St. John’s Wort and Their Greek History

Recently, I have introduced St. John’s Wort and what its benefits are. What I’m about to share today is the very interesting historial use of St. John’s wort. As I have researched, its history is well-documented. It’s been used in rituals, folklore and even magical attributes. It’s probably one of the most mystique histories that I’ve heard.

traditional-landscape
St John’s wort is named after St John the Baptist, whose feast day on 24th June corresponds with the plant’s full bloom in Europe. The ancient Greeks and Romans used to this plant to treat many ailments, including backache and poisonous reptile bites as well as to shoo against evil spirits, placing stems of the plant on statues of their gods.

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As a practical folk-remedy, it has been used widely to heal wounds, kidney troubles, and nervous disorders, even insanity. St. John’s wort has been studied widely as a treatment for depression even now in the present years. Most studies show that St. John’s wort may help treat mild-to-moderate depression, and has fewer side effects than most other prescription antidepressants. Read a brief explanation of it here.
Mentioning about its magical properties, St. John’s wort blooms a bright yellow color, which was often associated with light, or with the sun. It is even used to forecast their chances for marriage of young girls. If the flowers were fresh in the morning, their chances of marriage were good. If wilted, it may negatively affect their outcome.

This poem is translated from the German, where this tradition was also practiced:

“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.”

The plant was respected that much to be honored in a way where it’s a basis for the future. Here are some of the other beliefs about the plant:

St. John’s Wort is linked with the Sun and Leo, Midsummer’s Day, or St. John’s Day.
St. John’s Wort can be added to the fires for Midsummer celebrations and used to make garlands. The infused oil might be useful for an anointing oil for Midsummer rituals and exorcism. It’s bloody red color also lends it well to death and rebirth rituals and celebrations of women’s mysteries.
It can also be used for smudging during rituals of exorcism, especially of poltergeists.
It’s fascinating – all those ideas and conceptions show so much about how the world continually changes, but its use – being an antidepressant – has remained, which meant there was a lot of evidence in its results.  I could not find any studies that showed St. John’s Wort as ineffective.

All in all, it looks as if St. John’s Wort is a wonderful alternative medicine to the synthetic antidepressants.

Reference:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/StJohn.htm
http://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/articles-on-herbs-and-health/st-johns-wort-ancient-herbal-protector/

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