Yarrow – Courage, love, marriage charms, dispelling negativity, psychic abilities, divination. A very potent healer, it intensifies the medicinal action of other herbs taken with it. Helps eliminate toxins (good for colds). Most useful in its abilities to staunch blood flow. In poultice form , it is useful against infections and swelling. In magic there is evidence that yarrow was often used as a component in incantations. The tea drunk prior to divination will enhance one’s powers of perception (a touch of peppermint brightens this brew up and always works better). Also drink the tea to stop arthritis symptoms such as swelling and inflammation associated with weather divination and generally end all aching, sore muscles, or stiff joints or back pain. A powerful incense additive for divination and love spells.
Yellow Evening Primrose – Hunting.
Yerba Mate – Fidelity, Love, Lust.
Yerba Santa – Beauty, Healing, Psychic Powers, Protection.
Yucca – Transmutation, Protection, Purification.
Walnut – Carry the nut as a charm to promote fertility and strengthen the heart.
Wheat – Fertility, Money.
Willow – Willow wands can be used for healing. The Willow will bring the blessings of the Moon upon those who plant it or have it on their property. Willows can be used to bind together witch’s brooms and a forked willow branch is widely used in water witching and dowsing.
Wintergreen – Protection, Healing, Hex Breaking.
Witch Hazel – Protection, chastity, healing the heart. In tincture form it is good as a mouth rinse and to ease hemorrhoids. As a compress, witch hazel can be applied to insect bites and other skin irritations.
Wood Rose – Luck.
Woodruff – Victory, Protection, Money.
Wormwood – Wormwood is burned to gain protection from wandering spirits. Used in divination and clairvoyance incenses, initiation rites and tests of courage. Enables the dead to be released from this plane so they my find peace.
Valerian – Love, calming, sleep, purification or relaxing baths. Use the dried, powdered root. Promotes relaxation while counteracting the effects of insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, headaches, pre menstrual syndrome and menstrual cramping. For sleep, before bed take 1 teaspoon of herb to 1 pint of water and simmer. Also acts as a good substitute for catnip. Use the fresh herb in spells of love, also to get fighting couples together. Used in the Purification bath sachet.
Vanilla – Love, Lust, Mental Powers.
Venus Flytrap – Protection, necromancy.
Vervain – The Witches Herb. Love, Protection, Purification, Peace, Money, Youth, Chastity, Sleep. Healing. Empowers any magic, especially love spells. Enhances the dreaming process and is recommended for dream quests. Used to consecrate and empower any ritual tools. Protects from negative emotions and depression. Used in house and home blessings. Turns back negativity. In love spells: add to recipes to attract mates, find true love, achieve sexual fulfilment, work sexual magic, an for bringing extra bliss on the wedding night. The herb of poets, singers, and bards. Inspires artistry. Instills a love of learning. Best when gathered at Midsummer.
Vetch, Giant – Fidelity.
Vetivert – Love, Hex Breaking, Luck, Money, Anti-Theft.
Violet – Mix with lavender for a powerful love charm. A Violet and Lavender compress will aid in eliminating headaches. The flowers are carried as a good-luck charm. The scent will soothe, clear the mind and relax the wearer.
Tansy – Health, Longevity.
Tea – Riches, Courage, Strength.
Thistle – Strength, Protection, Hex Breaking, Healing.
Thistle, Milk – Snake enraging.
Thyme – Sleep, psychic energy, courage, healing, purification incense, magical cleansing baths, a renewing of one’s personal energy, warding off of negative energy.Powerful antibacterial, antibiotic, and diuretic properties. It helps eliminate wastes from the body. It is used in treating whooping coughs, warts, rheumatism and acne. A strong antiseptic which when prepared by infusion is useful for poor digestion, exhaustion, colds, and infections, and with honey is an effective treatment for sore throats. Also used in tea form as a fever breaker, headache reducer and to be rid of intestinal worms, and can be used as a mouthwash. Also, a great insect repellent. Use both the leaves and flowers. This tea works best for headaches when taken cold. Take a magical cleansing bath in the spring of thyme and marjoram ( used in tea form or whole herbs). A pillow stuffed with it cures nightmares.
Toadflax – Protection, Hex Breaking.
Toadstool – Rain Making.
Tobacco – Healing, Purification.
Tonka Bean – Also known as Coumaria Nut, Tonqua, Tonquin Bean *Poison* Love. Money. Courage. Wishes. Used extensively in love sachets and mixtures, and carried to attract love. Also worn or carried to attract money, bring luck, grant courage, and ward off illness.
Turmeric – Purification. Added to warm milk it regulates menstrual cycle.
Turnip – Protection, Ending Relationships.
Saffron – Prosperity, healing and sexual prowess in men.
Sage –Fertility, longevity, wishes, wisdom, protection, healing, health. Can be used in an infusion to aid digestion, or as part of a honey wine to fight colds and fever. When applied in compresses it can ease many skin discomforts, including dandruff. If made into cream it is good for muscular pain, and if dried and smoked sometimes gives relief to asthma.
Sagebrush – Purification, Exorcism.
St. John’s Wort – Protective charms, ward off fever and illness, a banishing or exorcism incense, the tea increases courage and will power. Gather on Midsummer’s Eve, pass through the smoke of bonfires to purify, and hang in the house as protection and to prevent nightmares.
Sandalwood – Protection, Healing, Exorcism, Spirituality.
Sarsaparilla – Love, Money.
Sassafras – Health, Money.
Savory – Mental Powers.
Skullcap – Love, Fidelity, Peace.
Senna – Love.
Sesame – Money, Lust.
Shallot – Purification.
Skunk Cabbage – Legal Matters.
Slippery Elm – Halts Gossip.
Snakeroot – Luck, Money.
Snapdragon – Protection.
Solomon’s Seal – Protection, Exorcism.
Sorrel Wood – Healing, Health.
Spanish Moss – Protection.
Spearmint – Healing, Love, Mental Powers.
Spiderwort – Love.
Spikenard – Love.
Star Anise – Psychic Powers, Luck.
Strawberry – Love, Luck.
Sugar Cane – Love, Lust.
Sunflower – Fertility, Wishes, Health, Wisdom.
Sweetgrass – Calling Spirits.
Sweetpea – Friendship, Chastity, Courage, Strength.
Radish – Protection, Lust.
Ragweed – Courage.
Raspberry – Protection, Love.
Rattlesnake Root – Protection, Money.
Rhubarb – Protection, Fidelity.
Rice – Protection, Fidelity.
Roots – Protection, Power, Divination.
Rose – Love, friendship, luck, protection, psychic power and divination.
Uses: Conserves of roses or rose petals in honey are often recommended for nausea and sore throats. Roses are high in vitamin C.
Rosemary – Improve memory, sleep, purification, youth, love, power, healing, protection, intellectual. Promotes healing of wounds, acts as an antiseptic, and can be a mild stimulant. Good in teas for treating flu, stress, and headaches or body aches. Mental and physical booster. Used for treating (oil form) muscular sprains, arthritis, rheumatism, depression, fatigue, memory loss, migraine headaches, coughs, flu and diabetes. Excellent remedy for acne or cellulite. When the leaves are soaked in wine for two weeks, small glasses may be taken as a digestive aid. Oil of rosemary is excellent in hair conditioners, and the flowers of this herb may be added to lotion recipes to improve the complexion. Add to all purification bath sachets, love incenses, and protection incenses. Make a tea of rosemary and use it to cleanse the hands before working magic, if you have no time for a regular ritual bath. Burn rosemary and juniper as a healing and recuperation incense.
