I hurried to the garden as the sun dropped behind Stone Mountain to gather the sweet yellow blossoms of St. John's Wort. These flowers, picked at peak maturity, will be infused in oil. This week's Herbal Remedy explains my simple procedure for making a healing balm that is soothing for arthritic fingers and joint pain.

As you can see, my St. John's Wort (above) is doing pretty well this summer. I planted it about two years ago and have given it little attention since, except for some weeding and usual maintenance. I find it to be a very hardy shrub and quite the garden focal point. When traveling through Colorado, I noticed this herb thriving in alpine terrain, where extreme weather conditions inhibit many plants from doing it makes the cut for "tough shrubs" in my book.

Our backyards and meadows provide a wealth of plants with healing benefits. In times past, it was important for our elders to have a working knowledge of the land and native herbs since medical help was not readily available to country folks. This information was acquired from their parents, Indian Medicine Men, and self-taught herbalists.  Sustainability requires a knowledge of the world around us, and the provisions of the earth are available to all who seek it.  

Happy gleaning,