St. John’s wort doth charm all the witches away.
If gathered at midnight on the saint’s holy day.
And devils and witches have no power to harm
Those that do gather the plant for a charm:
Rub the lintels and post with that red juicy flower
No thunder nor tempest will then have the power
To hurt or to hinder your houses: and bind
Round your neck a charm of a similar kind.
The young maid stole through the cottage door,
And blushed as she sought the plant of power.
‘Thou silver glow-worm, oh! lend me thy light,
I must gather the mystic St. John’s Wort to-night;
The wonderful herb whose leaf will decide
If the coming year shall see me a bride.”
Name: St. John's Wort
Latin Name: Hypericum perforatum
Common Names: Amber Touch and Heal, Demon Chaser, Goat Weed, Rosin Rose, Tipton Weed
Parts Used: Aerial parts - 75% Bud and flowers, 25% leaves
Indications: Internally: sedative and pain reducing effect - for treatment of neuralgia, anxiety, tension etc. Will ease fibrositis, sciatica and rheumatic pain. Externally: valuable healing and anti-inflammatory remedy. Lotion: speeds healing of wounds, bruises, varicose veins and mild burns. Oil: useful for healing sunburn
P&D: Infusion: 1-2 tsp dried herbs/1 cup boiling water - drink 3 times a day. Tincture: 1-2ml 3 times a day. Lotion: Applied to sick where needed.
Combination: For stress and debility works well with Skullcap and other nervines. For healing the skin works well with Calendula.
Contraindications: Not to be used with MAO and Protease inhibitor. May cause sensitivity to light, but is rare when whole plant is used.
Folklore: Until as recent as the 1850s, St. John’s wort was used as a method to determine how long members of a family would live. Sprigs of the fresh plant would be hung from the rafters and in the morning, examined to see which ones were most wilted–which foretold which member would die soonest. Another belief was that if one slept with a piece of the plant under one’s pillow on St. John’s Eve, “the Saint would appear in a dream, give his blessing, and prevent one from dying during the following year”. The favor St. John’s wort enjoyed is well expressed in the following old English poem: (see first poem to right)
St. John’s wort was used in early pre-Christian religious practices in England, and it has many legends written about it. Because of its bright yellow color, it was often associated with the sun and was often used for purposes of divination–for every situation from longevity to test one’s chances for matrimony. To predict their chances for marital bliss, young girls were in the habit of plucking a sprig of flowers–if the flowers were fresh in the morning, their chances were good, if wilted, a dismal outcome was predicted. This poem is translated from the German, where this custom was also practiced: (see second poem to right)