Plant Spirit Medicine

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Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »

My plan was to start in the new year and post an herb a week with a variety of sources and personal knowledge about each plant. But I ran across this one on Mugwort and it was so good that I am posting the article in its entirety. I have been using herbs in a variety of ways for 40 years. They are our friends and allies. Feel free to add any stories or information you may have as we go along. I haven't actually used mugwort except for using it along with a number of other herbs when making an herbal dream pillow many years ago so much of the information in this article is actually new to me too.

The Magic of Mugwort
November 20, 2016" onclick=";return false;


"Mugwort opens up chambers of ancient memory within the brain, bringing to one's dream life stirring visions of past and future that overflow with magical imagery. The symbols that dance through your mugwort-touched dreams pull out the cobwebs of our forgetfulness and assist us in remembering old, unwritten ways of healing and living that attend to the needs of spirit and soul."

There is so much one could say about mugwort, and about all of the Artemesias. I will focus here on mugwort's ability to initiate folks onto the path of healing with earth medicine, her affinity with a woman's wombspace, and a sweet but little-known property that I recently experienced. For more on her role in dreaming, protection, and ritual work, please see every other article ever written about her (or the book quoted here throughout!).

In my favorite herb book Herbal Rituals, author Judith Berger assigns one or two plants to each month of the year. There are twelve chapters, one for each month, beginning in November.

In the old European calendar, the year started at Samhain; November started the year anew. The darkness was the beginning and gave birth, months later, to the light.

It was an auspicious beginning, for November is a month of magic, of dreams and imagination and ancestral remembrance.

It is no wonder then that Judith chose mugwort as November's herb. Ever since I first read the book about 10 years ago this month and this plant have been inextricably intertwined in my mind, and the understanding of the energies and properties of one has helped me to understand the energies and properties of the other.

Going back to that opening quote- I don't know about you, but "remembering old, unwritten ways of healing and living that attend to the needs of spirit and soul" is one of the driving forces underlying my life. It is a deep craving, a way of feeling whole in a fractured and seemingly ever-fracturing world. It's homing in on your soul's North Star.

I love that Judith used the word "unwritten". She is talking about a knowing beyond knowing, ancient and ineffable. Such knowing, and the states of mind needed to access it, are not valued or practiced much in today's society. It's an invisible knowing, outside the realm of ordinary consciousness and of what we deem possible. Many people do not know that it exists, and most of us are brought up to not even entertain the possibility.

But those of us attracted to the healing powers of herbs start to scent its existence as we begin more and more to get to know the medicine plants of the earth. And this is why mugwort is so beloved by herbalists- she is a door opener, a wayfinder, a welcoming bridge to the realms of consciousness needed to cultivate a deeper relationship with the natural world.

Mugwort is a witch's herb, a stirrer of visions and an opener of portals. She heightens our extrasensory perception while simultaneously dropping us deep into our center. It's just where we want to be.

"Known to many as an herb of magic, mugwort allows us to live in several worlds at once, expanding and nourishing the habit of drawing our gaze before us to that which is visible, and behind us to that which is invisible."

Mugwort is a gateway herb. This makes her an ideal ally for those just beginning to walk the herbalist's path. This is why I incorporate mugwort into all of my classes and into most of my body oil blends- by opening the doors of perception, she allows both beginning and experienced herbalists to shift into a new way of perceiving the world and, therefore, a new way of engaging with plants and with the healing process.

But it's not all psychic/spiritual/mental/emotional healing with mugwort; she is a potent healer of the physical as well. You can learn this for yourself instantaneously by placing a leaf in your mouth.

That strong, bitter taste tells you that there is some serious medicine going on here! Aside from the digestive aid given by all bitter herbs, I am now going to focus on mugwort's affinity with a woman's wombspace (again, you can read Judith's book or any number of other sources to learn about the many, many other medicinal uses of this powerful plant).

Judith writes that she likes to keep mugwort oil "on hand for rubbing into the skin of any woman whose pelvic area is distressed due to any reproductive challenge."

I think we could remove those last five words- mugwort will help heal the pelvic area whether or not the issue is reproductive in nature.

If you are in my social media sphere, you may have read about the fall I took last month off a retaining wall with my five-week-old baby strapped onto me. In those endless few seconds, as we were falling, I twisted my body in such a way that Nixie was totally protected and I landed flat on my back, with my lower back and pelvic area absorbing the brunt of the impact.

Overwhelming pain echoed throughout my body. I could hardly think. And I could not move at all. If Owen hadn't been home I would've laid there immobile with a screaming baby on my chest for hours.

The EMTs and hospital staff had to move my body for me over the next few hours. I knew the X-rays would be fine, and they were. This wasn't skeletal. It was everything else. All of the other tissues in my pelvic area, still recovering and tender from giving birth, had been re-traumatized.

For weeks I hurt, and struggled to take care of my baby when I could hardly walk or turn over in bed on my own. I couldn't carry her at all.

And along with the physical trauma, and stronger and much more difficult for me to deal with, was the spiritual and emotional trauma. When my now ten-year-old was three we were in a bad car accident, and last year my mom died in a car accident. I have experienced trauma. And this was worse.

I didn't have time to anticipate my car accident, and when I woke up upside down in our truck Mycelia was saying "Mommy I'm hurt" from the backseat in a calm voice, so I knew she was alive and okay (I blogged about that experience here).

I'd always feared that my mom would die in a car accident coming home from work, so there was a strange and immediate acceptance when I got the news (you can read more about that moment here). She was also such a loving and warm person that I felt totally suffused with her love even in the depths of my grief, and it's helped me get through it.

But with this fall, it was wholly unexpected AND I knew it was happening. When it comes to accidents, whether or not the person knows it's happening and has time to feel fear plays a major role in later trauma.

The few seconds between the moment I realized we were falling and the moment of impact lasted forever, and I was terrified I'd hurt my baby. To follow that level of fear immediately with the level of pain ensured that trauma would settle in deeply, and it did.

I had two bodyworkers tell me in the week afterward that they felt like my spirit had left my body. This, the third healer I saw pointed out, is basically what trauma is.

And I sure felt it. I felt broken at my core, in more ways than one.

One evening soon after the fall Owen was showing me some mugwort seeds he'd harvested (we've always wildcrafted the plants we use in our oils- see photo below- but are wanting to move more toward cultivation or order to help curb the rampant over-harvesting of wild medicinal herbs).

I put the seeds in my mouth. One of the surest ways to get to know an herb is to place it on your tongue. Knowing the taste and smell of a plant brings you immediately into intimacy with it, and a primal knowing is awakened and recorded within your cells. And since I fell in love with mugwort so early on my own herbalism path, I have spent many an hour with a leaf in my mouth. But I'd never tasted the seeds!

They tasted just the same as the leaves and the familiar flavor was immediately comforting. But it was more than comforting, I knew right away that mugwort would heal me.

Through the interaction of her medicine on my tastebuds, it was like she was saying to me "I am exactly what you need right now. Use me."

So I did. I asked Owen to put some seeds and leaves in a tiny bowl "like a candy dish" to leave out. He did, and I ate some every day. I also made mugwort infusions to both drink and put in the bath, and I rubbed fresh mugwort-infused oil onto my lower back, lower belly, and pelvic area daily.

