comes form the Greek island of Kea where it is gathered and prepared by hand in
small quantities using the ancient method. The plant is gathered during the
flowering season (in May) under a waxing moon. It is then placed in a jars with
local olive oil and left in the sun until it turns red. The oil is used to dress
burns, cuts, surgical scars etc. It is particularly effective for deep wounds,
injuries caused by crushing, or any other trauma associated with nerve damage.
St John's Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) is a rhizomatous perennial plant with
gland dotted leaves and flowers containing its healing properties. Though the
plant may be known today as an anti-depressant and sedative (opinions vary as to
its real effectiveness in this field) - it is historically more important as a
healing herb. Indeed, it is mentioned as such by many ancient Greek authors such
as Dioscurides and Hippocrates.
St John's Wort has been known throughout history as
a vulnerary (wound healer) and was in its heyday on the battlefields of the
Crusaders. In Greek it is known as 'spathochorto' referring to its ability of
healing sword wounds. It was also credited for keeping evil spirits away, for
which purpose it was hung above doors on the eve of St John's day (June 24),
when witches were thought to be most active. Its mystique was confirmed by the
way the juice of the plant turns red on exposure to air - a phenomenon thought
to symbolize the blood of St John the Baptist.
Whatever the story may be with witches and
Crusaders, the truth is that this ointment is extremely effective in cuts and
wounds. A couple of daily applications with a piece of cotton infused with some
oil accelarates the healing in a remarkable way.
Spatholado is available by
mail or in Kea by contacting Kostis Marulis at
or in Athens at the Elixer
Herb Shop on Evripidou Street by the corner of Athinas Street
in the central market.