Herbal KnowledgeJun 8, 2023

4 Herbs to Celebrate on Summer Solstice

As herbalists and plant enthusiasts, we pay close attention to the natural world. We let Earth’s rhythm inform how we work, rest, eat and play. In the Northern Hemisphere, June 21st is the summer solstice and first day of summer.

Most ancient cultures held summer solstice festivities where they lit bonfires and decorated their homes with herbs and flowers that were bright as sunshine itself. The summer solstice occurs when the Earth’s tilt toward the sun is at its max. That gives a whole lot of daylight to devote to the things that light us up.

For us, that’s sharing the magic of plants. Learn about 4 herbs that have some interesting summer solstice lore and get ideas for creating your own celebration.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is the first herb we think of when summer solstice rolls around. This herb gets its name from John the Baptist because it’s often harvested around the summer solstice (June 21st) and midsummer feasting holiday, St. John’s Day (June 24th). If you hold St. John’s Wort up to the sun, you can see the glistening oil glands dotting the plant.

Pagans believed that the powers of St. John’s Wort were strongest on the summer solstice and hung it over religious icons to ward off spirits.1 Very mystical indeed! While we can’t speak to its ability to protect from evil spirits, we do appreciate that this herb promotes positive mood and healthy emotional balance.*



With its bright golden center, Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a wonderful herb that you can work into your routine on the summer solstice. We grow Chamomile on our Regenerative Organic Certified® farm in southern Oregon, and hand-harvest it in late spring. However, we’re hardly the first to adore this calming herb! In ancient Egypt, offerings of chamomile were made to the sun god Ra.*2

From the Middle Ages to the 1700s, chamomile and other “strewing herbs” were scattered on the floors of English homes for fragrance and to impart their disinfectant and insect-repelling qualities.3 Before an evening meditation or after a long day of chasing the sun, you may enjoy drinking in the calming, nervous-system supporting benefits of Chamomile liquid herbal extract.*



Some herbs, like Calendula (Calendula officinalis), just look like pure sunshine! We love it so much we made it the star of these summery bandanas. This vibrant flower has the nickname “Bride of the Sun” because it follows the movement of the sun throughout the day.4

If you happen to have any Calendula growing in your garden (or if you can get it dried from your local apothecary), you can collect the petals and use them to make a beautiful bright orange fabric dye. Aside from its lovely color, we also appreciate Calendula because it has been traditionally used to support the immune system.* 



If you’re making any flower crowns or bouquet bundles during the summer solstice, be sure to include Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). This fragrant herb typically blooms June through September (depending on what zone you live in), so it’s no wonder they were a popular addition to flower crowns and wreaths during pagan solstice festivals.

If you feel like honoring the sun with a little fire, you can also make your own Lavender incense. Just remove the flowers and leaves and bundle the little sticks together. And if sitting outside, sipping on something delicious is more of your solstice vibe, consider making our Sparkling Lavender Lemonade.


Celebrating Summer Solstice 

There are so many things you can do to make the most of summer solstice.
Here are a few ideas to help you embrace the sunshine.

Attend an Herb Walk

Many botanical societies offer guided walks where you can learn about the plants and herbs that grow in your area.

Meditate or Do Yoga Outside

While you practice, let the warmth of the sun soak in. It feels so good after those gloomy winter months.

Practice Gratitude

Try journaling for a few minutes and reflect on everything you’re grateful for – including the abundance of sunshine!

For even more family-friendly ideas, check out these herbal activities for kids. And let us know, what are you doing to celebrate the solstice?

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