Herb Analysis: Saint John’s wort, the Summer Solstice Litha herb

Herb Analysis: Saint John's wort, the Summer Solstice Litha herb
Herb Analysis: Saint John's wort, the Summer Solstice Litha herb

St. John’s Wort also known as Hypericum Perforatum in Botanology is a highly valued and respected herb for alchemists, witches, wizards and shamans since the ancient times. The scientific name of the herb derives from the Greek Υπέρικο το Διάτρητο and also Σπαθόχορτο, Βάλσαμο, Βαλσαμόχροτο which in fact means Sword-herb and Balsam .

Magic Lore of St. John’s Wort

The name Hypericum as we saw comes from the greek Υπέρικο which actually describes the habit of Ancient Greeks to put Saint John’s wort on their home altars and picture of Gods and Goddesses to be protected by Fire, Demons and Evil magic.

The herb can be found in Europe, Turkey, Brazil, North Africa, China, Russia and India and apart from Balsam some other folk names of the same herb is Amber, Tipton”s weed, chase-Devil and Sword-herb. Two of the most famous ancient Doctors, Galen (1st century A.D.) and Pedanius Dioscorides (2nd century A.D.) refer to the herb”s medical properties and healing abilities. St. John’s wort is used for centuries in Greece and interestingly is still used primarily for it’s healing properties. Saint John’s wort healing properties and countless. (Saint John’s wort should not be confused with High John the Conqueror”s herb and Low John”s herb.)

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Magical and Healing Properties of St. John’s Wort

This herb and the herb’s infused oil (click here for the Recipe of St. John’s wort oil!) is used externally:

  • to treat inflamation of the skin
  • to treat scars and wounds, even deep wounds (since the ancient times this herb was used against wounds made by swords. The dried herb or the infused oil was put on wounds. This medical practice was so common that the herb was named Sword-herb)
  • to treat burns
  • to treat bruises
  • to treat tennis elbow (aka  lateral epicondylalgia)
  • to treat cramps
  • to treat sprains

Saint John’s wort can be used internally as a herbal tea (infusion):

  • to treat depression (in 1997 after a TV show in ABC News became the alternative / herbal Prozac in the USA and is still used to treat depression and anxiety, however he/she who is under antidepressant medication should always ask their doctors before they take St. John”s wort as the substances may interact with the medication)
  • to treat insomnia 
  • to treat stomach ulcers and  digestion’s problems
  • to treat menopausal symptoms

*Always ask your medical Doctors first if you suffer from any health problems. 

Why is it call St. John’s Wort?

There are two major versions of why this herb bears the name of Saint John the Baptist. Tradition has it that Saint John ate only flowers and herbs through his ascetic life, so the first reason is that John the baptist was feeding from this herb. The other one is that, after the Domination of Christianity in the western world and the christianization of pagan feasts and habits, the Summer Solstice couldn’t just vanish! After all Christianity adopted subtly most major pagan feasts.

Dried St. John's wort hang out of your house is said to protect you also from Evil Magic, Necromancers and Ghosts.
Dried St. John’s wort hang out of your house is said to protect you also from Evil Magic, Necromancers and Ghosts.

So Christians honored this powerful day as the Birth Day of John the Baptist who is still honored at 24th of June. To honor the Saint they still make bonfires and young boys and girls jump over them wishing for blessings. Because this herb is traditionally harvested at the Summer Solstice and burned in bonfires, Christianity honored the herb by giving it the name of the most reputed Saint, John the Baptist.

Alchemical Properties of St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort corresponds to Fire and the Sun. Magically speaking one of the most interesting magical property of Saint John’s wort is it’s power over the element of Fire. Saint John’s wort is used for Fire Safety spells and protection from Thunderbolts. He who carries St. John’s wort is said to be protected by Thunders. Also by burning on Summer Solstice St. John’s wort, the smoke is said to shield the house against Fire and negative Fire Magic.

TIP! Dried St. John’s wort hang out of your house is said to protect you also from Evil Magic, Necromancers and Ghosts.

All the natural healing properties of the herb may be empowered through magic in order to achieve optimal results. Even more, the magical powers of the wort are quite a few. So to sum up Saint John’s wort  is used in:

  • for healing spells
  • to protect against Fire and evil Fire Magic
  • for protection against accidents
  • for protection against psychic attacks
  • for protection against magical attacks (a good helper but not good enough by itself)
  • for good luck 
  • for wishing spells (especially if you use Fire Magic)
  • to honor Sun and Fire Deities and Spirits ( like Apollo, Surya and the Phoenix )
  • for Midsummer, Litha, Summer Solstice bonfires and rituals

TIP: In old Grimoires and Books of Shadows, it is mentioned that the most appropriate and of good quality Saint’s John wort is the one that bears Black Stigmata (small black dots) that appear on the leaves and the flowers of the herb.

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