Perhaps “journey” is an exaggeration for my little excursion. Sunday afternoon my husband, son and I traveled a whopping two miles away so I could search for and harvest some St. John’s Wort blossoms from a nearby area. About 5 years ago, a large amount of forest near our home was mowed down in anticipation for home developments etc. Alas, the once heavily wooded acreage still sits undeveloped. Where trees once stood are now acres of fields. Fortunately much of the wooded area must remain as-is since there’s a lovely ravine running through, totally unsuited to the developers’ needs. And fortunately, the once wooded land is now abundant with plants and wildlife. St. John’s Wort happily prospers here!
St. John’s Wort gets its name from the fact that it starts blossoming around St. John’s Day, which is on or near June 24th. I was happy to harvest on a cool dry June 28th. As you can see by the above photo I took, the blossoms looked wonderful! I was able to gather a large amount – the top 3 or 4 inches of blooming plant, which took a good hour and a half to pick through after returning home, a chore I thoroughly enjoyed! I removed some interesting little bugs who were sent outdoors, and picked off dead leaves and blooms. Some of the flowering tops went into a clean dry glass jar and were covered with olive oil. I’ll let those sit a few weeks, and I’ll be trying it out as a natural sunscreen. (Not a 45 SPF, mind you, but I’m told it’s rather effective if used in the region it was gathered, so I’ll give it a go.) The remainder of the herb is drying in a basket for later use in tea. In a few more days I’ll go to another area, collect more flowering tops, and prepare a tincture.
You can learn more about St. John’s Wort from my previous post “All About St. John’s Wort and its Uses“.