"Like the knowing hands of the wise woman, mugwort oil seeps deeply into muscles and joints, permeating the cells with sensation and relief."

I was taught the same thing in my first herbal apprenticeship- that mugwort gets into the deepest tissues of the body. Combined with any other herbal oil, it will bring that oil's medicine to depths within the body that it wouldn't get to otherwise.

Added to St. John's Wort oil, writes Judith, mugwort helps it to "travel deeply to the root of pain in muscular tissue or joint capsules." Mugwort is like the herbal guide to the underworld.

(This is why I just sent four bottles of St. John's Wort + Mugwort oil off to Standing Rock- to deeply warm and bring pain relief to the water protectors who are exposing themselves to cold and physical hardship everyday in order to defend what is sacred and what is necessary.)

Judith also writes that "Mugwort makes a potent, deep green belly oil which can be rubbed externally over the womb and ovaries to relieve cramps and help dissolve cysts" and reminds us that famed 16th century herbalist Culpeper called it a "speedy and certain help for sciatica."

As you might imagine, after reading all of this, the mugwort DID heal my injury. And did so much more quickly than I'd expected. I was thinking I still had months of pain ahead of me, but I was better within a week.

I used the plant in all the ways I described above, but it was getting a moxabustion treatment with mugwort that seemed to be the definitive turning point in my healing.

Not only did the pain completely disappear, but I also felt whole again. I returned to myself.

I'd like to mention one other, seldom mentioned, use for mugwort. I'm posting this blog about a week before the one year anniversary of my mom's accident. We're headed into the darkest time of year too. I always struggle with the few weeks before the winter solstice, and feel like it's just a vortex of darkness and depression that I can't snap out of. And now, added to that, each year that tiny, endless epoch will be kicked off by the anniversary of my mama's death.

I tend to be the one in my family to hold it together. Someone has to do it. So when I re-read the mugwort chapter in Herbal Rituals recently, which I've done a thousand times, this passage jumped out at me for the first time:

"Mugwort is a wonderful ally for those who feel themselves to be too restrained; coming to know this plant inevitably causes unpredictable behavior that heals rather than hurts, coaxing our bodies and attitudes out of stagnation, helping us remember merriment of spirit."

I hope to feel some merriment of spirit during the coming dark season, and plan to continue to use mugwort daily, especially the oil in combination with other oils. I think this aspect of her healing had a hand in calling my spirit back in last month, and I know it will do so again if needed.

I encourage everyone on the herbal path to invite mugwort in too. I feel pretty confident saying that, if you start to work with her, in time you'll have your own magical healing stories to share.

I also highly highly recommend reading Herbal Rituals. It's written so beautifully; it utterly transports me. Like mugwort, this book is an initiator. The book is rare; I believe it only underwent one printing, and therefore has become pricey. (I was lucky enough to stumble upon it in a used book store years ago. I'd never heard of it but was immediately in love with the cover. This was before the supply outran the demand too so I only paid $10!). BUT Judith has worked to make it available as an ebook!

Be well friends. Use mugwort (I always have at least one medicine containing mugwort available here). The world needs your magic, centeredness, and merriment now more than ever.
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....

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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »

Burdock is one of my favorite herbs, although many think of it as a weed. I have several good books I use as reference but unfortunately I loaned one out and the other is in storage. I have actually dug up the plant, dried the roots, and made a tincture using vegetable glycerine and got the recipe from Dr. Edward Shook's Advanced Treatise in Herbology (the one I loaned out) and gave it to my son many years ago for a skin rash that absolutely would not go away. It did seem to be effective. The only drawback, really, is that both the tincture and the tea tastes pretty much like dirt, which can be difficult for some people to handle (my husband is one of those, LOL). Me, I don't mind that earthy taste. It's better than Valerian, which tastes and smells like really dirty socks (we'll get to that one later).

It is interesting as I was researching the Internet for more information about it's uses and known history etc., I found that some said not much was known or written about it, and yet, in others it states that it has been used for thousands of years in the orient. I tend to agree with that, and for some reason western writers often acted/act like they were/are the only ones on the planet. And Burdock is also one of the herbs used in the ESSIAC formula used successfully for cancer." onclick=";return false;

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As children in Essex we threw the burrs of burdock on to the backs of unsuspecting friends – if they stuck you had a sweetheart; if they fell off after a short while their affection would not be reciprocated. I lived in the then countryside of Chigwell/Hainault area, but my children played the same game 20 years later at Witham, Essex [Yafforth, North Yorkshire, January 1990].

Burdock burrs are an essential decoration of the costume of the Burry Man who appears at South Queensferry, West Lothian, on the second Friday in August each year, when he ‘perambulates the town visiting the houses and receiving cheerful greeting and gifts of money from householders’ [2].

Burrs are collected in sacks the week before, dried and cleaned then assembled into square or rectangular patches each comprising around 500 burrs. On the Bury Man’s Day, he starts dressing at 7 a.m., first putting on a set of long underwear and hood, then standing patiently while the patches are pressed on and individual burrs are carefully placed in sensitive areas, such as the oxters (armpits) and crotch. It takes two hours until all the burrs, plus flowers at the shoulders, hips and knees and a flowery hat are in place. Two men support the Burry Man, who walks slowly and stiffly around the town from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., able to see a little through peepholes in his face mask and drink through a straw, neat whisky being his traditional tipple [3].

Gypsies used burdock to prevent or cure rheumatism:
Infusion of leaves or flowers, or better still of crushed seeds, relieves and will cure rheumatism … Some gypsies carry the seeds in a little bag slung round the neck as a preventative of rheumatism [4]

There are rare records of burdock being eaten as a vegetable:
I had a great-aunt who had done this in c.1895-1910 in the Chesham area of Buckinghamshire. I have recollections of reading that burdock ‘greens’, which were unpleasantly glutinous, were one of the disadvantages of life in the workhouse [Union Mills, Isle of Man, February 1995].

Burdock ... hp?state=1" onclick=";return false;

Latin: Arctium lappa
Also Known As: Lappa, Fox's Clote, Thorny Burr, Beggar's Buttons, Cockle Buttons, Love Leaves, Philanthropium, Personata, Happy Major, Clot-Bur, Bardana, Burrseed, Cockleburr, Great Burdock, Hardock, Hurrburr, Sweethearts, Cuckoo Button, Bardona, Grass burdock, Hareburr, Cuckold Buttons, Donkeys, Eddick, Flapper-bags, Gypsy Comb, Kisses, Loppy major, Pig's rhubarb, Sticky Jacks, Touch-me-not, Tuzzy-muzzy, wild rhubarb, Burr-top

Family: Asteraceae

Habitat and Description: Burdock is a tall, stately biennial growing to approximately 1.5 metres tall, with large, ovate, ruffle edged leaves that taper to a point, and a tall central stem bearing lots of small bristly seed heads, after tufted purple flowers. The seeds tend to stick to anything that brushes past them, hence many of the folk names for the plant. The root is harvested in the first autumn or second spring (when the tonic effect is apparently more pronounced), and takes a great deal of digging to unearth as it burrows extremely deep. Seriously – prepare for several hours work if you want to unearth one. The leaves have a pleasant aromatic scent, with dark green upper leaves and paler silvery grey undersides. The young plant grows close to the ground, around a basal rosette of leaves. The young leaves are roughly heart shaped.. The roots, once unearthed, are gnarly on the outside with a lovely creamy coloured, juicy centre, and can grow up to a metre deep – its difficult to dig the whole thing up, and even the smallest piece of root left in the ground provides enough for the plant to grow back from. It might be worth attempting to carve one at some point to see if they hold a shape well enough to carve amulets from.

