Today I started adding some herbal remedies to my recipes section of the web site. The first is for St. John's wort infused oil. St. John's wort grows like a weed all over the Northwest, as I discovered after picking up a copy of the excellent northwest herb lover's handbook at the library.
Why should you care about St. John's wort? The oil is an excellent remedy for all kinds of skin ailments, including bruises, sunburns, and even ulcers and strained backs. St. John's wort tea is an alternative medicine treatment of nervous tension, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, as well as depression.
Want to know if you have St. John's wort in your backyard? It's a tall plant with lots of yellow flowers that should have started blooming like crazy by now. The flowers have five petals in a star-shape and, looking closely, you can see tiny black dots around the periphery of each petal. Rub the flower or a bud between your fingers and you should see a dark red, almost black stain on your fingertips. Mine have little iridescent beetles on several of the flower buds. If you want to make the oil, pick just the unopened buds (I wait until the buds are big and full but not quite open); if you want to make tea, cut off the entire flowering top of the plant, buds, flowers, leaves and all.