Rowan – Psychic Powers, Healing, Protection, Success.
Rue – Protection, preventing illness, clearness of mind, purification of ritual spaces and tools, clearing the mind of emotional clutter.
Rye – Love, Fertility.
Palm, Date – Fertility, Potency.
Pansy – Love, Rain Magick, Love, Divination.
Papaya – Love, Protection.
Parsley – Fresh parsley leaves in tea form are a treatment for cramps, while dried root decoctions eases urinary infections and arthritis. Externally, crushed leaves relieve insect bites, and may be applied in poultice form to sprains.
Passion Flower – Peace, Sleep, Friendship.
Patchouly – Aphrodisiac and attractant of lovers for either sex.
Pea – Money, Love.
Peach – Love, Exorcism, Longevity, Fertility, Wishes.
Pear – Lust, Love.
Pecan – Money, Employment.
Pennyroyal – Protection, weariness, deters insects. Avoid Pennyroyal while pregnant.
Peony – Protection, Exorcism.
Pepper, Black – Protection, Exorcism.
Peppermint – Purification, Sleep, Love, Healing, Psychic Powers.
Periwinkle – Also known as Sorcerer’s Violet, Blue Buttons *POISON* Love, Lust, Mental Powers, Money, Protection. Best when gathered when the moon is 1 night old, 9 nights old, 11 nights old, or 13 nights old. The dried flowers may be added to any magical mixture to enhance the working. Banishes negative energy. Makes one feel desirable. Add dried flowers or root to amulets to bring necessary changes to one’s life to attract a loving partner. Plant on graves of children. Helps grieving parents heal from their loss. Keeps memory of lost child alive without unhealthy attachments.
Persimmon – Healing, Lust.
Pine – Attunement to nature, centering, cleansing, healing, productivity, purification against illness, a good winter incense, fertility charms. Pine buds prepared by decoction act as an expectorant and antiseptic. This same mixture can be used for inhalation for head colds, although it is easier to toss some needles in hot water. Green cones and needles can be added to bath water to ease muscle pains and swelling. For magic, pine is best suited for its aromatic qualities of bringing one back into balance, and enhancing connection with the natural world.
Pineapple – Luck, Money, Chastity.
Pistachio – Breaking Love Spells.
Plum – Healing.
Poke – Courage, Hex Breaking.
Pomegranate – Divination, Luck, Wishes, Wealth, Fertility.
Poplar – Money, Flying.
Poppy – Eat poppy seeds as a fertility charm. Carry the seeds or dried seed-pod as a prosperity charm.
Potato – Image Magic, Healing.
Prickly Ash – Love.
Primrose – Protection, Love.
Purslane – Sleep, Love, Luck, Protection, Happiness.
Oak – The Oak is a sacred tree. A Witch will often seek out a grove of Oak to perform rites. It has always been considered unlucky to cut down an oak. After getting permission from the tree’s Dryad, burn oak leaves for purification of ritual spaces. Oak is often used for all-purpose wands and they imbue great power. The acorns have been carried to increase fertility in women and to increase sexual appeal by men, preserve youth and to banish illness. Hang Oak over windows and doors to protect your house from evil spirits.
Oats – Money.
Olive – Healing, Peace, Fertility, Potency, Protection, Lust.
Onion – Protection and healing. Place cut onions in a sick persons room to absorb the illness. Leave them overnight and throw away in the morning.
Orange – Love, Divination, Luck, Money. The dried and powdered peel is added to love and fertility charms.
Orchid – Love.
Oregon Grape – Money, Prosperity.
Orris – Also known as Florentine Iris, Queen Elizabeth Root. Love, Protection, Divination. The root is used to find and hold love. The root powder is known as “Love Drawing Powder.” Protects from evil spirits. The roots and leaves hung in the house and added to the bath are good for personal protection. Make a pendulum with a small piece of the wood.
Nettle – To advert danger, protection, healing, courage, antidote for many poisons. Use gloves to handle so as to avoid getting pricked. High in vitamin C and iron and when in tea form can ease asthma and increase your energy levels.
Nutmeg – Clairvoyance and psychic power of visions.
Mace – Psychic Powers, Mental Powers.
Magnolia – Fidelity.
Maidenhair – Beauty, Love.
Mallow – Love, Protection, Exorcism.
Mandrake – Also known as herb of Circe, witches mannikin, wild lemon, sorcerer’s root *Poison* Protection, Love, Money, Fertility, Health. Few herbs are as steeped in magical lore as mandrake. It is associated with the most intense practices of magic and especially well suited for love magic. It has great power as a visionary herb. It empowers visions, providing the impetus to bring them into manifestation. It intensifies the magic of any situation. A whole mandrake root placed in the home will bring protection and prosperity. Carried, it will attract love. The human shape of the root makes it well suited for use as poppet. (Substitute ash roots, apples, root of the briony, or the American may apple if the cost is prohibitive). To prepare a dried mandrake, place it on the altar undisturbed for three days. Then place it in warm water overnight. The root will then be prepared and ready for any magical purpose.
Maple – Love, Longevity, Money.
Marigold – Also known as calendula, drunkard, marybud, marygold. Protection, Prophetic Dreams, Legal Matters, Psychic Powers. Aids visionary sight and helps find stolen property by producing a vision of the thief in the mind and the location of the stolen property. Dried petals may be used alone or mixed with dried incense to consecrate divination tools. Petals may be macerated in sunflower oil to make an oil of consecration. Used in rituals of death and dying. Carry marigold petals with a bay leaf to quiet gossip.
Marjoram – Protection, Love, Happiness, Health, Money. Add to all love charms, place a piece in rooms for protection. Give to a grieving person to bring them happiness.
Mastic – Psychic Powers, Manifestations, Lust.
May Apple – Also known as American mandrake, duck’s foot, hog apple, raccoon berry *Poison* Money. Generally used as a substitution for European (true) mandrake. Its uses are practically identical, although the may apple is not related to the true mandrake.
Meadow Rue – Divination.
Meadowsweet – Love, Divination, Peace, Happiness. Protection against evil influences, promotes love, balance and harmony. Place meadowsweet on the altar when making love charms and conducting love spells to increase their potency.
Mesquite – Healing.
Mimosa – Protection, Love, Prophetic Dreams, Purification.
Mint – Money, healing, strength, augment power, luck, travel. Mint in tea form aids upset stomachs, flu, and can be used to ease hiccups. Inhalations of the leaves in boiling water is recommended for head colds and asthma. Mint tea used instead of aspirin is great for headaches, particularly pre menstrual headaches. Nervous headaches can be relieved if you lie in a dark room with fresh peppermint leaves on the forehead. Aids the respiratory and circulatory systems. An anti-inflammatory and an antiseptic. Ideal for treating indigestion, flatulence, varicose veins, headaches, migraines, skin irritations,rheumatism, toothache, and general fatigue.