Parts Used: Root, seeds, herb

Constituents: Burdock contains a considerable list of known constituents, including lignans such as arctigenin and its glycoside; polyacetylenes in the root, sesquiterpenes in the leaves, up to 50% inulin in the roots (although I seem to recall reading that this is only in the fresh plant – therefore in order to gain the benefit of this inulin the root would need to be tinctured fresh.) The plant also contains assorted organic acids, fatty acids and phenolic acids, including isovaleric and caffeic acid, as well as iron, sulphur, b-vitamins and mucilage. The root contains high levels of vitamin C as well as trace amounts of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, chromium, cobalt, silicon, phosphorus and potassium.

Planetary Influence: Venus

Associated Deities and Heroes: Blodeuwedd. I wonder if it could also be connected with water Goddesses, especially those of rivers and lakes, since it has such a strong connection with fluid and its movement. I'd probably associate it at least in part with underworld deities such as Hel, Hecate and Cerridwen, not so much from a sorcerous point of view but from that of immortality, given how easily the plant regenerates from a tiny piece of root, and how hard it is to unearth the root.

Festival: Not known however since the plant is associated with Venus and primarily deals with watery things, I'm inclined to think probably Mabon or Samhain, especially considering that this is when the root is usually unearthed. I think this plant is quite an underworld plant, more associated with deep, watery, mysterious things, so Autumn would certainly be an appropriate season for it to be associated with.

Constitution: Cool and moist (but not excessively so – I'm inclined to say its more temperate, personally.)

Actions and Indications: Burdock is primarily known as a blood cleanser and alterative – this is certainly how I've used it in the past. It can be used to treat acne and related skin conditions as well as problems such as psoriasis and eczema. Being ruled by Venus, it has a strong affinity with the blood and lymph, and stimulates the movement of lymph around the body, causing a cleansing effect that can sometimes worsen the problem before it improves. Opinion on dosage seems to be divided, with some being of the opinion that it is best taken in small doses over a long period, and others considering that using it over a smaller space of time is a better method of prescription. I think it probably depends pretty heavily on what you are trying to achieve.

The herb works by encouraging the cells to release any stored waste materials. Apparently burdock combines well with red clover or dock as well as with the traditional dandelion, part of the original well known drink. Burdock has a well known and longstanding reputation as an extremely reliable blood tonic, as well as being antibiotic and with some adaptogenic effects.

Burdock is a nutritive tonic and deep healer, which has been used for hundreds of years. The constituent arctigenin can be used in the treatment of cancerous growths and to inhibit tumour development. Apparently the Wisewoman tradition uses it in an anti cancer treatment, and to treat the side effects of chemotherapy. Burdock makes a wonderful long term immune strengthener, useful in the treatment of CFS and immune diseases, and can be used over long periods of time.

In addition to the above, our friend Burdock can be used to treat arthritis and rheumatism (probably through improving clearance of toxins from the system) as well as to treat syphilis. The bitter taste of the root acts as a CNS stimulant (possibly through action on the vagus nerve). It is also a hepatic stimulant and choleretic, so probably best used with a little care if you are on any medication as it will improve the body's ability to process the drugs.

The plant is used for dry conditions where lack of oil and moisture is causing reduced functionality of the body. The root is for chronic, long lasting conditions, and the seed for acute conditions. The seed is considerably more diffusive to the root, well suited to people suffering from problems that impact the skin and kidneys. Constitutionally, the plant is well suited to stoic people, as well as those who are debilitated, worried or tired. This isn't greatly surprising given its use in the treatment of CFS and autoimmune diseases. Burdock is a useful prostate and uterine herb as it regulates the menstrual cycle by acting as a uterine stimulant. It has been used to treat uterine prolapse and as a tonic to strengthen the uterus before and after labour.

Spiritual and Energetic Uses: As I've researched this herb I've been intrigued to note that there's very little information to be found on the plant's spiritual and energetic purposes. One author makes the interesting point that the dark appearance of the plant means that the plant is ruled by Saturn and Pluto (which contradicts the opinion of most other authors but I'll ramble about that later) as well as commenting that the colour of the flower is due to the plant's mastery of the dark powers – the underworld. This is particularly interesting because, despite the lack of folklore surrounding the plant, I get a strong feeling of the Underworld, of deep flowing energy connected with this plant. So I think that it could probably be connected with a lot of the Underworld Goddesses, such as Hecate, Persephone and Cerridwen, and with the dark, unseen face of the moon – the sorceress. I'd probably use it to encourage a deeper understanding of the Underworld side of the personality, and a greater ability to accept that duality and be at peace with it.

Because the plant is associated with Venus, the plant also has associations with love. Charms used to be cast with the burrs, to determine whether or not a lover was true. The burr would be thrown at the skirt, and if it stuck then the lover was true, but if it fell off then they weren't. Its possible that the burrs could be used in love charms.

Magical Uses: Burdock is primarily used for protection, for example by threading pieces of dried burdock onto a string and wearing it as a necklace. An amulet can be made from the root, or the leaves can be used as part of incense and spread around the house. It's possible it could be used as part of a smudge stick, or perhaps an infusion of burdock leaves used instead of salted water in protection rituals. The leaves can also be used in water related incense, and in any spells or incenses related to Venus.

A string of protective Burdock beads can be threaded on red string (unsurprisingly – this is an old folk belief of the old 'rowan berries and red thread' type. Burdock is used for healing – unsurprisingly, given the plant's association with Venus. The root needs to be gathered in the waning moon – probably because this draws the plant's energy and power downwards into the roots and concentrates it there.

Because the plant is associated with Venus, the plant also has associations with love. Charms used to be cast with the burrs, to determine whether or not a lover was true. The burr would be thrown at the skirt, and if it stuck then the lover was true, but if it fell off then they weren't. Its possible that the burrs could be used in love charms.

Folklore: Very little folklore is known about the Burdock plant (my note - there is that author's bias I mentioned). The plant seems to have remained relatively unknown throughout history, appropriately enough for an Underworld plant, although its latin name – Arctium – comes from the Latin 'Arctos', meaning 'Bear'. This is apparently due to the hairy appearance of the well known burrs. Two of the common names of the plant – 'Personata' and 'Prosopium' – come from the Greek and Latin names for 'masked', because historically the large leaves were used as masks by Greek actors. The Native American Indians make extensive use of the plant as a vasotonic alterative. The young leaves were eaten as spring salads in Italy, Scandinavia and parts of France. Burdock root is cooked and eaten as a root vegetable in Japan, Hawaii and New Zealand.

Dose: Dosage is given as 6mls of tincture or 4g of dried plant matter in an infusion. I personally think it makes a lovely tasting tea (I'm not sure about this person's taste buds, but as I mentioned no one I given it to thought highly of the taste, myself included - maybe if you mix with some other better tasting herbs) and combines well with Nettle for this purpose.

