A herb that flowers at this time is St John's Wort, Hypericum Perforatum. A wonderful herb known to treat depression, anxiety and sleep disorders and also, externally, nerve pain and skin disorders. It flowers on and around this day and is said to be most powerful when picked on this day. It also has many magical connotations, traditionally linked with the festivals of love and fertility.
The young maid stole through the cottage door,
And blushed as she sought the Plant of pow'r;--
'Thou silver glow-worm, O lend me thy light,
I must gather the mystic St. John's wort tonight,
The wonderful herb, whose leaf will decide
If the coming year shall make me a bride.
from A Midsummer's Celebration by Mike Nichols
I have found quite a large clump growing in my local park and although not many of the flowers have opened yet, most likely due to the weird june weather we're having, I managed to pick enough for a small jar. As with any herb or plant you harvest from, take care to thank the plant for what you take, and also not to strip it bare; leave something for others to enjoy.
I was taught years ago by my herbalist friend Paula (http://paulagrainger.com/) how to make this oil and I love the folklore behind it and the magical way the oil changes colour using the warmth of the sun. Its almost like there's a kind of mystic alchemy involved!
To make this infused oil like this you need an empty jar with an airtight lid, a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, jojoba, grape seed, hemp or olive oil and enough flowers to fill the jar. Crush or chop the flower heads and put them in the jar. Use enough oil to cover the flowers and put the lid on tightly. Leave in the sun on a warm window sill for 2-3 weeks, giving the jar a gentle shake every day to encourage the oil to infuse. Eventually the oil will turn a beautiful dark red colour. Once it has turned red the oil can then be strained through muslin and kept in a dark glass container for up to a year in a cool dark place.
I love these home remedies. They are so easy to do and I feel it helps you become more aware of the plants that you might not otherwise take any notice of. I have also collected some lime flowers from a tree I spotted on the way to my Zumba class last night. I'll dry them and use in them in tea. They smell so amazing and so evocative of summer.
I really want to add to this that I am not a qualified herbalist. I have picked up many of the remedies and preparations from books, courses and personal study but if in doubt always consult a professional. It is so important to double check that you know what it is you're picking and how it will effect you when used as a treatment. Enjoy!