Mistletoe – Also known as Holly wood, Golden bough. Protection, Love, Hunting, Fertility, Health, Exorcism.
Moonwort – Money, Love.
Moss – Luck, Money.
Mugwort – Also known as Artemis herb, Artemisia, Felon herb, Muggons, Naughty Man, Sailor’s Tobacco, St. John’s Plant. Strength, Psychic Powers, Protection, Prophetic Dreams, Healing, Astral Projection. Use a wash or the oil to consecrate or anoint crystal balls or any tool of divination. Produces visionary dreams and is a prime ingredient in dream pillows. Keeps one safe from dark forces. Protects children. Incense brings protection. Carried, it brings loved ones safely home from journeys. A tonic for the soul, it keeps us aware of our spiritual direction. Burn with sandalwood or wormwood during scrying sessions. A mugwort infusion sweetened with honey will enhance divination. Carried, it also increases lust and fertility.
Mulberry – Courage, protection from wild animals, protection from evil spirits, cleansing of ritual places before and after working there. Also used for cleansing and purifying ritual tools and altars.
Mullein – Courage, Protection, Health, Love, Divination, Exorcism.
Mustard – Fertility, Protection, Mental Powers.
Myrrh – Purifying and protective incense for ritual areas. Can be used to consecrate tools. Excellent insect repellent and as a tincture it is good for bad breath and gum problems.
Myrtle – Myrtle has been used in love charms and spells throughout history. Grow indoors for good luck. Carry or wear Myrtle leaves to attract love, charms made of the wood have special magical properties. Wear fresh Myrtle leaves while making love charms, potions or during rituals for love.
Lady’s Mantle – Love.
Lady’s Slipper – Protection.
Larch – Protection, Anti-Theft.
Larkspur – Health, Protection.
Lavender – Sleep, long life, peace, wishes, protection, love, purification, visions, attracting men, clarity of thought. Has strong antiseptic qualities. Mild infusions (3 tablespoons to 6 cups of water) make a good sedative, headache treatment, and digestive aid. Used in oil or tincture form to heal cuts, burns or scalds,bites. This also acts as a tonic and may be used for colds, chills, and the flu. Lavender is an excellent aromatic, usually mixing well with other floral scents. An ingredient in the Purification bath sachet, also used in purification incense. It is thrown onto the Midsummer fires by Witches as a sacrifice to the ancient gods. Lavender is a frequent addition to healing sachets,especially bath mixtures, and is added to incense to cause sleep. Lavender is a great antibiotic, antidepressant, and sedative. Stimulates the immune system.
Leek – Love, Protection, Exorcism.
Lemon – Purification, love, blessings.Sweetens breath. Antiseptic and antibacterial. For chills and sore throat, the juice of a lemon mixed in a glass of honey and warm water, taken 3 times daily should help. For nose bleeds, apply a small piece of cotton, soaked in lemon juice. In oil form it is used for treating warts, insect bites, tension headaches, eliminates cellulite, and is an anti-wrinkle tonic.. Stimulates the digestive system. Also makes a good skin cleanser, hair rinse for blonds, and cleaning agent for brass and silver.
Lemon Balm – Love potions, aphrodisiacs, fertility anti-depressant. Drink as an infusion to soothe emotional pains after a relationship ends.
Lemongrass – Repel Snakes, Lust, Psychic Powers.
Lemon Verbena – Love charms, youth, beauty and attractiveness to the opposite sex. Wear around your neck or place under a pillow to prevent dreams.
Lettuce – Chastity, Protection, Love, Divination, Sleep.
Licorice – Love, Lust, Fidelity.
Lilac – Protection, warding off evil or banishing rituals, beauty, love, harmony and balance.
Lily – Protection, Breaking Love Spells.
Lily of the Valley – Mental Powers, Happiness.
Lime – Healing, Love, Protection.
Linden – Associated with conjugal love or attraction and longevity.
Liverwort – Protection, Love.
Loosestrife – Peace, Protection.
Lotus – Protection, Lock-Opening.
Lovage – Add the dried and powdered root to cleansing and purification baths to release negativity. Carry to attract love and the attention of the opposite sex.
Kava-Kava – Visions, Protection, Luck.
Knotweed – Binding, Health.
Jasmine – Love, Money, Prophetic Dreams. Used in love spells, charms and sachets. Women have used Jasmine from the earliest recorded history because of its seductive effects on men.
Jobs Tears – Healing, Wishes, Luck.
Joe Pye Weed – Love, Respect.
Juniper – Protection against accidents, harm and theft. The berries are used to attract lovers once dried and worn as a charm.
Indian Paint Brush – Love.
Iris – Purification, Wisdom.
Irish Moss – Money, Luck, Protection.
Ivy – Protection, Healing.
Hawthorn – Fertility, Chastity, Fishing magic, Happiness.
Hazel – Luck, Fertility, Anti-Lightning, Protection, Wishes.
Heather – Also known as heath. Protection, Rain Making, Luck. Robert Graves said heather is “a suitable tree for the initiation of Scottish witches.” Brings one in touch with divinity and increases physical beauty. Wearing an amulet of the wood will bring a long physical life. A valuable herb for those who pursue initiatory paths. Unfolds the inner self. Carried, it will guard against rape or other violent crimes or just to bring good luck. (White heather is best here.) When burned with fern will attract rain.
Heliotrope – Exorcism, Prophetic Dreams, Healing, Wealth, Invisibility.
Hellebore, Black – also known as Melampode *Poison* Protection. Provides an aura or mantle of invisibility. The safest use of this herb is to place pieces of the root or dried berries in an amulet or magic pouch. Used to bless farm animals and pets. Good for working with familiars *Do not breathe the fumes or ingest!
Hemlock – Also known as herb bennet, poison parsley, spotted hemlock, water parsley *Poison* Destroys sexual drive. Induces astral projection. Juice rubbed on magical blades empower and purify them. Used in medieval flying ointments.
Hemp – Healing, Love, Vision, Meditation.
Henbane – Also known as black nightshade, devil’s eye, henbells, poison tobacco, hogsbean *Poison* A love-bringing herb when worn. Traditionally used in ointments and brews. Induces delirium. Used with wisdom, it could be an excellent herb for consecrating ceremonial vessels. Attracts hares, therefore would be an excellent herb for those who raise rabbits.
Henna – Healing. Place on forehead to relieve headache. Attracts love if worn near the heart. Protects from illness and from evil eye. A body adornment. Henna mixed with olive oil, massaged on the penis at the rising and setting suns promotes virility.
Hibiscus – Lust, Love, Divination.
Hickory – Legal Matters.
High John the Conqueror – Money, Love, Success, Happiness.
Holly – Protection, Anti-Lightning, Luck, Dream magic. One of the best protective herbs. The wood of the holly is very well suited for the handle of the ritual knife as it both attracts and repels energies. It is powerful when defense is needed in circle while preserving the gentleness within it. Holly water is sprinkled on newborn babies to protect them. Carried by men, it promotes luck. Decorate the house with it at Yule for good luck. After midnight on a Friday, without making a sound, gather nine holly leaves, preferably from a non-spiny plant (one that has smooth leaves). Wrap these up in a white cloth using nine knots to tie the ends together. Place this beneath your pillow, and your dreams will come true.
