
who infused her own SJW, I volunteered to bring the vast repository
(cool term for clipped off the 'net) of information, links, photos, etc.,
on this wonderful herb to the ATFE Garden.

Common plant name
St. John's Wort, Klamath Weed

Scientific/Latin plant name
Hypericum perforatum

Photos of SJW, the plant, the harvest, the infused oil
Photo page click here

Why I choose the plant
It provided me with a truly miraculous healing for my arthritic fingers
(rheumatoid) and sciatica. It also cured my psoriasis (or eczema)
I had on my hands. I had both conditions for over 10 years.

Plant history and folklore
It is associated with St. John, the cousin of Christ. The red color of
the infused oil signifies the blood of St. John. It is believed to reach
the peak of potency on June 23rd (or 24th), St. John's Eve. Wort is
the old English word for plant or herb. The sunny yellow flowers are
closely allied to the powers of the sun, and solar infusion of the oil
yielded a deep red color, in the alchemic sense. Instead of trying to
rewrite history, I ask you to click on some of the links, below, for the
rich and redolent history of this plant's medicinal use throughout the ages.
e.g., from Pagan folklore:

Litha - A Midsummer's Celebration
The young maid stole through the cottage door,
And blushed as she sought the Plant of pow'r;--
'Thou silver glow-worm, O lend me thy light,
I must gather the mystic St. John's wort tonight,
The wonderful herb, whose leaf will decide
If the coming year shall make me a bride.

Traditional use of the plant
Antiinflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, relief for depression.
The infused oil has been used for pain, sprains, wounds, skin diseases
and the like. It can be gently rubbed in, massaged in, or used with a
poultice. The tincture (made by macerating the herb in alcohol) and the
tea is taken internally for relieving depression. There is some anecdotal
evidence of the tincture being taken internally for pain.

AT use
Since aromatherapists discovered the oil in the past five years or so,
they have adopted it as carrier oil for blends that contain the essential
oils they use in massage, usually for pain relief. Since aromatherapy is
defined as the use of essential oils, the infused, or fixed oil of SJW is
not an aromatherapy product.  I personally like the essential oil of SJW,
which is now being produced for the perfumery industry. It is lovely,
and reminds me of a mossy forest floor.

How to use it
Infused oil -- for pain relief
Tea and tincture -- for depression
Essential oil -- for perfumery

Blends, recipes and formulas
Since SJW is a fixed oil, it can be used in proportions that aromatherapists
are used to for blending. I personally believe that aromatherapy often confused
hot and cold-giving essential oils in blends, and I regard SJW oil as an
antiinflammatory, 'cooling' agent.

Cautions, contra-indications and special notes
SJW is a prohibited plant in many western states, due to the fact that
when cattle graze on the herb, they become very sunsensitive. There
is some anecdotal evidence that humans may also suffer from this
phototoxicity, but others debunk this claim. You can research this
on the internet. In the link to, below, you can find
information about the contraindications of taking SJW internally,
as it can interfere with some medications. Again, this can be
researched on the internet.

Research links to find more wonderful stuff about SJW
Pubmed (click on) is a great resource. Just type in hypericum
for hundreds of medical abstracts on the herb. (click on) aka American Botanical Council
Great Site! I'm a member, and I encourage you to join
if you're interested in herbs. This is a link to a page with a lot
of links on SJW. Great info, mostly on the antidepressive effects,
but some on the antiviral, wound-healing, pain relief effects, too.

Here are a bunch of links to sites I have bookmarked. There are
too many to manually link, so you'll have to cut and paste them, if
you're interested in visiting them.

Don't forget to visit the SJW Photo page - Photo page click here

Anya's Home Page