St. John's Wort is an infusion oil made from the fresh flowering tops of the Hypericum perforatum plant. It lends a beautiful red color to the oil and is used for muscle and joint pain and inflammation, for nerve-related pain such as neuralgia. It is present in many first-aid preparations.
The active ingredient in St. Louis John's Wort oil is believed to be hypericin, which is found in the viscid oily substance in the glands of the leaves, petals and stems of the plant. The highest concentration is in the leaves, flowers and buds. Hypercin is known as a psychotropic activator of neuronal metabolism. This possibly accounts for it's mood-lifting properties. It is recommended for nerve pain such as neuralgia, sciatica and for some rheumatic pain.
St. John's Wort is an anti-inflammatory oil useful on wounds where there is nerve tissue damage or in infected nerve conditions such as sciatica, tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome. It has also been reported as effective in treating a case of vitiligo (skin condition causing lack of pigmentation resulting in white patches). Hypericin, the red pigment, is being studied as a possible antiviral agent in the management of AIDS.
St. John's Wort was first recorded as being used in ancient Greece. Native Americans also used the herb. It is not recommended that this oil be taken orally as it can cause side effects. However, it is very safe to use this infused oil topically.
I like to use this oil for cases of nerve damage, especially for carpal tunnel, or tennis elbow. It is a great oil for skin care such as burns, bruises, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, sores and ulcers. I like to use it as a base oil to add essential oils. I will often combine it with Calendula infused oil for various skin aliments. This seems to heighten the effectiveness of both.
I like to make my own St. John's Wort maceration, and have given instructions for making macerated oils in another ezine article titled: How to Make Your Own Macerated Oils for Skin Care.