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greek eikon, saint john s wort, hypericum perforatum, inner darkness

Hypericum - bearer and giver of sunlight

Author: Anja Heij

"So much to do, I still have so much to do!" In this song the Dutch band
Toontje Lager describes in a comical way how we try to fit into modern day
society by exercising a thousand activities in a very limited scheme. At the
same time we wish to work, raise children, be cultural engaged, follow the news
and interesting programs, shape our body in a gym, cook healthy, clean the
house, work in the garden, attend meetings, follow workshops, visit family
members and friends, and hopefully meditate five full minutes a day. Time is
money, and we try to live an instant life. Until the nervous system starts

The above listed sum-up largely consists of things we feel we have to do, or
ways we assume we must behave like; in short: reactions. We react according a
societal profile of the successful human being. Astrologically seen,
reactions belong to the Moon. Why? The moon does not shine by herself, but she
reflects the light of another celestial body. The moon does not have her own
orbit, but she circles around a planet. A moon reacts on others instead of
initiating her own actions.

Too much reacting on (the ideas and beliefs of) others implies drifting away
from your core, your Sun. The inner sun wil keep you in tune with your own
desires, belief-system and actions by doing the things you really want to do
from heart. A lack of inner sun of course is inner darkness or depression.
You become depressed when your self-expression is at stake, and when the jacket
of "musts" becomes too tight.

An old herb can be a great help in loosening severe life patterns,
strenghtening the nervous system, bringing new optimism and energy. It is Saint
John's Wort, and its Latin name is Hypericum perforatum L.

The word Hypericum consists of 'hyper' and 'icum'. Hyper means 'too much'
or 'exaggerated'. Icum is derived from the Greek 'eikon', which means delusion,
suggestion. So Hypericum is a helpful herb for people who have too much on their
mind, who react on every outside stimulus, or who have exaggerated ideas about
their life, exhausting them. This plant flowers in a playful and chaotic way:
here a flower, there a flower, without a real order in it Therefore it may suit
the person with many ideas and actions, without being able to organize his or
her life. This can lead to nervous tension or anxiety, nervous headache, nervous
heart- or stomach complaints, fatigue, sleeplessness, burnout or depression.

Hypericum blooms at high summer, when the sunlight is very strong. The herb
is named after St. John, whose birthday is June 24th. The flowers are yellow.
All this characterizes the herb as a sun-plant. Recent scientific research
has proven time after time that Hypericum is an effective treatment for mild to
moderate depressions, but that it has only very little side effects compared to
chemical anti-depressants.

A possible side effect to take into account is the so-called
photo-sensibility, or extra sensitivity to light. This means that persons with a
sensitive skin should avoid large exposure to sunlight during treatment with
Hypericum, because theoretically it might lead to skincomplaints like rash and

The second part of the Latin name of the plant is 'perforatum'. In old days
people thought that the tiny dark spots on the flowers and leaves of the plant
were little perforations. Today we know these spots are dots filled with
essential plant oils, namely hypericin, the main healing ingredient of the
plant. When you rub the flowers or leaves between your hands, the fingers become
red because of the hypericin. Red is the color of activity, enthusiasm and life
force, and this is what a cure with Hypericum will bring you.

You can take St. John's Wort internally in the form of tea, tincture or
capsules made from the whole herb, or externally in the form of St. John's oil
made from the flowers. In case of psychological healing it may take several
weeks before you notice effect.

Hypericum heals depression due to nervous exhaustion, seasonal affective
disorder, hormonal depression, depression because of a great loss, postpartum
depression, and other forms of depression. (If you are on chemical
anti-depressants now and wish to start using Hypericum, please consult your
doctor on beforehand and never stop taking the chemical drugs immediately
because of the possible rebound effect).

Although the anti-depressant qualities of the plant are largely emphasized
these days, Hypericum can do more. It may help too organized persons to break
free from their strict schemes. It promotes the blood circulation. That's why
it may cure chillblained hands or regulate the menstruation. The herb not
only vitalizes the nervous system, but also calms and strengthens it, in other
words regulates it. The resin in the plant works anti-bacterial in case of
deep wounds and animal bites (still I highly recommend visiting a doctor in
these cases and receiving an injection against tetanus). A funny thing is
that the herb may make you more sensitive to sunlight in the first place, but in
case of (sun)burns it heals the skin when applied externally. The oil brings
relief for stiff or cramped muscles, rheumatic pains or sciatica. St. John's
Wort oil is a good massage oil.

And old belief is, that when you'd sleep with a twig of Hypericum under your
pillow on St. John's evening, he would visit and bless you in your sleep and
prevent you from dying for the first year. Well, I would not count on that
one. But you surely can rely on the healing qualities of this joyful yellow
flowering herb, for it will address and strengthen your inner sun and increase
your happiness.