Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Herbarium: St. John's Wort

With Midsummer quickly approaching, I wanted to cover some of the herbs used to celebrate the sabbat. St. John's Wort is probably the most famous of these herbs.


Folk Names: Amber, Goat Weed, Sol Terrestis, Tipton Weed
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Powers: Divination, Happiness, Health, Love, Protection, Strength
Magical Uses and History: St. John's Wort, the name of which comes from the St. John the Baptist, is the most famous of the Midsummer herbs, although its history hasn't always been kind to witches. During the Burning Times, St. John's Wort was held to the mouths of accused witches in an attempt to force them to confess. Despite, this the herb is still favored among witches for its protective properties.

The herb is most often gathered on Midsummer and worn to ward off mental illness and cure depression. Forgot to collect on Midsummer? Don't worry, Friday works just as well. St. John's Wort is also dried over the fires of Midsummer and hung in windows to ward off ghosts, necromancers, and other evil spirits as well as protect the family from fire, lightning, and misfortune. Burning it in the fires of Midsummer will also banish any unwanted spirits and demons. Its ancient name Fuga Daemonum (Scare Devil) and its Latin name Hypericum ("over" and "apparition") attest to its usefulness in driving away evil.

Furthermore, unmarried women can place any part of the herb under their pillow to assist in prophetic dreams about their future husband. This would have been nice to remember in high school. It can also be used during a ritual to detect any other witches who may be looking in on you and your work.

St. John's Wort can be used in a number of spells including:
     Protection Spells
     Dream Magic
     Prophetic Dreaming
     Banishing Magic

Medicinal Uses: Taken internally, St. John's Wort acts as a pain reliever and sedative, making it great for anxiety, tension, rheumatism, sciatica, shingles, and menopause. It has also been proven to be effective in treating mild depression. As a lotion or oil, it works as an anti-inflammatory and aids in healing. It can be used to treat wounds, bruises, varicose veins, mild burns, sunburns, and rheumatism.

Preparation and Dosage:  Internally St. John's Wort can be taken as an infusion or tincture. To make an infusion, pour one cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb and allow to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day. For a tincture, take 1-4 milliliters up to three times a day. Externally it can be used in a lotion or an oil. To make an oil, stuff a wide-mouthed jar with stems and flowers of herb and cover with pure olive oil. Sit in a sunny window, shaking it a few times a day, for six weeks. It should be bright red when done. Apply a few drops to afflicted area or bandage. On a side note, St. John's Wort can be used to make dye. The flowers make yellow and the stems make red dye. Do NOT take if you are pregnant. Also, it can render birth control ineffective so be careful.

 



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