Job's tears, a native Asian plant, has become a luck symbol as its tear shape has inspired faith and magical traditions. But it's also used as food, in jewelry and crafts and in herbal medicine. Learn more about the history of what has been called the perfect seed bead.
It seems ironic that a seed with a nickname that includes the word tears would be associated with luck, but there's a good reason for the connection. In the biblical story of Job, God points out to Satan how pious Job is. Satan says that is only because he's been blessed and if everything were taken away from him, then he would curse God. God agrees to allow Satan to test Job beyond the breaking point on all levels. He undergoes great troubles but keeps his faith and is eventually rewarded by God later in life even more so than he was in his earlier life. By using Job's tears in luck charms or in magic, believers affirm their conviction that through their faith they will avail through all troubles.
..."Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. ~ Job 1:21-22, Holy Bible, New International Version
Popular Use for Luck
One wishing magic use is to hold seven seeds and much like a lucky penny to make a wish on them and throw them in running water. Or you can make the same wish with each of the seven seeds and carry them in a pouch for a week. For those biblically inclined, you can read or reflect on the story of Job while holding the seeds before you place them in the pouch to carry.
Herbal and Food Uses
The plant's botanical name is Coix lachryma-jobi (lachryma is Latin for tear). Its fruit is used medicinally for arthritis, pain relief and a spleen tonic. The hulled seeds are used like rice or dried and ground like flour. To make a variation of Job's tears as a rice substitute, first rinse the seeds and then toast them in a pan for about 5 minutes stirring constantly. While you're doing this, bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the toasted seeds. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove and let rest covered for 10 minutes before serving.
Other Craft Uses
Because of its neutral color, shape and size, it makes a lovely stringing bead and is used in rosaries and other jewelry. Job's tears are also strung around shaker gourds which are used as musical instruments. The gourds are hallowed out and dried and then strung with the dried seeds.
- Armstrong, W.P. Job's Tears: A Wild Grass That Produces Nature's Most Perfect Bead, Wayne's World, 2000. http://waynesword.palomar.edu/plapr99.htm
- Brown, Deni. New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses, Dorling Kindersley, 1995, 2001.
- Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn Publications, 1998.
- Whitaker, William. WORDS Latin-to-English & English-to-Latin Dictionary, 1998-2010, http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/wordz.pl?keyword=lachryma
- Whole Grain Basic Info: Job's Tears, Eden Organic, 2015. http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=89#Jobs
You can find the following Job's Tears food and spiritual products at Amazon.com:
Job's Tears - 16oz
Pope John Paul II Rosary Made with Job's Tears Seeds with Gray Satin Bag Includes 3 Holy Card and Small Photo of PJP 2