Hypericum, scientific name Hypericum perforatum, is a well-known and appreciated medicinal plant of the Clusiaceae family. Hypericum is also called St. John's Wort since its maximum flowering falls around June 24, St. John's Day. This plant is a natural remedy that can be used both internally, in fact, it is able to counteract depression, and for topical applications. In this post we will focus our attention on its cosmetic properties and on the effects of external uses of hypericum, in particular of the hypericum oil, which can be easily purchased but also prepared at home. Hypericum oil, one of the oldest traditional remedies, is obtained through maceration of the fresh flowers of hypericum in a plant based oil. The lotion, included in the Germanic, Swiss and British pharmacopoeia, shows anti-inflammatory and soothing properties useful in case of skin burns, irritations but also red and inflamed skin, wounds, acne, bedsores. In fact, based on scientific researches (Lyles et al, Front Microbiol, Sep 2017 - Isacchi et al, J Pharm Biomed Anal, Dec 2007), hypericum oil has proved to be useful to reduce wound size and also to accelerate the healing processes thanks to its antibacterial properties conferred by its active ingredients hyperforin and hypericin and to antioxidant compounds including tannins, quercetin, kaempferol and catechins. Moreover, this oil shows the ability to stimulate the formation and regeneration of epithelial tissue and is useful to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (Mansouri et al, J Postgrad Med, Oct 2017). Finally, hypericum oil also has an anti-inflammatory action that makes it suitable for soothing massages in case of muscle pain, back pain, rheumatic pain, stiff neck, sciatica (Crockett et al, Nat Prod Commun, Sep 2010).
Hypericum oil, preparation
The fresh flowers of St. John's wort should be poured into a container and covered with a plant based oil, for external applications the sunflower oil is fine. The closed jar should be exposed to the heat of the sun for about one month, at the end of this period the infused oil should have become red. It should be filtered and the hypericum oil is ready to be used.
Hypericum oil, uses
It is sufficient to apply a few drops on the part to be treated, be it a wound, a rash, a pimple or a dermatitis. Instead, for pain and rheumatism you can use hypericum oil as a massage oil that should be applied with slow circular movements.
Hypericum oil, contraindications
Hypericum oil can be photosensitizing on the skin. Therefore, after its application, avoid exposure to the sun or tanning lamps.