Archive for November, 2012

November 29, 2012

Common St. John’s Wort

Common St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is one of the biggest selling herbal remedies in the world. Used internally for depression, insomnia, cramps, irritability and externally for pain, burns, and wounds it has powerful restorative action. St. John’s Wort grows in Europe and became naturalized in North America ranging from Eastern Canada, B.C. and across the U.S.A. There are many species of Hypericum.

St. John’s Wort in B.C.

This cheery yellow perennial wildflower blooms from June to September and has tough branched stems with paired leaves. The dark dots on the leaves and flowers contain hypericin, a deep red pigment used to treat depression, irritability, insomnia, and cramps. The infused oil treats burns, bruises, wounds, arthritic rheumatic joints, and neuralgia. Put dried St. John’s wort in carrier oil of your choice to make a healing infused oil for your face and body to treat pain, sprains, wounds, burns, and any irritated areas. See my blog DIY face oils and Calendula oil to make an infused herbal oil. 


The Energetics of Western Herbs Vol. 1&2 Peter Holmes, Snow Lotus Press 1989 

The Herb Book, John Lust, Bantam books 1974 

The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine & Out of Earth, Simon Y. Mills, Arkana penguin Books 1991 

The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman, Element books 1996 

The Green Pharmacy, James A. Duke, Rodale 1997 

The Merck Manual of Medical Information 

Peterson Field Guides, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs, Steven foster and James A. Duke, Houghton Mifflin Company 2000  

Ontario Wildflowers, 101 Wayside Flowers, Lone Pine Publishing 2002

Common Name  St. John’s Wort herb
Latin Name  Hypericum perforatum
Family Clusiaceae
Parts Used Perennial- top flowers picked during blooming in summer July-September
Target Organs kidney/bladder, digestion, lungs, nerves, blood, cardiovascular, heart
Common Uses Nervous system: tonic, relaxant restorative, anxiety, depression, neuromuscular relaxant

Urinary system: UTI,  dissolve stones, incontinence,

Pain: stress, headache, migraine, spine pain, neuralgia,  sciatica,

Digestion: IBS, colitis, ulcers-mouth gastro/duodenal

Cardiovascular: tonic, heart tonic

External: burn, bruises, injury, pain, tumour, wounds, sprains, strains, astringent hemostatic

Antiviral infections and conditions


Properties Analgesic, antibacterial,   anti-depressant,  anti-inflammatory, antidiahrreal, antineurotoxic, antioxidant,   antispasmodic, antiulcerogenic, antiviral, anxiolytic, astringent, cardiac,  diuretic, febrifuge,  haemostatic, nervine, relaxant, sedative, tranquilizer, vascular tonic, vasodilator, vulnerary,  clears damp cold, 
Essential Oil Yield: .07%

Monoterpenes: a+b pinene, germacrene, Sesquiterpenes:

Other:    flavonoids: rutin, phlobaphene;  Polyphenolic flavonoid derivative:   hyperoside; tannins,  red diathrones:   hypericin, psudohypericin; carotenoids, resins, alkaloid, pectin, xanthones,   rhodan,


Cautions Medium strength: Avoid sun exposure causes photosensitivity. Do not use in conjunction with other medications antidepressants, MAOI’s, HIV drugs, blood thinners, digitoxin heart medication, iron supplements, and oral contraceptives. Do not use during pregnancy causes increased muscle tone in uterus.
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml 3 week on 1 week off cycles. Best used in a formulation.

Tea: 1-2 tsp ( 8-14g) infuse 5-15 minutes

November 27, 2012

DIY Face Oils

Many people ask me what I use as moisturizer for my face and are surprised when I tell them oil. They think oil clogs pores, but I find cream is just oil emulsified with a bunch of other “stuff” in it that I don’t need. I find cream clogs my pores and makes me break out my skin is so sensitive. Mineral oils like “baby oil” (Don’t use on babies) block pores because they are petroleum by-products that coat skin like a plastic cover and should always be avoided. Only use all natural cold pressed vegetable carrier oils and good quality essential oils and your skin will thank you!

