Sunday, 18 July 2010 09:32

St. John's Wort

Written by forestelf
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St. John's Wort, Mumbles Hill

St. John's Wort is most commonly known today for being a herbal remedy for depression. But the plant's medicinal, and believed magickal properties, have been used throughout history as a prescription to improve a wide variety of physical, mental and spiritual conditions.

Ointments made from the plant were said to be great healing agents for even the deepest of wounds and were used by early surgeons to clean infections. The plant has also been noted to improve sciatica, palsy, ulcers, chronic catarrh, gout, rheumatism, jaundice and bed sores. It has also proved successful in treating bed-wetting in children. Native Americans used the plant as a snake bite remedy as well as a general tonic to build up strength.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) has also found its uses as a talisman/amulet to ward off troubles of a more supernatural origin. Wearing its flowers was believed to ward off troublesome spirits, explaining an earlier name attributed to St. John's Wort - 'Chase-Devil.'

The plant has also been used for divining the future. Young maidens would pick some of its bright yellow flowers and if they were still fresh the following day, their future marriage was seen to be blessed with good fortune. Examining the drying sprigs of the flowering plant, hung from a rafter in a family home, could also, it was believed, determine the order in which the family members would die!

St. John's Wort, takes its name from St. John the Baptist (probably because the plant flowers around the time of Saint John's Day - June 24th). The red spots which can be found along the plant have also been associated with the saint's blood. These red spots are explained in the following folk tale:

The Devil would often attend the bedsides of the ill, hoping to capture their poor souls as they slipped away from this mortal coil. However, he became increasingly frustrated when these people kept recovering their health after being given medicine prepared from St. John's Wort. In his fury, he stabbed at the plant again and again with his fiery fork until it bled profusely. Unfortunately for the Devil, the blood released from the plant was that of St. John the Baptist's himself, and thereafter St. John's Wort became an even stronger tonic for the ill and infirm!

Read 1698 times Last modified on Sunday, 22 September 2013 13:14
More in this category: « Wild Thyme Poppies »

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