It recently occurred to me that I never followed up on what I ended up doing with the St. John’s Wort that I harvested from my backyard this summer! And so now, the follow up!
The last step I showed was when I hung them to dry. After they dried, I cut the flowers from the stems and packed them up. One jar I sent to a friend, and the other two I saved for myself. One of them I kept as is to add to green tea in the winter. I have to say, the flavor is very pleasant- fresh, flowery, and bright. You could drink it straight, but blended with a nice green, it really freshens it up. The other jar I covered with alcohol (leftover vodka I had on hand) and let it sit for several months in the back of my cabinet. The whole purpose was to experiment with making a tincture. Well, it worked! Although I didn’t use 100 proof as suggested, the 80 proof yielded the same results- possibly only taking longer to get there and maybe not as strong as it could be. After several months of soaking, I filtered the spent herbs from the tincture and now have a strong alternative to herbal tea. This I never take straight (in fear of it taking my breath away- after all, it is alcohol) but add it to tea when I’m at home at night. This way, you cannot taste the addition and it can be put in anything. I suppose you could even add it to juice if you wanted. A few droppers full does the trick. And you know the real surprise ending? It’s red! I knew it was suppose to turn red, as the extraction of the active ingredient is removed, but to actually see it was surprising! From little yellow flowers comes a rich red tincture. It really is quite beautiful!
The photo shows my tincture on the left, herbs in the middle, and supplements on the right- all different methods of incorporating it into your daily life. Between the three, I’ve had little to no anxiety and the “winter blues” episodes I experienced passed more quickly. Of course, it’s not for everyone. There are interactions with different medications that should be avoided (one in particular being oral contraceptives, and I’ve heard of a friend who could not take it with her mix of heart, artery, whatever medications) and it can cause hypersensitivity to sun in others. I sound like a drug commercial: never take St. John’s Wort as a solution to serious depression or anxiety disorders, always check with your doctor if you are on other medications, and of course, the first couple times you use it, use it in moderation. We all have allergic reactions, we all experience things differently, and so try it slow at first. But if you do find that it works for you (as it does me), congratulations and enjoy!
What other herbs are you using to combat problems? Another we always have on hand is echinacea tea for a quick boost to the immune system when we feel like we’re getting sick. What else have people tried?