Honesty – Money, Repelling Monsters.
Honeysuckle – Also known as goat’s leaf, woodbine. Money, Psychic Powers, Protection. Ring green candles with honeysuckle flowers to attract money or place them in a vase in the house for the same purpose. Lightly crush flowers and rub on forehead to heighten psychic powers. The extracted oil is best for increasing spiritual sight. It enhances the understanding of images and impressions collected in the astral. Connects one with the mysteries of the Cauldron. In ritual, dried, powdered bark may be used as incense.
Hops – Healing, Sleep.
Horehound – Protection, Mental Powers, Exorcism, Healing.
Horse Chestnut – Money, Healing.
Horseradish – Purification, Exorcism.
Horsetail – Snake Charming, Fertility.
Houseleek – Luck, Protection, Love.
Huckleberry – Luck, Protection, Dream magic, Hex Breaking.
Hyacinth – Love, Protection, Happiness.
Hydrangea – Hex Breaking.
Hyssop – Purification, Protection.
Gardenia – Healing, Spirituality. Used to attract true love.
Garlic – Healing, Exorcism, Lust, Anti-Theft. A very protective herb, also used in exorcism.Lowers tension, ease colds, and improve circulation. Garlic vinegar can be used to disinfect wounds and soothe rheumatic pain and any common pain (made from one liter of vinegar and ten cloves of crushed garlic steeped for at least 10 days). Shrinks warts, relieves pain from teeth and earache. Good for high and low blood pressure and removing parasites and infections. To ease the pain of aching joints, a toothache or an earache, place a crushed raw bulb of garlic on a piece of gauze and place over the area of pain. For joints, try using garlic paste.
Gentian – Love, Power.
Geranium – Fertility, Love, Health, Protection.
Ginger – Love, Money, Success, Power. Acts as an aid to ingestion or colds (tea form). Also in tea form, good for cramps, to stimulate the digestive organs, migraines and nausea, external stiffness. Can be added to the bath as a way to ease pain and increase circulation, but only use a few sprinkles, not too much, like cayenne, ginger quickly brings the blood to the surface of the skin. For pain you can also soak cloths in ginger tea and apply them directly to the painful areas. Add in cooking to detoxify meat, especially chicken. A good healing tea is made from a pinch of peppermint, a pinch of ginger and either a pinch of clove powder or 2 bruised cloves, add 1 cup of hot water and steep.
Ginseng – Love, Wishes, Healing, Beauty, Protection, Lust. Stimulant, tonic, and agent for prolonged life. Also a mild pain-killer, and improves blood circulation. Reported to successfully treat asthma, bronchitis, cancer, flatulence, diabetes, weakness, fever, coughs and heartburn, and a mild stimulant. In tea form it helps to relieve stress and moderate heart disease.
Goats Rue – Healing, Health.
Goldenrod – Money, Divination.
Goldenseal – Healing, Money.
Gorse – Protection, Money.
Gourd – Protection.
Grape – Fertility, Garden magic, Mental Powers, Money.
Groundsel – Health, Healing.
Fennel – Purification, protection, healing, money. Sometimes employed as an appetite suppressant and digestive aid. Used in tea form to expel mucus. Chew the seeds slowly for really bad breath, or use the fluid extract to rub on gums.
Fenugreek – Money.
Fern – Rain Making, Protection, Luck, Riches, Health, Exorcism. The Fern is an extremely powerful protective plant. Grow them in and around the house for protection from evil.
Feverfew – Protection.
Fig – Divination, Fertility, Love.
Figwort – Health, Protection.
Flax – Money, Protection, Beauty, Psychic Powers, Healing.
Fleabane – Exorcism, Protection, Chastity.
Foxglove – Also known as deadmen’s bells, dog’s finger, fairy thimbles, fox bells, witches bells, witches thimbles *POISON* Protection. Brings true magic to your garden by attracting faeries and plant devas. Assists in communion with the Underworld. Collect the juice of the herb under a full moon. Mark the very center of your circle with the juice and wait there to see the Fae Realm.
Frankincense – Protection, Exorcism, Spirituality. A very powerful aid to meditation. Use to purify ritual spaces and invoke a spiritual frame of mind.
Ebony – Protection, Power.
Echinacea – Strengthening Spells.
Edelwiess – Invisibility, Physical barriers.
Elder – Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Prosperity, Peace. Branches are widely used for wands. One must always be cautious to ask permission from the Elder Dryad before cutting or harvesting Elder limbs or leaves and berries to avoid very bad luck. It is also considered very bad luck to burn Elder wood. The leaves hung around the doors and windows will ward off evil.
Elecampane – Love, Protection, Psychic Power.Useful in raising spirits and to aid in meditation.
Elm – Love.
Endive – Love, Lust.
Eucalyptus – Healing, Protection. Used in healing rituals, charms and amulets. Place the leaves around a candle and burn for healing energies. Green pods worn around the neck eases the discomfort of colds, sore throats and congestion.
Eyebright – Mental Powers, Psychic Powers. Anoint eyelids with the infusion daily to induce clairvoyant visions and psychic dreams.
Daffodil – Love, Fertility, Luck.
Daisy – Lust, Luck. Decorate the house with daisies at Midsummer’s Eve to bring happiness to the home and to obtain the blessings of faeries. Daisies are also worn at Midsummer for luck and blessings. In the old times, young maidens would weave and wear daisy chains in their hair to attract their beloved.
Damiana – Lust, Love, Visions.
Dandelion – Divination, Wishes, Calling Spirits. The ground root can act as a coffee substitute, and the flowers make a lovely wine. A superb cleansing tonic, and the milky juice is a diuretic, a tonic, and a relief for common stomach problems. Use a handful of flower tops to 1 pint of boiling water, steep 10 minutes and strain. Drink this several times a day. Use the milky latex from the stem , rub on a wart several times daily and soon its gone. Also good for night blindness.
Deerstongue – Lust, Psychic Powers.
Dill – Protection, Money, Lust, Luck. Useful in love charms. May also be hung in children’s rooms to protect them from evil spirits and protect against bad dreams.
Dock – Healing, Fertility, Money.
Dogbane – Use the flowers in magical love mixtures.
Dogwood – Wishes, Protection. Keeps writings and meetings secret, therefore is an excellent herb for the Book of Shadows. An oil of the flowers is priceless in sealing letters and keeping unintended eyes from secret writings. Powdered flowers and dried bark may be used as incense. Place the sap of the dogwood onto a handkerchief on Midsummer Eve. This will grant any wish you have as long as you carry it faithfully. Dogwood leaves or wood can be placed in protective amulets.
Dragon’s Blood – Love, Protection, Exorcism, Potency. Used in homemade magical inks. Burn the resin to entice errant lovers to return. A stick placed under the pillow will cure impotency. A powerful protector when sprinkled around the house or burned as incense. A pinch added to other incense will increase their potency.
Dulse – Lust, Harmony.
Dutchman’s Britches – Love.
Cactus – (all species) Protection, Chastity. Cactus spines are sometimes used in witche’s bottles.