Contraindications: Use in small doses as this plant can be quite stimulating, however it is quite safe to use over a long period in smaller doses. Larger doses promote toxin removal from the body. The plant is part of the asteraceae family which can cause skin reactions in some people. (This last sentence I have not heard anywhere else; it's actually supposed to be good for skin conditions).
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by LostNFound »

Dandelion tea, Plantain and compfry. Not sure how that last one is spelled but It does grow wild as the others do in the great Northwest. Thank you Laurie for the herbal teaching. There are so many plants and weeds that are very healthy for our bodies. Oh and here is another, Nettles.

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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »

LostNFound wrote:Dandelion tea, Plantain and compfry. Not sure how that last one is spelled but It does grow wild as the others do in the great Northwest. Thank you Laurie for the herbal teaching. There are so many plants and weeds that are very healthy for our bodies. Oh and here is another, Nettles.
There are indeed many plants and weeds that are very healthy for our bodies. And dandelion, plantain, comfrey, and nettles are all on the list.

The healing and nutritive properties of herbs have fascinated me my whole life. I also find it interesting to explore how their use has been practiced the world over in almost every culture on earth. I am floored everyday how the public has been hood winked into using man made chemical copies of what nature already does better, without the cost or side effects. Using natural ways to promote wellness and healing is just another way to pull back your support for a system that is taking us off the proverbial cliff. I fear when the truth comes fully out into the public domain in regards to the damage done through the current vaccine schedule as laid out by the AMA it's not going to be pretty. In the meantime, I'm amazed at what there still is to learn about each of these awesome members of the herbal kingdom and I like staying in that learning mode.
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »

Since Steven mentioned dandelion I figured it was a good one to go with next. It really is kind of amazing, as I discovered in the link below, that the Puritans actually brought it over from Europe because of it's value, and yet people obsess over it when it grows in their picture perfect little lawns. And, as pointed out below, make sure you don't use dandelions growing in most lawns or from roadsides, for just that very reason. Pesticides tend to cancel out any potential benefits. It's probably the best known herb by children, as who hasn't made a wish with one? I had no idea it had so much lore behind it. I have seen articles coming out with new research about it's potential use in treating several types of cancer as well.

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The dandelion, which probably originated in Asia, spread throughout the world before written history. When Puritans set out from Europe for the New World, they brought the dandelion for their gardens because it was considered an essential plant for food and health. Dandelions taste sweet, with a honey-like flavor. ... hp?state=1" onclick=";return false;

Latin: Taraxacum officinale

Also Known As: Witch Gowan, Devil's Milk Plant, Lion's Teeth, Golden Suns, Clocks and Watches, Piss a Bed, Stink Davie, Heart Fever Grass, Dog Posy, Blowball, Peasant's Clock, Cankerwort, Crow-parsnip, Irish Daisy, Doon-Head-Clock, Fortune Teller, One O'clocks, Swinesnout, Wet-a-bed, Shit-a-bed, Bum-pie, Burning Fire, Clocks, Combs & Hairpins, Conquer More, Devil's Milk Pail, Fairy Clocks, Farmer's Clocks, Horse Gowan, Lay-a-bed, Male, Mess-a-bed, Pishamoolag, Pissimire, Pittle Bed, Priest's Crown, Schoolboy's Clocks, Shepherd's Clock, Stink Davine, Tell-time, Time Flower, Time Teller, Twelve O'clock, Wishes, Wet-weed, White Endive, Wild Endive (to name but a few!) The wide variety of charming – and not so charming – names for Dandelion portray many of the folkloric beliefs associated with it as well as reflecting its properties as a strong diuretic.

Family: Asteraceae

Habitat and Description: Dandelion is found growing wild pretty much all the way around the world and pops up in many different places, from wasteland, scrub, road sides, lawns and meadows to the patches in the garden that you would really rather were Dandelion free! The leaves are jagged edged, lance shaped and plentiful, forming a basal rosette from which the flower stems rise, with tall, hairless, hollow stems topped by bright yellow, many petaled flower heads. The plant blooms in March – May and often again between July – September. The rather pretty flower heads are followed by the familiar Dandelion clock, or seed head, so beloved of children.

Parts Used: The whole plant is used for different purposes. The sap from the stem is useful in the treatment of warts, although it should not be taken internally as it is slightly toxic, especially to children. The root and leaf are often tinctured as separate remedies, as the root is more active on the liver, and the leaf is a useful diuretic.

Constituents: Dandelion contains sesquiterpene lactones, taraxacoside, taraxinic acid, dihydrotaraxinic acid and taraxacolide glucosides, etc. it also contains polyphenolic caffeoyltartaric acids, coumarins, triterpenes such as taraxol, taraxerol and taraxasterol, beta amyrin, stimgasterol and beta sitosterol. It apparently has a higher vitamin A content than carrots. It also contains potassium, bitter glycoside, triterpenoids, tannins and mucilage.

Planetary Influence: Jupiter

Associated Deities and Heroes: Hecate, St George, Theseus

Festival: Beltane, Samhain

Constitution: Warm & moist (some authors disagree with this assessment though and state that it is cold and dry. Personally I disagree.)

Spiritual and Energetic Uses: There are several fairly substantial accounts of the energetic uses of dandelion. The plant has a grounding and centering influence, with a particular influence on the solar plexus, bringing focus to emotions. It helps to ground emotions that are scattered and strengthens the emotional body, giving a stronger sense of self. The solar plexus is the source of connections between ourselves and other people, and that it is in this energy centre that usually provides instant likes or dislikes of people, sometimes irrationally. Because the root is a digestive bitter, it works on bitterness and hostility (which are often trapped in the liver) in order to 'sweeten the person up'. Anger and resentment get trapped in the liver and can lead to depression and self hate if not relieved. Most of the herbs that act on the liver can help with this problem, but that dandelion can be particularly effective. The root can be used to stimulate people who are dutiful and fearful of change. This is interesting because it shows, yet again, the balancing influence of the herb, restoring emotions to a more even keel. I've used it, myself, to help deal with anger that became trapped in the liver, leading to elevated liver enzyme readings with nothing actually wrong to cause the problem. It was later diagnosed as fatty liver, which was resolved with the use of bitter digestive herbs – incidentally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, I struggled with a lot of anger while I was healing my liver.

Dandelion is the flower of survival, and that the flower remedy is well suited to people who cram too much in their lives, leaving insufficient time for relaxation. They are compulsive 'doers' who over plan and overstructure their lives and leave no time for reflection, til they reach the point where they do not know how to be quiet or relaxed. There is little space in their lives for emotional or spiritual expression, and they forget how to listen to the needs of their own body as they have pushed themselves beyond their body's natural capacity. They work so hard and restrain their inner selves so much that they become very tense across the shoulders and in the neck. Dandelion eases the tension and allows emotions to be expressed instead of trapped in the muscles. It allows a person to shift themselves from the state of being a human doing across to a human being, and balances energy, excessive activity and enthusiasm, bringing a sense of inner ease and relaxation.

I've noticed that the uses of the flower essence often apply to the use of the herbal tincture, with equal degrees, and are in some cases even more powerful and useful in medicine – whether used in drop doses or in larger, more material doses, as it is the bitter action on the liver that releases the emotions that are often trapped there by the excessive activity that is sometimes used to run away from unpleasant emotions.

