ST JOHNS WORT ESSENTIAL OIL (HYPERICUM PERFORATUM):
Botanical Name: Hypericum perforatum
Common Method of Extraction: Steam distilled
Part Typically Used: Flowers
Color: Pale yellow
Perfumery Note: Middle
Strength of Initial Aroma: Soft, herbal, balsamic.
Hypericum perforatum, known as Perforate St John’s-wort, Common Saint John’s wort and St John’s wort is a flowering plant of the genus Hypericum. Hypericum perforatum is indigenous to Europe but has spread worldwide as an invasive species, including to temperate and subtropical regions of Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, the Middle East, India, Canada, the United States and China.
The herbs common name comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John’s day, 24 June. The genus name Hypericum is derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the plant’s traditional use in warding off evil by hanging plants over a religious icon in the house during St John’s day. The species name perforatum refers to the presence of small oil glands in the leaves that look like windows, which can be seen when they are held against the light.
St John’s wort is a perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its stems are erect, branched in the upper section, and can grow to 1 m high. Its flowers measure up to 2,5 cm across, have five petals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots. The flowers appear in broad cymes at the ends of the upper branches, between late spring and early to mid summer.
The flowers and stems of the plant have been used to make red and yellow dyes.
Hypericum species are generally classed as essential oil-poor plants (generally oil yield <1%). Research has shown that essential oil extraction efficiency with liquid or supercritical CO2 (yield 1,00%) is higher than with steam distillation (0,06%).
Stillpoint St John’s Wort essential oil is distilled from only the flowers. Many St Johns Wort essential oils are distilled from the flowers and leaves and branches. The chemical make up of these two types of distillations vary dramatically.
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