Calamus – Also known as myrtle flag, sweet cane, sedge, sweet flag, sweet grass, sweet sedge *POISON* Luck, Healing, Money, Protection. String beads and wear for healing. Use powdered root in incense and sachets. Used to strengthen and bind spells. Growing the plant brings good luck.
Camellia – Brings riches and luxury. Place fresh blossoms in water on alter during money and prosperity riches.
Camphor – Chastity, Health, Divination. A bag of camphor hung around the neck keeps flu and colds away. Use in divinatory incense.
Caraway – Protection, Lust, Health, Anti-Theft, Mental Powers. Any object which holds some caraway seeds is theft-free. Induces lust when baked into breads, cookies, or cakes. The seeds strengthen the memory.
Cardamom – Lust, Love. Add ground seeds to warmed wine for a quick lust potion. Bake in apple pies and add to sachets and incense to induce love.
Carnation – Also known as jove’s flower, gillies, gilliflower, sops-in-wine. Protection, Strength, Healing. Use in all-purpose protection spells. Gives strength and energy to the sick. Place fresh carnation on the altar during healing spells and add dried flowers to healing sachets and incense.
Carob – Also known as caroba, carobina, carobinha. Protection, Health. Wear or carry.
Carrot – Fertility, Lust. Women should eat the seeds to become pregnant. Eat carrots to promote lust and cure impotence.
Cascara Sagrada – Also known as sacred bark. Legal Matters, Money, Protection. Sprinkle infusion around your home before going to court. It will help you win your case.
Cashew – Money.
Castor – Also known as palma christi, palms christi root *POISON* Protection.
Catnip – Also known as catmint, cat’s wort, field balm, nepeta, nip, catnep. Cat magic, Love, Beauty, Happiness. Give to your cat to create a psychic bond between the two of you. Use in love sachets with rose petals. Attracts good spirits and great luck. Used in beauty and happiness spells. Large pressed leaves are used for bookmarks in magician texts. Mix with dragon’s blood in an incense to rid oneself of bad habits or behavioral problems.
Cattail – Lust. Carry if you don’t like sex, but want to.
Cedar – Healing, Purification, Money, Protection. The smoke is purifying and chases away bad dreams. Keep a piece in the wallet to draw money and in all money incense. Add to love sachets and Burn for psychic powers.
Celandine – Also known as devil’s milk, kenning wort, swallow-wort, tetterwort. Protection, Escape, Happiness, Legal Matters. Aids in escaping unwarranted imprisonment or entrapment. Wear next to the skin and replace every three days. Cures depression, brings happiness when worn. Wear to court to win the favor of the jury.
Celery – Mental Powers, Lust, Psychic Powers. Chew seeds to aid concentration or in dream pillows to induce sleep. Burned with orris root, seeds increase psychic powers. Eat stalk to induce lust.
Centaury – Also known as christ’s ladder, feverwort. Burn to drive off snakes.
Chamomile – Also known as ground apple, roman camomile, maythn, whig plant. Money, Sleep, Love, Purification. Sprinkle around property to remove curses and spells cast against you.
Cherry – Also known as sweet cherry. Love, Divination.
Chestnut – Love.
Chickweed – Also known as adder’s mouth, starweed, starwort, stitchwort, tongue grass. Fertility, Love.
Chicory – Also known as succory, wild cherry, wild succory. Removing Obstacles, Invisibility, Favors, Frugality. Carry to remove all obstacles that might crop up in your life. Rub juice on body to obtain favors from great persons.
Chili Pepper – Also known as red pepper. Fidelity, Hex Breaking, Love.
China Berry *POISON* Carry seeds for luck and to bring change into your life.
Chrysanthemum – Also known as mum. Protection. Promotes mental health. Use in rituals of death and dying.
Cinnamon – Also known as sweet wood. Spirituality, Success, Healing, Power, Psychic Powers, Lust, Protection, Love. Empower with tourmaline. Enhancing skills of prophecy through channeling, working through an oracle, or through divination. When burned as an incense, it raises high spiritual vibrations. Aids in healing. Draws money. Stimulates psychic power and produces protective vibrations. Great in sachets and amulets.
Cinquefoil – Also known as crampweed, five finger blossom, five finger grass, goosegrass, silverweed, potentilla. The five points of the leaves represent love, money, health, power, and wisdom. If carried, all these will be granted. Good for love magic and to promote an abundant harvest. Contains the energy to manifest one’s ideas. An ingredient in mediaeval flying ointments.
Citron – Psychic Powers, Healing.
Clove – Protection, Exorcism, Love, Money. Burn as an incense. Worn or carried, they attract the opposite sex.
Clover – Also known as shamrock, trefoil, three-leaved grass. Protection, Love, Money, Fidelity, Exorcism, Success.
Coconut – Purification, Protection, Chastity.
Coffee – Ritual stimulant.
Cohosh, Black – Also known as black snake root, bugbane, squawroot. Love, Courage, Protection, Potency.
Coltsfoot – Also known as ass’s foot, British tobacco, bull’s foot, butterbur, Coughwort. Use in love sachets and spells of peace and tranquility. Love, Visions.
Columbine – Love, Courage. Rub on hands for courage and daring or carry it. Seeds can be used in love perfume. Pulverize seeds and rub on hands to attract love. Practitioners of animal magic, or those wishing to invoke the protection of a power through the realm of birds may work with this herb.
Comfrey – Also known as boneset, bruisewort, knit back, knit bone, slippery root. Good for any magical healing. Worn or carried, it ensures safety during travel. The root is used in money spells.
Copal – Love, Purification. Added to love and purification incense. A piece of copal can represent the heart in poppets.
Coriander – Also known as Chinese parsley, cilantro. Love, Health, Healing. Used in love sachets and spells. Add the powdered seeds to warm wine to make a lust potion. Protects gardeners and all in their households. Gather at harvest and hang in the home for protection. The seeds promote peace between people who are unable to get along. Use it in drinks or crushed in incense. Helps one find romance. Throw instead of rice at handfastings or add to the handfasting cake.
Corn – Also known as maize. Protection, Luck, Divination. Represents fertility and it teaches the mystery of life, death, and rebirth.
Cornflower – Also known as blue bottle, bluecap, bluet. Patron herb of herbalists. Blue leaves make a lovely ink for Book of Shadows.
Cotton – Luck, Healing, Protection, Rain, Fishing magic. Place cotton on an aching tooth to take away pain. Planted or scattered in yard, it keeps ghosts away. Burning cotton causes rain.
Cowslip – Also known as arthritica, fairy cup, lady’s key, buckles. Healing, Youth, Treasure Finding. Place it beneath the front porch to discourage visitors. Preserves youth, and restores it when lost. The odor is healing, and holding a bunch will locate hidden treasure.
Crocus – Burn in a censor with alum to see a vision of the thief who robbed you. Love, Visions.
Cucumber – Also known as cowcucumber. Chastity, Healing, Fertility. Cooling and soothing to the psyche. Slices laid on eyes assists astral travel. Fruit hinders lust. Peel on head relieves pain of headache.
Cumin – Also known as cumino, cumino aigro. Protection, Fidelity, Exorcism, Anti-theft. Burned with frankincense for protection and scattered on the floor (sometimes with salt) to drive out evil. Used in love spells. When given to a lover, promotes fidelity. Cumin seed steeped in wine makes a lust potion.