Magical Uses: Apparently Dandelion is associated with the element of air and is therefore used in air spells. Dreaming of the dandelion plant indicates troubled times ahead, whilst burying dandelions in the north west corner of the garden brings favourable winds. Placing a tea of dandelion by the bed before sleep calls spirits. The plant is associated with the sun (unsurprising given it is ruled by Jupiter!) and it is therefore used in sun related spells, and to increase the strength of sun incense. The leaf tea enhances psychic ability and could be taken before divination is undertaken, whilst the flowers can be added to divination incenses (possibly to shed light on a matter?) The white seeds connect the plant to lunar energies and provide balance. Dandelion root has a strong association with the Underworld, as it is deeply rooted and able to regenerate from the tiniest piece left in the soil during harvesting, so it is associated with rebirth and immortality. As a result of this, it can be used to invoke Hecate, if gathered fresh and sliced into discs, then strung on thick thread and dried. These beads can then be used when invoking Hecate.

The special powers of the dandelion involve divination, wishes and the calling of the spirits of the deceased. It's possible that Dandelion tea is used to increase psychic abilities because of its cleansing and rejuvenating properties. The plant belongs to the 'Belenountion' – a set of ritual herbs associated with the Celtic God Belenos. These are yellow pigmented plants that are gathered ritually in Britanny around Midsummer, and form the body of the God. (As an aside, this is an interesting piece of folklore – there is at least one flower maiden in Celtic mythology but the possibility of a 'Flower God' is unusual and fascinating – the use of yellow plants is again quite appropriate given the association of Belenos with the sun.)

Interestingly, some disagrees with the association of the plant with Beltane, being of the opinion that as it is associated with Hecate, the plant is by extension associated with Samhain and is suitable for use in rituals at this time. This seems to point out a duel nature to the plant, association with both ends of the year, and also highlights balance, as the plant is associated with opposing festivals and, due to the colour of the flowers and seeds, is also associated with the opposite polarities of sun and moon. Perhaps this plant can also be used to bring about internal balance? The medicinal uses of the plant as a tonic for the kidneys and liver indicate that a restoration to balance is an integral part of this remedy, so perhaps further research could be done on whether or not the plant can restore mental and emotional balance.

Actions and Indications: Dandelion enjoys a long history of use in herbal medicine, with a wide array of uses and ailments it is useful in the treatment of.

The root of the plant contains most of the bitter principles which have an action on the liver, and helps to build up liver tissue, making it useful in the treatment of cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice, gall stones, and chronic liver congestion. It is also useful in treating ailments of the circulatory system, such as varicose veins and haemorrhoids, and is a blood cleanser, making it useful in the treatment of rheumatism, gout and chronic skin conditions. It is a non irritant remedy for constipation and can be used to remove toxins from the system (remember the old dandelion and burdock drink?) It can also be used for chronic, deep seated illnesses such as glandular fever. The root can be used in the treatment of problems relating to glycaemic control, making it useful in the treatment of diabetes and PCOS. The leaf is a useful diuretic, with a high potassium level, making it very suitable for any kind of water retention, especially where this is due to cardiac failure. It is demulcent and healing to the kidneys and bladder, and can be used to treat cystitis and other inflammations of the urinary tract. It can also be used to treat lung complaints such as bronchitis and asthma as it strengthens the lung tissue.

In addition to the above, the plant is a pancreatic regulator, galactagogue, cholagogue, pancreatic and bile duct stimulant, and is stimulant to the portal circulation. It is a mild laxative, urinary antiseptic detoxicant and choleretic, and contains vitamins A, B and C, as well as being rich in minerals. It is used to treat inflammation of the gall bladder, 'to clear a yellowish complexion and brighten the eyes' – possibly again due to its action on the liver, as jaundice causes a yellow complexion – and to treat indigestion, anorexia, cachexia and related wasting diseases, as well as to treat congestive heart failure, and for oedema relating to this. The milky sap from the stem is applied fresh to warts. It combines well with alfalfa and kelp in the provision of nutrient minerals, and with yarrow and lime flowers for high blood pressure, and promotes weight loss during dieting (possibly due to improved digestion, water loss and better circulation.)

There is an interesting set of indications for the use of dandelion, including heavy tongue mapping, with a covering of white film, which comes off in patches, leaving raw red patches. I've seen this myself in clinic – it's quite fascinating to see, and even more fascinating to see how well it responds to Dandelion. The film coating is sometimes yellowish in colour, and the area of the mapping on the tongue can vary between the top, middle and bottom of the tongue. The colour of the tongue is dark red, showing a deep, internal heat, with spots of bright red showing inflammation. The lips can sometimes be dark red, and often dry. Dandelion can be used in the treatment of manic depression where this is accompanied by a mapped tongue. The dandelion leaf is well suited to the treatment of achy infections causing fever and discomfort relieved by urination. In addition to uses already mentioned by other authors, the root is useful in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome. The plant is useful in the treatment of dull, sleepy, lethargic individuals with congestion, as well as to treat mania.

The plant is apparently antineoplastic and antivenomous, and can be used for obstructed conditions of the liver, gall bladder and spleen, and is diuretic, tonic, anti rheumatic and a mild aperient, used chiefly in kidney and liver disorders, for rheumatism and as an all round tonic. Animal studies have confirmed an anti inflammatory action.

Some are of the opinion that the fresh juice is the most useful part of the plant and can be taken at a dose of one teaspoon three times a day in milk in order to treat constipation, poor digestion, fever, rheumatic conditions, insomnia and gout.

The plant can also be used for some women's problems, such as painful menopause, PMT and menstruation, possibly because the herb improves the liver's metabolism of hormones. The flowers are apparently useful when eaten fresh to relieve headaches. The flowers generally need to be picked during the day however, when they are open, as they are very bitter when closed. The plant can be used to relieve hypocholesterolaemia and arteriosclerosis. It can be taken as part of a healthy diet to help prevent cancers such as breast cancer. The infused oil of the flowers can be used topically for muscle tension and aches, stiff neck and arthritis – it would be interesting to find out whether this is because it enters the skin and acts on an energetic level to relieve the underlying emotional problems causing the tension.

Folklore: The dandelion seed heads, or clocks, have a plentiful array of folk practices associated with them. If you whisper thoughts about a loved one to the seed head then blow the seeds off, the wind will carry your words as well as the seeds to the loved one in question. In addition to this, several different versions of folklore are associated with the amount of seeds left on the seedhead after one good, hard puff – ranging from the amount of years a person has left to live, to how many years before they will marry, to how many children they will bear or father.

The latin name of Taraxacum derives from the Greek word 'Taraxo' or disorder, and 'akos', meaning both pain and remedy. There is some dispute concerning this but most authors do seem to agree with her. Hecate apparently entertained Theseus with the dandelion, and therefore the best time to gather the root is in November, the month of Hecate. (another aside – this makes sense in that the bitter principles in the plant root are most evident in autumn, and from a purely poetic point of view, November is a pretty bitter month! I would be interested to know exactly how Hecate used the dandelion to entertain Theseus. Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the all singing, all dancing Taraxacum! No? Perhaps not...) The little information found during research indicates that Hecate fed Theseus dandelions for 30 days so that he would become powerful enough to defeat the minotaur – testament indeed to the value of this excellent herb!

