Around the 24th of June, the name day of Saint John the Baptist, the delicate golden flowers of Hypericum perforatum are blooming at La Comba, like elsewhere in Provence. The plant has a special feature that makes it easy to recognize: if its leaves are held against the sunlight, a number of small dots can be seen, which looks like the leaf has been perforated, hence its botanical name. It is in these bright spots that essential oil is contained.Saint John’s wort flowers when the days are longest in the northern hemisphere, so they absorb a maximum of energy from the sunlight.
The flowers thereby develop a red coloring substance called hypericin, which one can also see when rubbing the flowers between thumb and index finger.
It is this active substance which provides the healing function of the plant, which is both soothing in case of sunburn, and also has antidepressant properties.
In order to prepare Saint John’s wort oil, we collect the flowering tops and macerate them in olive oil for at least three weeks. We take a glass bowl and fill it with olive oil, and then add a maximum of Saint John’s wort flowers.
We let the bowl stay outside in the sun and thereby make a solar maceration.
Slowly the active principles in the flowers will be absorbed in the olive oil which will start turning beautifully red in color. After three weeks, we can press, filter and bottle the oil, so it can preserve its healing properties for years.
Recipe for a relaxing anti stress, antidepressant and calming massage oil:
Take a 100 ml bottle of Saint John’s Wort oil and add 2 ml (about 50 drops) of La Comba Aromatica organic highland lavender essential oil.
This mixture will also be useful after sunburn or insect bites.
However, stay out of the sun after applying it, as Saint John’s Wort oil also has photosensitizing properties!