Tuesday 23 June 2020

L'acqua di San Giovanni (St John's water) & oleolito di iperico (Hypericum oil)

Thanks to a lovely group of ladies that have welcomed me as their friend and associate, today I spent the afternoon walking the lanes of the hillside opposite us picking wild flowers and preparing l'acqua di San Giovanni (St John's water) and oleolito di iperico (St John's wort oil). (All at a suitable social distance, of course!)

L'acqua di San Giovanni
June 24th is the feast of St John the Baptist (San Giovanni). According to tradition, on the day before that (June 23rd), you pick wild flowers and herbs from your garden or the verges and fields close to where you live.

Dividing the flowers.

A bunch of flowers for each of us to take home and wait until sunset...
Unfortunately Reggie found my neatly wrapped package of flowers... thankfully he left the flowers alone (on the floor) and only destroyed their packaging!

At sunset (yes, it must be at sunset), you place the flowers in a large bowl of water and leave it out overnight to be touched by the magical powers of the San Giovanni moon and to collect the dew of the gods.

The following morning you filter the perfumed water then use it to wash your face (and of course also offer it to family and friends). Its powerful magical properties will bestow on you beauty, health and prosperity. (So it's definitely worth a try, right?)

Oleolito di iperico 
Meanwhile, Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) has many recorded medicinal benefits, being rich in active ingredients such as flavonoids, tannins, hypercine, chlorogenic and caffeic acid.

An oil preparation made with Hypericum has anti-bacterial properties and is often used to treat sunburn, skin blemishes, psoriasis and is also apparently a good anti-aging remedy (it stimulates cell regeneration). (Also worth a try, right?)

To make oleolito di iperico you pick the flowers, put them in a clean, dry glass jar, cover them in olive oil, seal the lid and then leave for around a month for the flowers to steep in the oil then apply the oil to the skin as needed.

Happy feast of St. John and happy start of summer!