Dose: Dosage instructions vary. The root tincture can be taken in doses of up to 10mls three times a day. The leaf tincture dose is 10mls three times a day, as well. The dosage of dried leaf is up to 4tsp of dried leaf per cup of tea, infused for ten minutes then drunk three times a day. Dosage of dried root is 1tsp of dried root, in a cup of water, brought to the boil and simmered for ten minutes, one cup of this three times per day.

Contraindications: None known at present, although Wood mentioned one elderly gentleman had an adverse reaction to the tincture, finding it worsened problems instead of easing them. Excessive doses can cause slight nausea and diarrhoea, and dandelion should be avoided in excess stomach heat such as acid indigestion as it can worsen it.
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »

Elderberry is next up as we grow our list of beneficial plants, herbs, weeds, and trees. We recently made some elderberry syrup at our monthly Herbal Guild meeting, which is actually not very sweet, but it is good for you! And I have made a very strong tea from elderberry flowers and peppermint many years ago for a relative who was very ill from flu. If I remember correctly, too much of the flowers can make you feel nauseous, but as a tea with peppermint can help one break a fever. I want to get some growing on the property this year. I was surprised to discover just how rich and varied its use and mythology is. ... af-recipe/" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false; (this one is slightly different than the following link)


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As everyone knows (or ought to know), the Faery Folk love music and merrymaking, and best of all they like the music from instruments made of elder wood. Wood from the elder tree lends itself well to the making of whistles, pipes, chanters and other musical instruments, as the branches contain a soft pithy core which is easily removed to create hollow pipes of a pale, hard, easily-polished wood. (Some of elder's many vernacular names include bour- or boretree). The most auspicious time to encounter faeries was under an elder bush on Midsummer's Eve, when the Faery King and Queen and their train could be seen passing. There are many references in folklore advising against sleeping under an elder and it has been suspected that the strong smell of elder leaves may have mildly narcotic influences.


In common with other trees with white blossom, such as hawthorn and rowan, the elder had strong associations with Faery- and Goddess-centred mythology. Like rowan, the elder was thought of as being a protective tree, and it was auspicious if it was growing near one's dwelling, especially if it had seeded itself there. If the rowan's place was traditionally at the front of the house, the elder's was at the back door, to keep evil spirits and other negative influences from entering the home. The aroma exuded by the elder's leaves has long been known to repel flies, so this folklore may have been borne out of the need to keep such insects, and the diseases that they carried, away from the kitchen and food. Bunches of leaves were hung by doorways, in livestock barns, and attached to horses' harnesses for the same reason. Elder was traditionally planted around dairies and it was thought to be efficacious in keeping the milk from 'turning'. Cheese cloths and other linen involved in dairying were hung out to dry on elder trees, and the smell they absorbed from the leaves may have contributed to hygiene in the dairy. Elder trees were also traditionally planted by bake houses as protection from the Devil (what with all those hellishly hot ovens within!) and loaves and cakes put out to cool under the elders. Any foods left out overnight under an elder however were considered a gift to the faeries.

The name elder may have been derived from Hylde-Moer the Scandinavian matriarchal tree spirit and deity associated with the elder, whose indwelling spirit was said to be the basis of the protective qualities of 'Mother Elder'. It has also been suggested that the name may derive from the Anglo-Saxon Aeld, meaning fire, possibly referring to the pithy core of the wood which was used as tinder, or the hollowed out branches used in bellows. Certainly the wood itself makes a poor fuel, and the structure of the wood and its sap makes it scream and spit whilst burning. The belief that it was the Devil spitting from the heat of the fire further reinforced the taboo against burning the wood.

In common with many other native trees and plants with potent pagan associations, the elder subsequently had negative Christian legends associated with it, to suppress earlier beliefs.The elder was doubly cursed as being the tree from which Judas Iscariot hanged himself, as well as being one of several trees 'accused' of having supplied the wood for the Crucifixion Cross (oak and aspen being other popular culprits), though the small size of the elder trees and the fact that Jesus would not have struggled under the weight of a crossbar made of such a lightweight wood as elder make this highly unlikely.

Notwithstanding these negative beliefs, elder continued to be put to such a wide range of medicinal uses that the mediaeval herbalist John Evelyn called it "a kind of Catholicon against all Infirmities whatever". Washing her face in dew gathered from elderflowers was believed to enhance and preserve a woman's youthful beauty, and derivatives of elder continue to be used in skin cleansers such as Eau de Sareau, and eye lotions. Elderberry wine, elderflower cordial and dried elderflowers for infusion are all still commercially available. A couple of cups of hot elderflower tea before bedtime helps to bring on a cleansing sweat to combat cold and 'flu-like symptoms, and elderberry drinks were formerly prescribed to sooth throat complaints. A fine elderflower champagne can be made using the yeasts naturally present in the blossoms, which can also be dipped in a batter and eaten as fritters.

The elder is not a common tree across the Scottish Highlands, being confined to pockets of deeper, richer soils. Its Gaelic names, ruis or droman occur only rarely in Scottish place names, such as Strath Rusdale in Easter Ross and Barrach-an-dromain on Mull. Droman may have given rise to the word dromanach which is a specialised wooden peg used to secure thatch on roofs traditionally made from elder wood. Despite its relative scarcity, the parts of the tree used for dying were important to the Harris tweed industry, with blue and purple dyes being derived from the berries, yellow and green from the leaves and grey and black from the bark.

Paul Kendall
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »


I've finally decided to come back to this thread. I realized that some of the herbs I use and love don't have much info on them and I will have to just use my own knowledge of them, which means no copy and paste. But for now I have one more that has been in use for a very long time that I have recently been reminded of. When my goat friend came to dehorn the three kids last week we got to talking about how sometimes they butt heads real hard and can cause where their budding horns were burned off to bleed. I actually had this happen to a buckling we had a couple years ago. If they hit hard enough they can even bleed out, so no small thing at times. My husband and I, not knowing what else to do, mixed triple antibiotic ointment with bag balm and smeared it over the area, repeating this every day for awhile (it was trying to become infected). This worked quite well. But then my friend told me about her success boiling some comfrey leaves down and making a poultice. Since I have several comfrey plants I think I will try this should I need to in the future.


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Planetary Association: Saturn
Deity Association: Hecate
Element: Water

Histpry and Folklore: Comfrey has been cultivated for healing since 400 BCE. It was used by such notable Greek physicians as Herodotus, Nicander, Galen and Dioscorides. It continued to be used throughout history and its use spread throughout Europe. The name Symphytum comes from the Greek meaning “Grow together” + “plant”. And comfrey comes from the Latin meaning to grow together. The Greeks used it to stop heavy bleeding and to treat bronchial problems while the Romans used it in poultices for external wounds and drank it as a tea for internal ailments such as stomach disorders. Another interesting fact is that in the past comfrey baths were very popular with women as they repaired the hymen, thus restoring their virginity!

