Fact or Fiction: Herbal Safeguards Against Lightning

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<p>This morning I woke up to the sound of thunder. The pounding rain and flashes of lightning didn’t scare me. Instead, I wanted to snuggle farther under the covers and spend the day in bed.</p>
<p>However, not everyone feels safe from lightning. (Including my new puppy! Poor thing.) Throughout history certain plants were used to protect the <a href=”http://www.abouthyme.com/dayletters/090817.html” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>home from lightning</font>
</a>. In her weekly herbal newsletter, <i>
<a href=”http://www.abouthyme.com/dayletters/090817.html” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>All About Thyme</font>
</i>, Susan Wittig Albert lists five plants believed to ward off lightning. Do they actually work? I’ll let you decide.</p>
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<br />
Photo By nebraskasc/Courtesy Flickr<br />
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/nebraskasc/2123597501/” target=”_blank”>http://www.flickr.com/photos/nebraskasc/</a>
<b>• Houseleeks</b> (<i>Sempervivum tectorum</i>)</p>
<p>In <a href=”http://www.abouthyme.com/dayletters/090817.html” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>Roman and Norse mythology</font>
</a>, houseleeks were sacred to the gods associated with lightning. People planted houseleeks on roofs as a way to protect their homes from lightning and fire. Charlemagne, a medieval king, decreed that houseleeks must be planted on all structures of his empire. Because of its history, houseleeks can still be seen growing on roofs in England and Europe.</p>
<b>• Mistletoe</b> (<i>Viscum album</i>)</p>
<p>This plant is known for a lot more than its association with Christmas and kissing. <a href=”http://http//www.herbcompanion.com/Projects/A-Kissing-Ball.aspx”>
<font color=”#800080″>Mistletoe</font>
</a> was once believed to have been planted in trees from bolts of lightning. People <a href=”http://www.abouthyme.com/dayletters/090817.html” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>hung</font>
</a> mistletoe over their doors and windows as means to protect their homes from lightning.</p>
<b>• Holly</b> (<i>Ilex sp.</i>) and <b>hazel</b> (<i>Corylus avellana</i>)</p>
<p>In <a href=”http://www.abouthyme.com/dayletters/090817.html” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>Norse mythology</font>
</a>, holly and hazel were believed to protect people from Thor the Tunderer. People used to plant holly trees away from their home in order to divert lightning away.</p>
<b>• Hawthorn</b> (<i>Crataegus oxyacantha</i>)</p>
<p>In <a href=”http://www.abouthyme.com/dayletters/090817.html” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>Christian tradition</font>
</a>, hawthorn was said to be used in Christ’s crown of thorns. People in Normandy used <a href=”https://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/spring-to-life-with-tea-hawthron-berry.aspx”>
<font color=”#800080″>hawthorn</font>
</a> to protect their homes from lightning. Since they believed lightning was the work of the devil they also believed the devil’s work could not strike this sacred tree.</p>
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<p>Do you use herbs to protect against your fears? Leave me a comment and tell me all about your herbal superstitions.</p>

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