Plant Profile: St. John’s wort

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St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Description

If you hold St. John’s wort flowers up to the light you will see numerous small bright spots, these are glands containing a fluid of essential oils and resin. If you rub the golden yellow flowers between your fingers they will be stained blood red, the characteristic colour of St. John’s wort oil. This wondrous colour change results from the fact that light and oxygen break down constituents of the flowers. The perennial St. John’s wort plant grows to a height of 90 cm. Over summer the many branched, woody stems are covered over and over with the five-rayed flowers. This oil-rich plant, whose leaves are also densely covered with oil glands, prefers full sunlight which it requires for luxuriant growth.

Uses

Paracelsus was convinced of the wound-healing, antiseptic and eliminating action of St. John’s wort. He saw the pore-like perforation of the leaves as an indication that the plant could be used to treat any kinds of opening in the skin, either internally or internally, and that it would also support elimination through the pores.

In fact, St. John’s Wort stimulates the blood circulation and carries anabolic and nourishing processes to the sphere of the nerves and the senses.

With its calming, pain relieving and wound healing properties it brings relief not only in chapped, cracked and irritated skin accompanied by redness but also in mild burns. Embrocations with the characteristic red oil help relieve nerve pain, rheumatism, lumbago and sprains. St. John’s wort is used internally for treatment of depression.

Interest

There are numerous legends attached to St. John’s wort. According to one it originates from the blood of John the Baptist, according to another St. John the Evangelist is said to have gathered the plant drenched in the Saviour’s blood from beneath the cross. The naming of the plant St. John’s wort was supported particularly by the fact that the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, whose patron saint is John the Baptist, already used the plant for treatment of wounds at the time of the Crusades.

St. John’s wort, one of the magical plant beings of the summer solstice, devotes itself to the sun like no other plant. It is said to have the greatest healing powers at the Feast of St. John (24 June), three days after midsummer night in the Northern Hemisphere, when it is at the height of its bloom and is imbued with the full power of the summer sun. At this time the light has reached its climax and the sun joins in matrimony with the earth. Since time immemorial people have honoured this day of union between the light and the earth, between spirit and matter, with great feasts. A remnant of this tradition can still be seen today in Europe with the bonfires lit on midsummer’s night.

Dr. Hauschka Skin Care; Dr. Hauschka Kosmetik

The plant ingredient at Dr. Hauschka

The radiant yellow flowers of St. John’s wort which stretch up towards the sun on straight stems, contain the highest concentration of active constituents at the time of the summer solstice. This seems to be an expression of its sunlike character. The luxuriant wealth of flowers contrasts starkly with the dry, hard wood of the plant. That which is between the flower and the branch shows a tendency to contract, to dry. This is the expression of a forming character which brings order to that which is excessively in flux.

This is the field of tension in which we find the numerous healing effects of this old medicinal plant. As plant of the light it drives away the darkness in human beings, and thus helps internally in depression, externally in sunburn. As bringer of order it supports the organism in all anabolic processes of the nerve-sense organs, whether as wound-healing agent or in treatment of depression.

In Dr. Hauschka skin care products St. John’s wort is found wherever, in addition to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action, soothing and strengthening of the skin is desired: Eye Balm, Revitalising Day Cream formerly Moisturising Day Cream, Clarifying Day Oil formerly Normalising Day Oil , Cleansing Cream, Almond St. John’swort Body Oil, Almond Body Moisturiser, Lip Balm, Rose Day Cream, Blackthorn Body Oil and Tinted Day Cream formerly Toned Day Cream. In Fitness Foot Cream it brings light to the feet which in our culture are usually condemned to a shadowy existence enclosed in shoes.

Dr. Hauschka Skin Care; Dr. Hauschka Kosmetik
The making of St. John’s wort oil extract, in time honoured and labour intensive methods.

Thanks for reading our blog. x

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