Folk Names: Assear, Black Wort, Boneset, Bruisewort, Consolida, Consound, Gum Plant, Healing Herb, Knit Back, Knitbone, Miracle Herb, Slippery Root, Wallwort, Yalluc

Since then though comfrey has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from bronchial problems, broken bones, sprains, arthritis, gastric and varicose ulcers, severe burns, acne and other skin conditions. It is also a great ingredient to use in lotions to soothe sunburn but recent research has shown that it can cause liver damage and that it prevents iron absorption so it is therefore not recommended to take comfrey internally anymore.

Magickal Attributes: Good for any magickal healing. Worn or carried, it ensures safety during travel. The root is used in money spells. Comfrey is used in protective magic for the traveler and to protect against theft. Try placing a comfrey leaf in your luggage to make sure it isn’t lost or stolen. Use comfrey root in sachets for protection while traveling, and to keep your lover faithful while you are gone. Also use it in sachets to protect vehicles. Hang from your rearview mirror or hide it under a seat.
Wrap your money in a comfrey leaf for several days before going to a casino or poker game. It will help keep your bets coming back to you.

Comfrey flowers, especially blue ones, can be substituted in any spell calling for borage. Use comfrey in a bath after ritual to relax and cleanse you, especially for healing or love spells. It can be burned in combination with mugwort to aid in divination and concentration and by itself or in combination for spells associated with letting go of unhealthy relationships.

In Hoodoo: COMFREY leaves bring in money, COMFREY root is a guardian of travellers, and blue COMFREY flowers may substitute for those of its close relative Borage.

Preparing Money for Gambling: Dress a fresh COMFREY leaf with Money-Drawing Oil and wrap it around your money, folding the leaf toward you. Keep the money this way overnight, or, better yet, for three days, or until the day you take it out to gamble. Use dried COMFREY leaves the same way, or keep them in your wallet with your money.

For Safety While Travelling: COMFREY root wards off the evil of unknown strangers and brings good luck in making travel arrangements. Place the root in a red bag, dress it with Van Van Oil, and keep it on you while on the road.

For Peace at Home While You Travel: Dressing a whole COMFREY root with Peaceful Home Oil and carrying it while abroad will ensure that you return to find peace in the home and faithfulness in the marriage.

To Bring Good Luck, especially in Financial and Money Matters. When used for this purpose, only the whole leaves are gathered, for folks who believe in the Luck-Bringing properties of Comfrey Leaves tell us that they like to dress a leaf with Money Drawing Oil and wrap it around their money, folding the leaf toward them and not away from them. They keep their money this way overnight or until the day they take it out to bet or gamble — and they say that doing so Brings in the Winnings.

Healing Recipe: Infused Comfrey Oil

Infused comfrey oil should be included in a healing salve for wounds. Although not available ready-made, it can easily be prepared at home. In the top of a double boiler, cover 2 oz. of dried comfrey leaves with 2 cups of extra-virgin olive oil. Cook, covered, over simmering water for 60-90 min. Strain the comfrey oil through a paper towel, pressing down on the leaves.

Make an extra recipe of infused comfrey oil and store it in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed, labeled jar. With some comfrey oil in reserve, you’ll be able to make more healing salve (recipe below) whenever you need it. The oil keeps in the refrigerator for up to 1 year without going rancid.

Healing Salve for Wounds:
Makes 1¼ cups of cream
¼ cup pure beeswax
1 cup infused comfrey oil
20 drops tea-tree essential oil
1 heaping tsp. of goldenseal powder
3 tbsp. olive oil

Shave or cut the beeswax into small chunks. In a small saucepan, warm the infused comfrey oil and the beeswax. Mix goldenseal powder with olive oil. Heat the ingredients over low heat until the beeswax is just melted. Don’t allow the ingredients to boil. Remove from heat, and add the tea-tree essential oil, add the olive oil-goldenseal mixture. Then pour the salve into a sterilized containers, and store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to 1 year.

Quick and Easy Healing Salve:
½ cup all-vegetable shortening (at room temperature)
10 drops tea-tree essential oil
10 drops calendula extract

In a small bowl, whip ingredients together, using a small whisk or spatula, until thoroughly blended. The salve should have the look and feel of fluffy, orange butter-cream frosting. Store in a labeled plastic or glass container in a cool place for up to 3 months, or refrigerate for up to 1 year.
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »

I love peppermint! It's easy to grow, makes great tea that aids digestion, and freshens your breath. I've made a really strong tea with the addition of elderberry flowers (not too much of these as elderberry flowers can make you nauseous) for a friend who was really sick with fever, body ache, chills and it seemed to work magic. You want to make sure your keep lots of blankets on to promote perspiration and help break the fever. I also drink plenty of it when I am fasting.

The first link focuses on using peppermint as an essential oil, which has many applications. The second one has its magical uses. I thought they were both quite informative. I really liked the "bitch be gone spell". And there are lots of different kinds of mint with similar attributes.

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Peppermint belongs to the Mint family with Spearmint, Water Mint, and Forest Mint and is a naturally occurring hybrid of Water Mint and Spearmint.

Peppermint essential oil is multi-purpose, earning the reputation of being one of the most versatile oils in the world along with Lavender oil.

The most active components of Peppermint essential oil are Menthol and Menthone, which are known to reduce pain and to invigorate, energize, and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, respectively.

There are numerous applications for which Peppermint essential oil can be used, including cosmetics, aromatherapy, relaxing baths, and as a cleaning agent around the house.

Due to its stimulant properties, using Peppermint essential oil daily could interfere with sleep patterns, and an overdose of the oil can lead to potentially severe side effects.

Mentha piperita, or Peppermint as it is commonly known, is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean but has also been cultivated in the USA, Italy, Great Britain, and Japan. It can be identified by its serrated leaves and by its flowers that range in color from light pink to mauve, growing in a conical shape.

Peppermint essential oil has been called one of the most versatile oils in the world, sharing the title with Lavender. Abounding in dermal and oral uses as well as anti-microbial properties, there are countless issues for which it is beneficial, promoting the wellness of body, mind, and overall health. The scent of Peppermint can be described as being fresh, sharp and comparable to Menthol, and the components of this multi-purpose oil are used internationally in cosmetic, culinary, and health industries.

Extracted from the Peppermint herb, the uses of this cherished plant and its benefits have been traced back to Chinese and Japanese folk medicine practices and even Ancient Egyptian times where dried Peppermint leaves were found placed in tombs inside the pyramids. Due to the common incidence of using the name Peppermint interchangeably with the terms Mint and Spearmint, there has been confusion about its history of cultivation, but ancient textual references to it prove that it has been used for culinary purposes and in herbal medicine since 1500 BC. Peppermint is also mentioned in Greek mythology in the story of the nymph “Mentha” or “Minthe,” who is transformed into the sweet-smelling herb that releases a powerful, lingering aroma every time she is stepped on.

Peppermint is one of the hundreds of species belonging to the Mint family of plants or the Mint “genus.” Included in this genus are herbs such as Spearmint, Water Mint, and Forest Mint. Peppermint is thought to be a naturally occurring hybrid of Water Mint (M. aquatica) and Spearmint (M. spicata).

