I It was with a little alarm and a good deal of pleasurable excitement that I looked forward to my first grown-up visit to Mervyn Grange. I had been there several times as a child, but never since I was twelve years old, and now I was o... Read more of The Closed Cabinet at Mystery Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
Privacy
Home - List of Herbs and Articles - Rock Garden

Most Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)


Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)



John's Wort








The wild Saint John's Wort (Hypericum peiforatum) is a frequent
plant in our woods and hedgebanks, having leaves studded with
minute translucent vesicles, which seem to perforate their structure,
and which contain a terebinthinate oil of fragrant medicinal virtues.

The name Hypericum is derived from the two Greek words,
huper eikon, over an apparition, because of its supposed power
to exorcise evil spirits, or influences; whence it was also formerly
called Fuga doemoniorum, the Devil's Scourge, the Grace of
God, the Lord God's Wonder Plant. and some other names of a
like import, probably too, because found to be of curative use
against insanity. Again, it used to be entitled Hexenkraut, and
Witch's Herb, on account of its reputed magical powers.
Matthiolus said, Scripsere quidam Hypericum adeo odisse
doemones, ut ejus suffitu statim avolent, Certain writers have said
that the St. John's Wort is so detested by evil spirits that they fly
off at a whiff of its odour.

Further names of the herb are Amber, Hundred Holes, and Sol
terrestris, the Terrestrial Sun, because it was believed that all
the spirits of darkness vanish in its presence, as at the rising of
the sun.

For children troubled with incontinence of urine at night, and who
wet their beds, an infusion, or tea, of the St. John's Wort is an
admirable preventive medicine, which will stop this untoward
infirmity.

The title St. John's Wort is given, either because the plant blossoms
about St. John's day, June 24th, or because the red-coloured sap
which it furnishes was thought to resemble and signalise the blood
of St. John the Baptist. Ancient writers certainly attributed a host of
virtues to this plant, especially for the cure of hypochondriasis, and
insanity. The red juice, or red [288] oil, of Hypericum made
effective by hanging for some months in a glass vessel exposed to
the sun, is esteemed as one of the most popular and curative
applications in Europe for excoriations, wounds, and bruises.

The flowers also when rubbed together between the fingers yield a
red juice, so that the plant has obtained the title of Sanguis
hominis, human blood. Furthermore, this herb is Medicamentum
in mansa intus sumptum, to be chewed for its curative effects.

And for making a medicinal infusion, an ounce of the herb should
be used to a pint of boiling water. This may be given beneficially
for chronic catarrhs of the lungs, the bowels, or the urinary
passages, Dr. Tuthill Massy considered the St. John's Wort, by virtue
of its healing properties for injuries of the spinal cord, and its
dependencies, the vulnerary arnica of the organic nervous system.
On the doctrine of signatures, because of its perforated leaves, and
because of the blood-red juice contained in the capsules which it
bears, this plant was formerly deemed a most excellent specific for
healing wounds, and for stopping a flow of blood:--

Hypericon was there--the herb of war,
Pierced through with wounds, and seamed with many a scar.

For lacerated nerves, and injuries by violence to the spinal cord, a
warm lotion should be employed, made with one part of the tincture
to twenty parts of water, comfortably hot. A salve compounded
from the flowers, and known as St. John's Wort Salve, is still much
used and valued in English villages. And in several countries the
dew which has fallen on vegetation before daybreak on St. John's
morning, is gathered with great care. It is thought to protect the eyes
from all harm throughout the ensuing year, and the Venetians [289]
say it renews the roots of the hair on the baldest of heads. Peasants
in the Isle of Man, are wont to think that if anyone treads on the St.
John's Wort after sunset, a fairy horse will arise from the earth, and
will carry him about all night, leaving him at sunrise wherever he
may chance to be.

The plant has a somewhat aromatic odour; and from the leaves and
flowers, when crushed, a lemon-like scent is exhaled, whilst their
taste is bitter and astringent. The flowers furnish for fabrics of silk
or wool a dye of deep yellow. Those parts of the plant were alone
ordered by the London Pharmacopoeia to be used for supplying
in chief the medicinal, oily, resinous extractive of the plant.

The juice gives a red colour to the spirit of wine with which it is
mixed, and to expressed oils, being then known as the Hypericum
red oil mentioned above. The flowers contain tannin, and
Hypericum red.

Moreover, this Hypericum oil made from the tops is highly useful
for healing bed sores, and is commended as excellent for ulcers. A
medicinal tincture (H.) is prepared with spirit of wine from the
entire fresh plant, collected when flowering, or in seed, and this
proves of capital service for remedying injuries to the spinal cord,
both by being given internally, and by its external use. It has been
employed in like manner with benefit for lock-jaw. The dose of the
tincture is from five to eight drops with a spoonful of water two or
three times a day.

This plant may be readily distinguished from others of the
Hypericaceous order by its decidedly two edged stem. Sprigs of it
are stuck at the present time in Wales over every outer door on the
eve of St. John's day; [290] and in Scotland, milking is done on the
herb to dispel the malignant enchantments which cause ropy milk.

Among the Christian saints St. John represents light; and the flowers
of this plant were taken as a reminder of the beneficent sun.

Tutsan is a large flowered variety (Hypericum androsoemum) of
the St. John's Wort, named from the French toute saine, or heal
all, because of its many curative virtues; and is common in Devon
and Cornwall. It possesses the same properties as the perforate sort,
but yields a stronger and more camphoraceous odour when the
flowers and the seed vessels are bruised. A tincture made from this
plant, as well as that made from the perforate St. John's Wort, has
been used with success to cure melancholia, and its allied forms of
insanity. The seed-capsules of the Tutsan are glossy and berry-like;
the leaves retain their strong resinous odour after being dried.

Tutsan is called also provincially Woman's Tongue, once set
g(r)owing it never stops; and by country folk in Ireland the Rose of
Sharon. Its botanical name Androsoemum, andros aima, man's
blood, derived from the red juice and oil, probably suggested the
popular title of Tutsan, heal all, often corrupted to Touchen leaf.

Gerard gives a receipt, as a great secret, for making a compound oil
of Hypericum, than which, he says, I know that in the world
there is no better; no, not the natural balsam itself. The plant, he
adds, is a singular remedy for the sciatica, provided that the patient
drink water for a day or two after purging. The leaves laid upon
broken shins and scabbed legs do heal them.

The whole plant is of a special value for healing [291] punctured
wounds; and its leaves are diuretic. It is handsome and shrubby,
growing to a height of two or three feet.





Next: Juniper

Previous: Ivy (ground)



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK


Viewed 864