Calendula oil steeping

This article from the untrained housewife is exactly what I use as moisturizer for my face including the essential oils.

I like using apricot, peach kernel and jojoba which is really a plant wax because it balances sebum production. It will be nice to add Calendula oil when it is ready. St. john’s wort oil is very healing and good for aches and pains as well as red and irritated faces.

I add essential oils in 1% dilution because the face is a delicate place and caution is always advised. I mainly use frankincense, lavender, geranium and petitgrain. I use chamomile for any redness or irritation. Sometimes I don’t even use essential oils. You can also wipe the oil off after massaging it in gently.

I will never buy face cream again and it is so simple to make yourself. Enjoy!

Recommended Aromatherapy Books:

Maggie Tisserand: Aromatherapy for Women: How to use essential oils for health, beauty and your emotions (Thorsons, 1999)

Marguerite Maury’s Guide to Aromatherapy: The Secret of Life and Youth Random House UK, 2004)

Renee Maurice Gatefosse ~ “The father of Aromatherapy” he coined the term Aromatherapy

His book L’Aromatherapie: Les Huiles Essentielles 1937

1930-40’s Professor Paolo Rovesti

Studied the effects of essential oils on the mind coined the term aromachology.

Jean Valnet- French Doctor- wrote the scientific books

The Practice of Aromatherapy/ Le Pratique of Aromatherapie

Copyright 1980. Reprinted 1993. English Version C.W Daniel Company Ltd 1982

Jean Valnet

The Art of Aromatherapy

Robert Tisserand

Eighteenth Impression. Copyright 1977. Reprinted 1997.

The C.W Daniel Company Ltd England.

L’aromatherapie exactement

Pierre Franchomme, Dr. Daniel Penoel

Dr. Daniel Penoel-

Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy

Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D. Healing Arts Press

(Chemistry graphs)

Holistic Aromatherapy

Christine Wildwood

Copyright 1986, 1992. Thorsons, An import of Harpers Collins Publishers.

Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy Healing Arts Press. 1996

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils.

Julia Lawless

Element books 1995

Aromatherapy and your Emotions & other books

Shirley Price

Thorsons 2000

Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy

Suzanne Catty

Healing Arts Press 2001

Susan Curtis/Neal’s Yard Remedies: Make Your Own Cosmetics (Aurum Press, 1997)


November 25, 2012

DIY Calendula Infused Oil

I always use dried herbs for making herbal infused oils. Using fresh herbs may ruin the oil because of the water-soluble content, especially in demulcent herbs like plantain. Oil and water don’t mix and may result in slimy spoiled oil. Use good quality carrier oil of your choice along with good quality herbs. Many people use olive oil but I prefer peach kernel and apricot kernel oil. Make sure the oil covers all the herbs to avoid spoilage.

Fill up a mason jar 1/3 the way with dried herb and pour in the oil to cover the herbs.

Screw the lid on and place in a sunny window for about 2 weeks.

Strain the herbs out of the oil and use for skin care.

Make a salve or balm or use the oil straight for healing skin quenching action.

November 22, 2012


The common name for Calendula is marigold or more specifically pot marigold because there are so many varieties. Calendula is the Latin name. This cheery sunny annual flower is easy to grow from seed and I plant it every year, but sometimes if you are lucky they will seed themselves. Calendula is like Echinacea it clears toxic heat, inflammation while reducing infection internally and externally. It is one of the best first aid remedies for injuries and burns. Many preparations made from Calendula like swabs, compresses, gargles, creams, salves, infusions and tinctures are easy to use and very healing.

