Solar Blessings: Handcrafted St. John's Wort Oil, Deeply Penetrating Herbal Healing

These 4oz bottles of organic St. John's Wort body oil are now available in the shop!

As you can see, I rocked the shit out of my little river photo shoot the other night. Not that I can take credit for this gorgeous image. It's all the oil, the river, and especially the sunshine. I can't help but feel that the red sunlight fairies that showed up in these photos are little blessings on this whole endeavor, some sort of magical infusion gifted from the sun at this final step of the months-long medicine making process.

You can read a full description of this medicine's many beneficial properties within the Etsy listing, but I will include a short list of them here:

❤ carries the properties of the full summer sun with it into the body's tissues

❤ deeply relaxing to sore and stressed muscles

❤ quickly penetrates, strengthens, and nourishes the nerves to alleviate short or long-term nerve damage and pain

❤ warms and calms the entire body

❤ soothes and heals bumps, bruises, sprains, burns, etc.

I've been promising a post on the whole process for a while now, so here it is. To be sure, it's the same process as the homemade lavender oil I posted about a while back, but it bears repeating. Homemade herbal medicine is so simple and beneficial, I'll do whatever I can to teach others how to do it :-)

It all started on the Summer Solstice back in June, when Mycelia and I set out to harvest more St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) than we have in years past, while being sure to leave enough for it to re-seed and continue to flourish here. My sister Lacey also helped with the gathering.

You know you've got the right plant when bruising it leaves deep red marks on your fingers. This is from the hypericin, the active medicinal compound that turns the tincture and the oil made from the plant the incredible red color that it's famous for..


On a mission.

When we got home I quickly got to work chopping up the herb into as many small pieces as possible; the more surface area of the plant material that comes into contact with the medium extracting its medicinal properties (in this case, the organic olive oil), the stronger the medicine will be.

Next the oil is poured over the top of the herb, which has already been placed into the steeping container. Herbalists differ in the herb-to-oil ratio they use. I tend to be pretty free form with it and just put as much plant material as I've got into the jar, then add the oil. You want to fill the jar to the very, very top, leaving zero room for air once the lid has been put on. So the top of the oil is touching the bottom of the lid. No air = no mold. Slowly stirring a chopstick through before you top it off will bring any air bubbles up to the surface, and you also want to remove the lid every few days to see if more oil needs to be added (it has a sneaky way of lowering once the steeping process begins).

When all was said and done, I had 5 gallons! I like to steep my herbs for one full moon cycle. This year the Solstice coincided with the new moon, so the oil brewed between the June and July new moons.

The infusing process with St. John's Wort is more visually rewarding to behold than with any other herbal medicine, due to the ruby red hue that the hypericin imparts to the liquid medium over time. It is truly satisfying to watch the liquid redden more day by day. (This is true for making it into a tincture for internal use as well, see my Etsy listing for more on what it is about this herb that makes it good for depression when taken internally and warming and relaxing when used externally).

When it was time to strain out the oil, Lacey and my friend Sarah were here to help. I gathered all the kitchen funnels I've got, along with some cheesecloth (though I learned from this experience that I prefer cotton muslin), and we got to work.

After the straining out (putting a large beach towel under the whole scene turned out to be a very good idea), I poured all five gallons into an eight gallon container to ensure that it was all evened out and each bottle would yield the exact same medicine.

The differences in color are due to the thickness of the oil. A gallon is deep red, a half gallon is jewel-hued and less opaque, and the 4oz bottles look more orange than red in some light.

I ordered the labels on Etsy and am very happy with how they turned out. The text reads: Gathered on the Summer Solstice at peak potency, this ruby-hued body oil is pure liquid sunshine. Deeply relaxing and warming to the musculature and nervous system, use it for isolated aches and pains or for total body realignment after a bustling day.

Here's the current scene in my kitchen window. It brings me much joy to look at every day.

Once again, you can read more about the healing properties of this oil and perhaps purchase a bottle (at a very reasonable price) here ❤ 


LOCALS: Message me if you'd like to meet up in person to get your bottle. You can either pay me in person then or pay via Etsy by using coupon code SUNSHINE at checkout, which will remove the shipping cost for your order.

Sunlight Rainbow Specters

I got a new camera, and I feel like myself again! I haven't had one for a couple of months now. This is the Canon PowerShot G12, reaching out and grabbing little prisms of sunlight (photo/graph = light/write). I'm very happy with it.

Mycelia and I now live in downtown Nevada City, CA, she is in kindergarten, and my life has settled considerably since my last posts. Getting this camera is kind of like putting the final puzzle piece onto the picture that is my new life. (I've been doing Bikram yoga again too, on my pretty rainbow mat!).

The vintage photo shoots have started rolling again, the Nevada City Winter Bizarre is coming up, I just took the most gorgeous late afternoon cemetery photographs... now that my life has settled and I'm me again, let the blog posts begin! I've missed you all terribly.

You Make Sunshine and Glory Too

(Listen as you read...)

I have a really neat non-what-I-did-this-week post in the works, but turns out my camera settings were off so the photos are enormous and are taking a very long time to upload. So I'm going with these pics from last Monday...

Li'l Miss Mycie is like a new person now that the sun is shining. She was, to put it mildly, not much fun the last month or so. But this week she's been a bundle of joy, singing and dancing and really, really excited about busting out her warm weather dresses (even if they still need to be worn with tights and a sweater- oh and, yes, this is the sweater that we share).

Seems that we aren't the only girls happily donning our prettiest spring dresses- here is my friend Bluebird of local band Lasher Keen in a glorious Gunne, standing in front of some plant starts in front of the BriarPatch Market :-)

(Random Thought Sequence- I once saw a show in Nevada City on the fall equinox where Lasher Keen opened up for Faun Fables. Today Sasha posted the raddest and sweetest little blog that included a really cool Faun Fables song that I fell in love with!)

After the 'Patch we went to the park. Mycie rad around like a mad child just let out of an insane asylum.

I wore yet another new dress (it's been a lucky, lucky few weeks) dug out of  "the bins" at the Goodwill last weekend. I thought it was for the shop. Until I tried it on. And felt its light rayon-y goodness.

Juniper and Nesha, Mycie's ol' school chums, joined us.

And then our friends Sadie and Ruby showed up too! Here is big sister Sadie in a sweet dress her mom Rachel scored from an estate sale (she says Sadie loves telling people that story).

Believe it or not, the site of this little dandelion hunt (where the bouquet came from) is about 10 feet away from The Salvation Army. It's this sweet little pathway that leads up to another of my favorite places- the library!

Little Miss Sunshine.

Later in the day I had Graham snap some shots of me in the dress and these moccasins. I actually listed the dress in the shop, but then, due to heart palpitations and blind hysteria at the thought of sending it off to someone else, removed it. The mocs I did list, and the mocs they did sell, and the mocs you will be seeing on Missa- no doubt with some darling little outfit- sometime soon!

In other news- our camera is back! And it is fantastic! Except when it is on the wrong setting and takes gigantic photos that still haven't uploaded! I am doing a big photo shoot on Sunday for the shop- can't wait to share the new images and new pieces with you all.

Aaaand one last run on sentence- the video above is one of my favorite songs, that just seemed to tie in so well to this post, and that I heard on my iTunes shuffle today while I spring cleaned the hell out of my house, and that made me feel really happy and peaceful, and that is sung by Faun Fables and by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (who Heather and Adie and I were lucky enough to see here in Grass Valley back in October). The song is all beauty and soft love, the video is all humor and... some kinda love ;-)