External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Hypericum Oil

St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum
Weleda: Hypericum, Flos 25%, oil extract from fresh flowers in sesame oil
WALA: Hypericum ex herba 5%, oil extract in peanut oil
Dr. Heberer: St. John’s wort 10% oil, oil extract in olive oil
Hypericum oil is available from many manufacturers, we give here as an example the oils of Weleda, WALA and Dr. Heberer which are frequently used in anthroposophic contexts. They differ in their concentration and composition. Hypericum oil can also be easily made at home.

Guiding principle

In the middle of summer, around the time of St. John’s, from June to August, when the days are longest, the nights shortest and the warmth and light most intense, the golden yellow St. John’s wort flowers glow in the wild and sometimes in gardens. The plant is found throughout Europe and western Asia.
St. John’s wort is a herbaceous, persistent plant, it grows to a height of approx. 60 cm. The stem is round with two ridges and hollow. After flowering it remains standing in the landscape until the next season of flowering. The opposite, ovoid-elliptic, light green leaves grow very differently in size, up to 3.5 cm long. They spread out discretely. Used as a remedy, this area of the plant then provides the basis for supporting structure in human vegetative functioning.
The plant carries its flowers in umbel-like inflorescences. An overabundance of stamens sprays out from groups of five petals, 50–60 stamens per flower, which are fused together in three bundles at the base. The relationship of the flowers to light and warmth is immediately perceptible. The flowers spread lightness, cheerfulness and a strong gesture towards the world.
The fresh leaves show perforations of translucent light (hence Hypericum ‘perforatum’), which consist of spherical holders of excretions containing strongly refractive lipid content (essential oils).
Black-red dotting and dashing can be seen with the naked eye in the leaves and mainly in the petals. Those are the storage places for hypericin. If these are opened by being rubbed between the fingers or dissolved in oils, the hypericin escapes as a red pigment, also from the ends of the many stamens.
The official medication consists of the branches of the plant which are harvested at flowering time and then dried. It is suitable for use as tea and for various oils. Weleda and WALA process both the flowers and the leaves together to make oil (Weleda only the flower) and for internal and subcutaneous applications. To treat weakened people (as is always the case with depression) the remedy should contain the leaf (see above)!
“... useful for crushed and pounded nerves, ... it is good for those impacted by the severe distress of hypochondriac Melancholia, ... that they may assuage the blood in their wounds and heal the same, especially what is burned.”
(freely translated from: Wichtl M. Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 2009, p. 357–361)

Classical homeopathy knows Hypericum as the “Arnica of the Nerves”. Hypericum perforatum is mainly used for the following indications:
sharp and blunt injuries, myalgia, first-degree burns, depression, bone pain, coughing irritation (e.g., with lung metastases), bedsore treatment.

The red color of the oil intensifies if the petals are rubbed and exposed to light in a carrier oil.

CAUTION: Overreactions of the skin may occur in light-skinned, photosensitive people.