Common Name  Calendula/ Pot Marigold petals
Latin Name  Calendula officinalis
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Annual easily grows from seeds- flower petals picked Summer/ Fall
Target Organs Skin, lymphatic, cardiovascular, reproductive,  immune, digestion, liver/ gallbladder
Common Uses Skin: wounds, bruises, strains, infections, ulcers, skin infections, ulcers, inflammationLymphatic: ear infections, congested lymph

Digestion: indigestion,

Female reproductive: balancing, pain,

Immune vascular tonic

Allergies, infections, detoxify, fever, skin conditions, inflammation

Properties Antiallergenic, antibacterial, anti-catarrhal, antifungal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic) antineoplastic, anti-protozoa, anti-rheumatic, aperient, appetite stimulant, anti-ulcerogenic,  antiviral, astringent, detoxicant, decongestant, depurative, diaphoretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, immune stimulant, lymphatic, nervine, relaxant, tranquilizer, uterine tonic, vascular tonic, neural, peripheral vasodilator, vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil-(alcohol, terpene lactones)triterpenoid saponins, flavonoids(quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin) carotenoids( carotene, calendulin, lycopin) bitters, phytosterols, resin, mucilage, polysaccharides, trace minerals, potassium chloride, palmitic/malic/salicylic acid mucilage,
Cautions Mild remedy: Avoid internal use during pregnancy it is a uterine stimulant
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml                Tea: 8-14g 1-2 tsp
November 2, 2012


Yarrow is one of Canada’s great wildflowers with a popular past, it needs to be used more often today. The Latin species name ‘millefolium,’  means thousand leaves named after the finely divided alternate feathery leaves. Thousand leaf and milfoil are also common names besides the name yarrow. Used externally the leaves are astringent which stops bleeding, reduces inflammation and speeds healing.

The Latin Genus name ‘Achillea’ is named after Achilles who healed his soldiers with yarrow during the Trojan War. Known as ‘herba militaria,’ yarrow helped treat wounds suffered in battle up to the 17th century.  Yarrow was popular and was picked to aid digestion, stop fevers and to use as a nose snuff.

There is a long history of metaphysical uses. The dried stalks were popular for divination for the ancient Chinese oracle the “I Ching.” In the middle ages the common name was Devil’s Nettle because of its use for divination and spells.

Pink Yarrow in British Columbia

The colour of the flowers vary from white to pinks in the wild. Hybrids are usually bigger and are available in beautiful bright colours of gold, yellow and reds. Yarrow is easy to grow because of its wildflower nature and grows in full sun with good drainage.

Country of Origin for essential oil production: Canada and France. Canadian essential oil is diploid and the colour is deep dark blue. European triploid essential oil variety is yellow-green colour. 


Common Name  Yarrow herb aka Milfoil, Thousandleaf
Latin Name  Achillea   millefolium
Family Asteraceae (Aster   family)
Parts Used/ Habitat Growth: Perennial   invasive wildflower grows 2-3 ft. Flowering tops picked in the summer in July
Target Organs Digestion, respiratory,   circulatory, female reproductive, skin, immune, cardiovascular
Common Uses Immune respiratory: coughs, colds, flu, fever, catarrh, infectionsVascular conditions:HBP, (Sitz bath) veins,

Skin/muscle: wounds,   bruises, sprains, strains, cuts,

Digestion:   spasms, ulcers, IBS,

Female reproductive: balancing tonic, spasms

Properties Antiallergenic,   antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory(local, systemic), antimicrobial,  antispasmodic (digestive, general), antiulcerogenic,   antiviral, aperient, astringent, bitter, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic,   diaphoretic, febrifuge, haemostatic (styptic, uterine) hypoglycaemic, hypotensive,   sialagogue, stomachic, styptic, stimulating emmenagogue, vasodilator (peripheral),   vascular tonic, uterine tonic, vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil:.05%-.08%Ketones: thujone, camphor;

 Lactones:achillin, achillicin,   hydroxyachillin, millifin, millifolide,


Sesquiterpenes: Azulene 1-51%   chamazulene, dihydroazulene, sabinene caryophyllene,

Oxides: 1, 8 cineole 10%

Monoterpenes: pinene 16%;

Other: flavonoids,   tannins, bitter alkaloid minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll,   vitamin C, fatty acids, phytosterol

Cautions Mild remedy:Caution due to thujone content-uterine stimulant, neurotoxin. Do   not use during pregnancy, and with babies.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4mlTea: 1-2 tsp. infuse 10-15 minutes

external use: infused water use as a compress, poultice or a wash for wounds

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