Throughout the history, Christians have seen God’s masterful design in creation and very often named plants after saints or other spiritual themes.
Then, Christians came to believe that nature spoke of the grandeur of God and it contains everything we need to maintain our bodies in good health.
Particularly, when the early Christians observed a plant with yellow flowers which bloomed around the feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24, without wasting time, they put the two together.
As the National Center for Biotechnology Information explained it, “Early Christians also believed the plant had mystical properties. Because, according to one legend, the greatest effect was obtained when the plant was harvested on Saint John’s Day (June 24), which is always the time of peak blooming. Another legend confirms that the plant released its blood-red oil on August 29, which turned out to be the day of St. John’s beheading.”
Furthermore, a writer known as Ronda Nelson adds to the spiritual symbolism of this herb, explaining how “The striking arrangement of its five yellow petals resembles a halo, and when it was picked, it exudes a crimson red liquid which was believed by some to symbolize the spilled blood of their beloved John. Many historical authorities have doubted whether the infamous Rose of Sharon as mentioned in the Bible is really St. John’s Wort. Although botanists have confirmed they are two distinct plants but abide in the same family.”
The herb, as it is normally used for medicinal qualities, was also thought to have the power to cast out demons and evil spirits. This was exactly in part to the association with St. John the Baptist and his feast on the longest day of the year, which is the day when light is stronger than the darkness.
It would interest you to know that, St. Columba was the most well-known saint who regularly used the herb and in certain areas, the herb was named after him.
But according to Dr. Christopher Hobbs, “Its earliest use may date as back as the 6th century AD when, according to Gaelic tradition, the missionary St. Columba always carried a piece of St. John’s wort because of his great regard for St. John.”
For so many centuries, the herb has been used as a remedy against depression or anxiety, just because the medieval Christians believed that demonic spirits were the source of a person’s melancholy.
Though, whatever the medicinal benefits of the herb, it definitely has a long spiritual history and it contains much symbolism that reminds Christians of their creator. As they see in it God’s harmonious design and is a reflection of his love for human kind.