Curry – Protection. Burn the specific plant, not the mixture of spices, to repel evil at night.
Cyclamen – Also known as groundbread, sow bread, swine bread. Fertility, Protection, Happiness, Lust. Add to handfasting or wedding cake.
Cypress – Also known as Tree of Death. Longevity, Healing, Comfort, Protection. Wear at time of crisis. Taken to funerals, eases grief and calms the mind. Throw a sprig of cypress into a grave to give the deceased luck and love in the hereafter.
Bachelor’s Buttons – Also known as devil’s flower, red campion. Love. Women wear this flower on their breast to attract love.
Balm, Lemon – Also known as bee balm, lemon basalm, Melissa, sweet balm, sweet Melissa. Love. Success. Healing, especially for those with mental or nervous disorders. Use in love charms and spells to attract a partner. Gives energy to make one more desirable to the opposite sex.
Balm of Gilead – Also known as balsam tree. Love, Manifestations, Protection, Healing. Carry the buds to mend a broken heart. Also steep them in red wine for a love potion. One of the best forms of magical oils to be used to dress candles in magical healing.
Bamboo – Protection, Luck, Hex-Breaking, Wishes. Excellent for magic wands. Crush the wood to a powder and burn for protection or grow by the house for good fortune.
Banana – Fertility. Cures impotency. Use leaves, flowers, and fruits in prosperity and money spells.
Banyan – Also known as Indian fig tree, vada tree. Luck.
Barley – Love, Healing, Protection. Use the grain or barley water in love spells.
Basil – Also known as Witches herb, American dittany, St. Joseph’s herb. Love, Exorcism, Wealth, Flying, Protection. Causes sympathy between two people and soothes tempers between lovers. Add to love sachets and incense. Place on doorsill of business to attract customers. Use when invoking fire elementals or communing with dragons. Also used for courage.
Bay – Also known as bay laurel, laurel, sweet bay. Protection, Psychic Powers, Healing, Purification, Strength. Used in clairvoyance and wisdom brews. Place leaves under pillow for prophetic dreams. Burn to cause vision. Attracts love and romance. Use to consecrate musical instruments. Bay leaves impart strength to athletes. Write wishes on bay leaves and burn.
Bean – Protection, Exorcism, Wart Charming, Reconciliations, Potency, Love. Used in rattles, they scare away bad spirits. Rub a dried bean on warts during the waning Moon. As you do so, say “As this bean decays, So wort, fall away!”
Bedstraw – Worn or carried to attract love.
Beech – Wishes.
Beet – Love. Use as an ink in love magic, also as a blood substitute.
Belladonna – Also known as banewort, witches berry, sorcerer’s berry, deadly nightshade, death’s herb, devil’s cherries *Poison* Highly toxic. All parts of the plant are extremely poisonous. Encourages astral projection and produces visions, but belladonna is best avoided. A primary ingredient in flying ointments. Used in funeral rituals to purify the circle, helping the deceased to let go and move forward. Gather berries when they are ripe (around Samhain.) Store with onyx. As every part of the plant is extremely poisonous, neither leaves, berries, nor root should be handled if there are any cuts or abrasions on the hands. The root is the most poisonous, the leaves and flowers less so. Though so powerful in its action on the human body, the plant seems to affect some of the lower animals but little. Rabbits, sheep, goats and swine eat the leaves with impunity, and birds often eat the seeds without any apparent effect, but cats and dogs are very susceptible to the poison. — Grieve’s Modern Herbal (4)
Benzoin – Purification, Prosperity. Provides focus. Enhances concentration. Useful in astral travel (protects spirit while travelling). Promotes generosity. Brings increased success to any magical working or to attain magical goals. Used as a base for incense. Make an incense of benzoin, cinnamon, and basil to attract customers to your place of business.
Bergamot, Orange – Also known as orange mint, bergamot. Money. Put leaves in wallet or purse to attract money. Rub fresh leaves on money before spending.
Be-Still – Also known as trumpet flower, yellow oleander *POISON* Wear beans as a talisman to attract luck.
Betony, Wood – Also known as bishopwort, lousewort, purple betony. Protection, Purification, Love. Placed under the pillow, it shields the sleeper from dreams. Throw in the Midsummer fire and jump through the smoke to purify the body. Very powerful in its ability to protect against dark and evil energy.
Birch – Protection, Exorcism, Purification. The traditional broom of the witch is made from birch twigs.
Bistort – Also known as dragonwort, snakeweed, sweet dock. Psychic Powers, Fertility. Carry bistort if you wish to conceive. Burn with frankincense to increase psychic powers or when using divination. Add to money and wealth incense.
Bittersweet – Protection, Healing.
Blackberry- Healing, Money, Protection. Bake blackberry pies at Lammas. Use leaves and berries in spells of wealth. Dry fruit and powder it for use in magical healing potions. Weave pentagrams from the brambles to hang in the home for protection.
Bladderwrack – Also known as kelp, sea spirit, seawrack. Protection, Sea Spells, Wind Spells, Money, Psychic Powers. Fill a small jar with whiskey, add kelp and cap tightly. Place in kitchen window to ensure a steady flow of money in the household.
Bleeding Heart – Love. When grown, the plant brings love. Lore: crush the flower. If the juice is red, your love has a heart full of love for you. If it is white, he or she does not.
Bloodroot – Also known as king root, red root *POISON* Love, Protection, Purification. Wear or carry the root to draw love and to avert evil spells and evil.
Bluebell – Also known as harebell. Luck, Truth. Anyone who wears a bluebell is compelled to tell the truth in all matters. Plant on graves. Comforts those left behind.
Blueberry – Also known as bilberry. Protection. Keeping blueberries under the doormat will keep away undesirables. Eat blueberry pie when under attack. This gets the protection inside you and increases the herb’s protectiveness.
Blue Flag – Also known as iris, liver lily, poison lily, flag lily, fleur-de-lys *POISON* Money. Carry the root for financial gain. Place in a business to increase income.
Bodhi – Also known as bo-tree, peepul tree, pipul. Fertility, Protection, Wisdom, Meditation.
Boneset – Also known as Indian sage, feverwort, sweating plant, teasel, wood boneset. Protection. Exorcism.
Borage – Courage. Drink a tea for psychic powers. No matter how difficult the times, borage will always lift spirits.
Bracken – Healing, Rain magic, Prophetic Dreams. If bracken is burned outside, rain will fall. Place the root under the pillow and solutions to problems will appear in dreams. Also used for fertility and protection.
Brazil Nut – Carry as a talisman for love.
Briony – Also known as wild hops, wild vine, wood vine, gout root, mad root, snake grape. Image Magic, Money, Protection.Often used as a substitute for the rare mandrake root in poppet magic. Money placed near briony root will increase, as long as it is left there. Hang in houses to protect against bad weather.
Bromeliad – Also known as chameleon star, Earth star. Protection, Money. Grow in the home for protection, money, and luxuries.
