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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

St John's Wort

   St John's Wort is a well known herb with a long magical history. It grows in Europe and can now be found in the United States, often by the side of the road. The plant's yellow flowers bloom in the summer and the plant itself grows up to about 3 feet tall. For medicinal purposes prepared tinctures, teas, and suppliments of St John's Wort can be purchased or grown although for traditional magic charms the plant should be found wild. As with most Celtic herbal magic the plant is most powerful when found at a specific time, in this case on the day of a full moon, at noon in bright sun (Wilde, 1991).
   Medicinally it's main use is in treating depression. St John's Wort is so effective at reducing depression that in Germany it is by far the preferred treatment (Foster & Duke, 2000). Clinical trials have supported its effectiveness, although it is only used to treat mild or moderate types of depression (Foster & Duke, 2000). Be aware though that this herb interferes with the effectiveness of birth control pills and other methods should be substituted to avoid pregnancy. St John's Wort can also be used externally to treat ulcers, sores, bruises, and cuts as well as taken in a tea for bladder problems and diarrhea (Foster & Duke, 2000). As always, before using please consult a trained herbalist.  
   Magically St John's Wort is said to protect against fairy enchantments, and grant luck, prosperity, and blessing. In Irish tradition St John's Wort is one of the 7 herbs that cannot be effected by anything supernatural (Wilde, 1991). In Scottish tradition it should be gathered with the right hand, dried with the left, and kept to ensure prosperity (Carmichael, 1900).
  If you are fortunate enough to come across St John's Wort growing wild this charm may be recited while it is gathered. Finding it, reciting this, and keeping the herb is believed to bring luck and prosperity.

St. John’s Wort Charm 168

Saint John’s Wort, Saint John's Wort,
I envy whoever has you,
I will pluck you with my right hand,
I will preserve you with my left hand,
Whoever finds you in the cattle fold,
Shall never be without prosperity. (Daimler, 2010)

References:
Daimler, M., (2010). By Land, Sea, and Sky
Foster, S. and Duke, J., (2000). Eastern Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs
Wilde (1991). Irish Cures, Mystic Charms & Superstitions
Carmichael, A., (1900). Carmina Gadelica

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