St. John’s Wort

What is it? St. John’s Wort is a flowering plant with a long history of use for treating depression as well as topical use for its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
INCI Hypericum Perforatum (the part of the plant used and format is also noted, i.e. flower/stem/root, extract/macerated oil/distillate, etc.)
Appearance The plant has small, star-shaped yellow blossoms. An infused oil should be a deep red colour, indicating high hypericin content.
Usage rate This varies with the format (macerated oil, powdered extract, hydrosol, etc.). Check with your supplier.
Scent Herbal/botanical
Solubility This depends on the format. The petals themselves are insoluble, but you can also purchase calendula hydrosol (water soluble) and calendula extracts (oil or water soluble).
Why do we use it in formulations? We use extracts of St. John’s Wort in our skin care products to harness its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. These properties make it especially useful in salves and balms.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? Either—both the dried plant matter and more refined extracts have their uses. I have both the dried petals and a water soluble extract and both are useful in different projects.
Strengths A good botanical source of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
Weaknesses As with all botanicals, allergic reactions are a possibility.
Alternatives & Substitutions A different herb (or blend of herbs) with anti-inflammatory/antimicrobial properties (chamomile, calendula) would be a good place to start.
How to Work with It This varies with the format; check with your supplier.

Generally speaking, extracts go in the cool down phase of recipes. Check the solubility of whatever you have to ensure it is miscible with the formula.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, the dried plant matter will last approximately two years. Check with your supplier for specific extracts and infusions as there is quite a lot of variety.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks St. John’s Wort is poisonous to livestock.

Taking St. John’s Wort internally can conflict with many medicines, including antidepressants. Be sure to check with your physician before taking St. John’s Wort.

Recommended starter amount 50–100g (1.76–3.3oz) for the dry herb. 30mL (1fl oz) for the liquid extract. 250mL (8fl oz) for a pre-made infused oil.
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use St. John’s Wort


Posted on

March 18, 2019