St John’s Wort oil is an incredibly healing oil that is produced by infusing the St John’s Wort flowering plants in a carrier oil, such as sunflower or olive oil. A very curious thing happens during the process and that is the oil turns a beautiful ruby red colour even though neither the flower nor the plant is red. This red colour is due to the presence of high levels of tannins in the plant.
St John’s Worts scientific name is Hypericum Perforatum. The origin of the Greek name for the family, Hypericum, is uncertain. One version has it that it is derived from ’hyper eikon‘, meaning “exceeding any imagination” referencing the plant's super healing powers. But, it more likely refers to Helios (also sometimes known as Hyperion) who wears a crown of rays and is called ’the illustrious‘, very like the yellow flowers. The species name perforatum, meaning perforated, refers to the flowers and leaves, which look as if they have been perforated with needles.
St John’s Wort oil has been extensively researched in applications such as bioactive wound dressing materials to protect against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and the oil incorporated films had antimicrobial effect on both microorganisms. In other research St John’s Wort oil has proven to be a simple-to-use and safe treatment option for scalp wounds even with exposed bone.
In her book 'Medicine of the Earth', Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, says of St John’s Wort: “From medieval days St John’s wort was thought to banish demons. Peasants hung it in the stables to protect livestock from sorcery and placed a small tuft in their chamber windows to keep evil spirits from entering. The plants power to undo spells resulted in names like 'chase the devil' and 'flight of the demons'. According to legend the Devil himself perforated the leaves of St John’s wort because he fretted about its healing power. However rather than perish the plant became a sure means of repelling evil spirits...”