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Making St. John's Wort Oil

The St. John’s Wort in my garden has been flowering for several weeks and is now at its peak during the days surrounding the summer solstice. In fact, St. John’s Wort got its name because it flowers around this time of year which is close to both the summer solstice and St. John’s Day on June 24th[1].  

This year I wanted to make St. John's Wort oil, and since I have not made it in many years, I searched around for a recipe to remind myself how to do it. I found a great article called How to Make St. John\’s Wort Oil and Skin Serum by Rosalee de la Forêt on, which provides her method for making St. John's Wort oil using the fresh plant solar infusion method. In addition, she includes some very interesting information about the use of St. John's Wort oil to protect the skin from sun damage. I highly recommend you check it out. It is such a timely topic as summer gets under way!

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Freshly chopped St. John's Wort ready to be infused with oil

One of my favorite things about St. John's Wort is how it turns red. Whether making a tincture or an oil, it is both exciting and validating when I see that my product has transformed in this concrete way. That is why I got nervous when it seemed like it was taking a long time for my olive oil infused St. John's Wort to change color. I think part of why it took nearly a week to begin to change is that it was cloudy outside when I first prepared the oil. Then I had to go away for several days and I didn't have a sunny place to leave it inside. When I got home, I was able to leave it outside in the sun for a few days, and it finally began to turn red.

The picture below shows the difference in color between St. John's Wort that had been prepared with jojoba oil moments before this photo was taken (left), and St. John's Wort that had been infusing in olive oil for 10 days (right).

Left: St. John's Wort covered with jojoba oil a few minutes before taking this picture. Right: St. John's Wort covered with olive oil that has been infusing for 10 days.

How to Make St. John's Wort Oil

  1. Snip the tops of St. John's Wort plants, taking just the flowers, buds, and tender leaves near the top.

  2. Cut up or chop the fresh plant until it is in small pieces.

  3. Add plant to 1/2 pint jar.

  4. Cover with oil of choice (olive oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, etc)

  5. Place in direct sunlight where it will get warm.

  6. Check daily that the plant material is fully covered by the oil in the jar.

If you are not able to make your own St. John's Wort oil, but would like to purchase a high quality oil that is handcrafted by an herbalist colleague of mine, you can check out the offerings of Elizabeth Gross at Selkie Medicinals. Please note that products are not always available since they are made seasonally, but can often be pre-ordered.

[1] Pöldinger W. Zur Geschichte des Johanniskrauts [History of St. Johns wort]. Praxis (Bern 1994). 2000 Dec 14;89(50):2102-9. German. PMID: 11155493.


About me

My name is Jillian Bar-av and I am a Registered Herbalist and Licensed Nutritionist. I specialize in supporting people who have complex urinary tract conditions, such as Interstitial Cystitis, with a comprehensive holistic approach that helps people to increase their quality of life. I’ve seen how healing herbs can be for the urinary system and how much they can help people to feel well again. Working with herbs is not only deeply healing, but part of my philosophy that it takes healthy people to create a healthy planet, and I want to make a difference for both.

If you are interested in learning about my clinical practice, or scheduling an appointment, you can do that here:

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