Broom – Also known as besom, basam, broom tops, Irish broom, Scotch broom *POISON* Purification, Protection, Wind Spells, Divination. Makes an excellent ritual or handfasting broom. Use to create sacred space. Blooms bring good fortune and plenty. To raise the winds, throw broom into the air while invoking the spirits of the Air. To calm the winds, burn broom and bury the ashes. An infusion sprinkled throughout the house Used to exorcise poltergeists.
Buchu – Also known as buku, oval buchu, short buchu. Psychic Powers, Prophetic Dreams. Drink to foretell the future. Mix with frankincense and burn before sleep for prophetic dreams (only a small amount in the bedroom).
Buckthorn – Protection, Exorcism, Wishes, Legal Matters.
Buckwheat – Also known as beechwheat, French wheat, Saracen corn. Money, Protection. Form magic circles with the flour for protection. Add a few grains to money incense and keep in the kitchen to guard against poverty.
Burdock – Also known as beggar’s buttons, cockleburr, great burdock. Protection, Healing.
Acacia – Also called gum arabic. Protection, Psychic Powers. Burn with sandalwood to open psychic centers. Parts used: dried gum, leaves, wood.
Aconite – Also called wolfsbane, monkshood, blue rocket *POISON* Don’t ingest. Protection, Invisibility. Use this herb with great caution to consecrate the athame or ritual knife. Make an infusion with the leaves or root to banish prior energy from magical blades and to infuse it with protection. The root or leaves may be burned as incense for the same purpose. Gather the fresh flowers to make a tincture to refresh the power of the knives. Use an infusion as a magical wash for ritual tools or sacred space. Brings protection and magical watchfulness against negative energies in ritual. Wash a new cauldron in the infusion or burn aconite in its first fire. Used to invoke Cailleach. Wrap the seed in a lizard skin and carry to become invisible at will. Used to poison arrow tips in early times. Also as protection from and a cure for werewolves.
Agaric – Also called redcap, death angel, death cap. Fertility.
Agrimony – Also called Church steeples, cocklebur, stickwort, sticklewort. Protection, Sleep. Agrimony is best known for its sleep-inducing qualities, therefore it is excellent in dream pillows, especially mixed with mugwort. Enhances magical healing. A wash or oil increases effectiveness of all forms of ritual healing, psychic healing, or distance healing. Anoint hands with oil to cleanse auras. Creates a barrier against negative energies. Use if you feel to be under psychic attack. A counter-magic herb, it not only breaks hexes, but sends them back to the hexer.
Alfalfa – Prosperity, Anti-hunger, Money. Brings in money and protects against financial misfortune. Harvest a small quantity at the full moon. Dry and burn in the cauldron. Place ashes in a magical amulet.
Allspice – Money, Luck, Healing.
Almond – Money, Prosperity, Wisdom. Use oil, wash, or incense to anoint magical wands or ritual candlesticks. (Almond wood makes excellent wands, especially for use in love magic). Excellent herbs for handfastings or other rituals of union. Also good for overcoming alcohol dependency. Almonds, leaves, and wood may be used in money magic. Placing almonds in your pocket will lead you to treasures.
Aloe – Also known as burn plant, medicine plant. Protection, Luck. Guards against evil influences and prevents household accidents. Plant aloe on the graves of loved ones to promote a peaceful existence until the deceased is reborn. Use for success in the world. Prevents feelings of loneliness.
Aloes, Wood – Also known as Lignum Aloes. Love, Spirituality.
Althea – Also known as marshmallow, sweet weed, wymote. Protection, Psychic Powers. Burn as incense or carry as a sachet for a good psychic power stimulator. A good “spirit puller.” It draws spirits into workings and rituals when placed on the altar. An aphrodisiac — make an oil from seeds gathered under the full moon to use on the genitals. An amulet made of the leaf or root worn near the genitals will accomplish the same ends.
Alyssum – Also known as Alison, Madwort. Protection, Moderating Anger.
Amaranth – Also known as Love-lies-bleeding, red cockscomb, velvet flower. Healing, Protection, Invisibility. Used in pagan burial rituals. Mends a broken heart.
Anemone – Also known as Meadow Anemone, Wind Flower, Pasque Flower. Health, Protection, Healing. Use the blossoms in all healing rituals. Grow red anemones in the garden to protect the garden and the home. Wrap flowers in a red cloth and wear or carry to prevent disease.
Anemone (Wood) – Also known as crowfoot, windflower. Healing.Used to invoke elemental air. Maturing flower is ideal nesting place for faeries. A charm against fevers. Use during rituals of death and dying.
Angelica – Also known as archangel, masterwort. Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Visions. Use in all protection and exorcism incense. Angelica protects in two ways: it creates a barrier against negative energy and fills you with good, radiant energy. Removes curses, hexes, or spells that have been cast against you. Enhances the aura. Gives a joyful outlook on life. Angelica nutritionally supports the digestive and respiratory systems.
Anise Seed – Also known as aniseed, anneys. Protection. Purification. Youth. Deals with inner, personal issues related to lack of fulfillment. Helps one to become more open to happiness and enjoy company of others. Put in dream pillows to protect from nightmares. Brings protection when traveling in the astral. Include anise in handfasting and wedding cakes.
Anise, Star – Also known as Chinese anise. Use to consecrate ritual cups and chalices. Powdered stars may be used as incense to invoke your Deities or banish negative energy. Used in death and dying rituals. Anise seeds act to remove excess mucus in the gastrointestinal area.
Apple – Also known as Silver bough, silver branch, tree of love. Love, Healing, Garden magic, Immortality. Use apple branches to make wands ideally suited for emotional and love magic. The apple branch will gain one admittance to the faery underworld. For healing, cut an apple into three pieces, rub on the afflicted part of the body, and bury outside. Do this during the waning moon to banish illness. Apples can be used for poppets or the apple wood carved into a poppet. Powder dried seeds and bark to burn as incense. (Caution: more than a few apple seeds can be poisonous). Apples are associated with the dead and Samhain, which is often called the Feast of Apples.
Apricot – Love. Use juice in love spells or potions. Eat fruit to obtain a sweet disposition. Leaves and flowers can be added to love sachets and the pits carried to attract love.
Arabic Gum – Also known as Arabic, Egyptian gum, Indian gum. Purifies evil. Add to incense for good vibrations. See Acacia.
Arbutus – Exorcism, Protection. Protects little children.
Arrow Root – Increases one’s good fortune and makes opportunity more visible on the horizon.
Asafoetida – Also known as Devil’s dung, food of the gods. Exorcism, Purification, Protection. Horrid odor. Use with caution. Used by those seeking the mysteries of the Horned God. Helps us break free of our evil desires. Increases the power of any ritual.
Ash – Also known as Nion. Protection, Prosperity, Sea Rituals, Health. An ash staff wards off evil. Healing wands should be made of ash wood. Carve poppets from the roots of the ash tree. Burning ash at Yule brings prosperity. Carry the leaves to gain love.
Aspen – Eloquence, Anti-Theft.
Aster – Also known as China Aster, Michaelmas Daisy, Starwort. Use in love sachets, or carry the bloom to win love. Grow in the garden with a wish for love.
Avens – Also known as bennet, blessed herb, clove root, golden star, harefoot. Exorcism, Purification, Love. Brings protection to the home, kindred, and self. A whole root is needed for an amulet. Burn ground or cut root to promote blessings and keep out negativity.
