Forage Friday #67 St. John’s Wort

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “St. John’s Wort 71420a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Please remember that Forage Friday is only intended to be a conversation starter and not an endorsement of treatment. All of the information is presented as trivia only.

The rocket’s red glare had barely faded above the Appalachian Mountains and I’ve turned the big blue truck onto a road I haven’t traveled since the mid 90s. The gravel crunches beneath the tires as I pass the little side roads that once lead to logging operations and then to strip mines. In the years since I last came here to learn how to cruise timber the property has been sold off in plots and a good portion of forest has healed from the disruption of industry. I had gone as deep into the road as I was comfortable with and not knowing if there would be a place farther up the mountain where I could turn the long wheelbase of my truck I took advantage of the nearest private drive. No sooner had I brought the front wheels back around to face the way home I spotted the bright yellow flowers in the ditch.

Image Titled “St. John’s Wort 71020b”

The plant is one that’s commonly found on the shelves of pharmacies and supermarkets but when I was last here this wild medicinal herb was hard to find. That’s because those who harvest for the purpose of selling to commercial buyers had gathered the vast majority of the plants off of the mountain. At the time St. John’s Wort was celebrated as a natural cure for chronic depression and supermarkets couldn’t keep it on the shelf. At this point there was a controversy over if the herb was any better than modern day pharmaceuticals. There were people who took both treatments and from what I can remember a few died from the interactions between the herb and the pharmaceutical.

Image Titled “St. John’s Wort 71020c”

So did it work? Well that’s a bit tricky to answer. Some people say it helped. Others say it did nothing. And since I’m not legally able to give an opinion I’ll have to ask you to do your own research.

However, the use of St. John’s Wort in treating depression was only the latest use. Traditionally it’s a topical ointment for wounds, bruises, herpes and shingles, as well as burns and rashes. The websites and books that I’ve read say that when used topically St. John’s Wort should help sooth the nerves in the affected area but they also warn that St. John’s Wort may cause you to be sensitive to sunlight.

Image Titled “St. John’s Wort 71020d”

To make the ointment the internet suggests collecting fresh buds and flowers and soaking them in olive oil until the oil turns red. Then strain and cap the bottle or jar.

As a forage plant St. John’s Wort would seem to offer a wide variety of herbal uses and it’s probably one that is worth further research.

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3 thoughts on “Forage Friday #67 St. John’s Wort

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