Avocado – Also known as alligator pear. Love, Beauty, Lust. Grow a plant from the pit of an avocado to bring love into it. Wands made from avocado wood make potent all-purpose instruments.
Many herbal remedies are applied directly to the skin as poultices, usually on rashes and wounds and as topical pain-relieving remedies. Poultices are prepared in various ways… from chewing up fresh leaves or roots and spitting them out onto the skin, to mashing up fresh leaves or roots by hand or with a mortar and pestle. Sometimes just enough hot water is poured over dried or fresh plant material to soften them. The wet herbs are placed directly on the skin or between two pieces of cloth and laid on the skin.
Compresses are simply soaking a cloth in a prepared infusion, tincture or decoction and laying the cloth onto the affected part of the body/skin.
Salves and ointments are rubbed directly into the skin and are created by warming herbs in a semi-solid mix of fatty ingredients such as oils and waxes, usually with no water part at all, though they may contain a small amount of herbal tincture. Animal lards are by far one of the best base ingredients. Beeswax is also an excellent base, but will require additional oils. Petroleum jellies are passable, but fewer oils are used.
As making salves involves some degree of heat it’s best to use oils that are fairly heat stable, the main ones to avoid are oils like flax seed, evening primrose, and borage. If you want to include these then stir them in after the other ingredients have been melted and are beginning to cool. Coconut oil is the most heat stable vegetable oil but as you will not be heating it very high, oils like olive, sunflower, and apricot kernel can be used. Beeswax comes in two varieties, white and yellow. The white is bleached and processed. Candelilla wax is derived from the leaves of a shrub native to Mexico and is slightly harder than beeswax so you generally want to use a fraction less in a recipe. Carnuba is a similar product derived from a Brazilian Palm.
Weigh or measure out the wax (preferably grated or cut into small pieces) and the herbal infused oil and place in a double boiler. 5 parts wax to 1 part oil. Heat over a low heat until the wax is fully melted and then stir well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly but not set. You can test the consistency of the salve by dipping the tip of a teaspoon into it. A small amount will set quickly and will show you how the finished product will be. If you are not happy you can return it to the heat and add a fraction more oil/wax until you get it just right. While the salve is still liquid, stir in tinctures if required, pour into glass jars and cap immediately to stop the volatile oils from evaporating. Allow to cool and set completely before using.
This method of preparation is certainly the easiest. The fresh or dried plant material is simply covered in cool water and soaked overnight. The herb is strained out and the liquid is taken.
Normally this is used for very tender plants and/or fresh plants, or those with delicate chemicals that might be harmed by heating or which might be degraded in strong alcohol.
A tincture is an alcohol and water extract which is used when plants have active chemicals that are not very soluble in water, and/or when a larger quantity is prepared for convenience and wanted for longer term storage. Many properly prepared plant tinctures can last several years or more without losing potency. The percentage of alcohol usually helps determine its shelf-life: the more alcohol used, the longer the shelf life.
To prepare a tincture with a shelf-life of at least one year, plan on using a minimum of 40% alcohol. Use a clean glass bottle or jar with tight fitting lid or cork. Use a dark colored bottle or plan on storing the bottle out of the sunlight. When working with dried plants, use two ounces of plant material (cut or powder) for every 8 ounces (1 cup) of liquid. Seal the container and store at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Shake the bottle/jar at least once daily while allowing it to soak for at least two weeks (larger woody cut herb pieces may need to soak for 4 weeks). At the end of two weeks, filter the tincture through a strainer to remove the plant parts (pressing hard on the plant material to get as much liquid out as possible) and pour into a fresh clean glass container and seal.
Since this method uses a higher ratio of plant to liquid and helps concentrate the chemicals through the use of alcohol, dosages needed for tinctures are usually much less than infusions and decoctions. Average dosages for tinctures are about 1-2 milliliters (about 30 to 60 drops) two to three times daily. The tincture can be placed directly in the mouth for immediate absorption, or placed in a small amount of water or juice.
Decoctions are usually the method of choice when working with tougher and more fibrous plants, barks and roots. Instead of just steeping it in hot water, the plant material is boiled for a longer period of time to soften the harder woody material and release its active ingredients.
To prepare a decoction, select a ceramic pot with a snug fitting lid. Measure the amount of herb needed (usually the same ratio of 1 teaspoon powdered herb or 2 teaspoons of cut herb per 8 ounces of water) into the pot and add the proper amount of cold water depending on how many cups of the decoction you wish to prepare. Turn on the heat to medium high and bring to a rolling boil. Place the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so that the mixture stays at a good simmer. Simmer it covered for 20 minutes. If you can see steam escaping or smell the aroma of the herb, your lid is not tight enough and valuable essential oils are escaping. After 20 minutes, remove from heat and cool slightly.
If using cut herbs, strain the mixture through a strainer into a cup. When straining, make sure to press on the cut herb pieces in the strainer to get as much liquid/decoction out of the herb pieces as possible. If using powdered herb, allow the powder to settle to the bottom of the pot and then pour off the decoction from the top into a cup (any sediment missed will settle to the bottom of the cup). Standard dosages for decoction are generally one-half to one cup, two or three times daily. The entire day’s dosage can be prepared in the morning (2-3 cups at one time), and the remainder refrigerated until ready to use later in the day.
Stronger decoctions, depending on the type of plant material used, are prepared in two general ways. The first involves boiling the mixture longer. This is usually indicated when working with larger woody pieces of bark. Longer boiling time, up to 2 hours or more, is sometimes necessary to break down, soften, and extract the larger pieces. Alternatively, when smaller woody pieces are used yet a stronger remedy is wanted, the decoction is prepared as above (boiling 20 minutes), then it is allowed to sit/soak overnight before straining out the herb. When straining, again, make sure to press on the cut herb pieces in the strainer to get as much moisture/decoction out of the herb pieces.
Infusions are typically used for delicate herbs, leaves and fresh tender plants. Preparing an infusion is much like making a cup of tea. Water is brought just to a boil and then poured over an herb (or combination of herbs), it is covered and allowed to steep for 10-15 minutes. It can be prepared in the drinking cup or by dropping the herb into the pot which the water was heated in. Stirring it a few times while steeping (especially with cut herbs) is helpful. Keeping the infusion covered while steeping is generally recommended as well.
The ratio of herb to water can vary depending on the remedy, the plant, and whether cut herb or powdered herb is used. Generally using 1 teaspoon of powdered herb or 2 teaspoons of more bulky cut herb in a 6-8 ounce cup of water is sufficient. If using a powdered herb; stir once halfway through the seeping time and let the powder settle to the bottom of the cup, then drink the infusion off the top, leaving the sediment in the bottom of the cup. If using a cut herb, strain the infusion after seeping.
Infusions are best prepared as needed and taken the same day it was prepared. They can be taken hot, warm, or cold. Standard dosages of infusions are generally one teacup (6-8 ounces), two or three times daily. The entire day’s dosage can be prepared in the morning (2-3 cups at one time), and the remainder refrigerated until ready to use. The exceptions are the more aromatic plants with active essential oils. These are best prepared in single dosages (by the cupful) as needed and taken immediately while still hot/warm.
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