The main chemical constituents of Peppermint essential oil are Menthol, Menthone, and 1,8-Cineole, Menthyl acetate and Isovalerate, Pinene, Limonene and other constituents. The most active of these components are Menthol and Menthone. Menthol is known to be analgesic and is thus beneficial for reducing pain such as headaches, muscle aches, and inflammation. Menthone is known to be analgesic as well, but it is also believed to show antiseptic activity. Its invigorating properties lend the oil its energizing effects.

Used medicinally, Peppermint essential oil has been found to eliminate harmful bacteria, relieve muscle spasms and flatulence, disinfect and soothe inflamed skin, and to release muscle tension when used in a massage. When diluted with a carrier oil and rubbed into the feet, it can work as a natural effective fever reducer.

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Peppermint acts as an astringent that closes pores and tightens the skin. It's cooling and warming sensations make it an effective anesthetic that leaves the skin numb to pain and calms redness and inflammation. It has traditionally been used as a cooling chest rub to relieve congestion, and when diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut, it can promote the safe and healthy renewal of skin, thus offering relief from skin irritations such as sunburn. In shampoos, it can stimulate the scalp while also removing dandruff.

When used in aromatherapy, Peppermint essential oil’s expectorant properties clear the nasal passageway to promote the relief of congestion and to encourage easy breathing. It is believed to stimulate circulation, reduce feelings of nervous tension, soothe feelings of irritability, boost energy, balance hormones, and enhance mental focus. The scent of this analgesic oil is believed to help relieve headaches, and its stomachic properties are known to help suppress the appetite and promote the feeling of being full. When diluted and inhaled or when rubbed in small amounts behind the ear, this digestive oil can reduce the feeling of nausea.

Due to its anti-microbial properties, Peppermint oil can also be used as a cleaning solvent to sanitize and deodorize the environment, leaving behind the trail of a fresh, cheerful scent. Not only will it disinfect surfaces, but it will also eliminate bugs in the home and function as an effective insect repellant.

As illustrated, Peppermint essential oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

Antiseptic, astringent, cordial, nervine, sudorific.

Analgesic, cephalic, cordial, decongestant, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, stimulant.

Analgesic, anesthetic, anti-galactagogue, anti-phlogistic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cephalic, cholagogue, cordial, decongestant, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hepatic, nervine, stimulant, stomachic, sudorific, vasoconstrictor, vermifuge.

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Herbal Riot

Planetary Association: Venus

Element: Air

Gender: Masculine

Deity Associations: Pluto, Hecate

Main magickal uses: cleansing, consecration, dreams, happiness, healing, love, money, passion, prosperity, protection, psychic development, purification, release, renewal, rest, sleep Other magickal uses: Animals, divination, endings, energy, exorcism, good luck, grieving, spirit offering, success, transformation Lore: Mints are sacred to the god Hades, because (as happened with Daphne and Apollo–see *bay*) a young lovely named Minthe was transformed into a mint to keep her from Hades’ embrace. Peppermint is also sometimes attributed to Zeus. Paul Beyerl suggests pairing peppermint with topaz or chalcedony for best effect. Burn before bed for prophetic dreams. Peppermint tea aids in divination.

Mint is placed in the home as a protective herb. It belongs to the sphere of Venus and has long been used in healing potions and mixtures. The fresh leaves rubbed against the head are said to relieve headaches. Mint worn at the wrist assures that you will not be ill. Its bright green leaves and crisp scent led to its use in money and prosperity spells. Fresh mint laid on the altar will call good spirits to be present and aid you in magic, especially healing spells. Added to incenses it cleanses the house or ritual area.

One thing to keep in mind when using mint is that it can have a strong smell. Be careful with how much you add. Start with a small amount and add more to get the ratios with the other herbs right. Also, since mint flavors are so common it is best to make sure that the associations you, or whoever you are making the sachet/oil/pouch/etc. for, have mint fit in with your methods. If you are trying to make a spell to attract a casual lover you probably do not want to use mint if its strongest associations are with your grandmother. That will kill just about anybody’s buzz. In the cases when you’re making something for another person, it would be best to keep the mint for healing and protection spells.

Peppermint Floorwash:

You will need the following items for this spell:
Cascarilla powder

1) Make a strong infusion of peppermint by pouring boiling water over the botanical.
2) When it cools, strain out the peppermint and add the liquid to a bucket of floorwash rinse water.
3) Add vinegar and a little Cascarilla Powder.
4) Cleanse the floors and threshold areas to radiate an invitation to happiness and good fortune.

Bitch Be Gone Spell:

You will need the following items for this spell:
peppermint leaf
peppermint oil
lavender buds
lavender oil
pinch of catnip
chamomile flowers
pinch of amber powder
pinch of sandalwood powder (big pinch)
3 drops honeysuckle oil
rosemary needles
several dried rose petals
rose quartz chips or a chunk of rose quartz that will
fit in the bottom of whatever jar you want to use
pinch of cinnamon or apple pie spice blend

Blend together and grind into a mush, using the essential oils to intensify the smell and bind everything together so it’s moist and pasty. If you can’t find amber powder add a little more sandalwood.

When you feel the bitch starting to come out open it and smell it for a few seconds. Always keep the lid on when not in use.
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »

Next up is another one of my favorites (I think they're all my favorites, LOL)
Lavender ... part2.html" onclick=";return false;

Many historical medicinal uses of lavender are being examined and embraced by modern science - though, I doubt they are testing its protectiveness against witchcraft, sorcery and the evil eye.

Lavender Folklore
(Lavendula vera, D. C.; L. Angustifolia, Moench.; L. spica, Linn.)

Like many of the other herbs discussed on the pages Our Herb Garden, lavender also has a connection to witch-craft and sorcery. Lavender was believed by the Tuscans to counteract the evil eye.

Lavender Folklore: Four Thieves Vinegar

Lavender also has been linked to the plague. For this bit of lavender folklore we have several conflicting versions but at some level when combined may actually make sense. Whether it is called Marseilles Vinegar, Four Thieves Vinegar or was invented by Richard Forthave, the concoction was said to protect people from catching the plague. While the recipe varied from location to location, lavender was a common ingredient – perhaps to mask the scent of less-pleasing ingredients like garlic and vinegar.

The folklore behind the name Four Thieves Vinegar has two different versions. One has four thieves upon capture admitting the brew allowed them to burgle the houses of plague victims without catching the dread disease themselves. Upon capture, they offered to trade their recipe in exchange for leniency. In a slightly different version of the story, the thieves had been captured prior to the plague outbreak. They invented the vinegar when they were sentenced to bury plague victims.

Lavender Folklore: Love & Protection

In Spain and Portugal, lavender was included in bonfires on St. John’s Day to help ward off evil spirits.

On St. Luke’s Day in the 14 and 1500s, young maidens sipped lavender in hopes that they would be granted a dream in which they would see their true love. Lavender tucked under the pillows of young men was thought to encourage them to ask for a lady’s hand in marriage. And completing the circle, lavender was used by wives to ensure their “husband’s marital passion.”

On the other hand, ladies of the unmaidenly sort, would wear lavender to attract customers. It would also protect them from cruelty and violence.

And, in yet another contradiction, lavender folklore also claims that if lavender is used in combination with rosemary it will preserve virtue.

Lavender Folklore: Medicinal Uses

Lavender Flowers

One early work suggests steeping and draining a hank of cotton in the oil of lavender and hanging the dry cotton around the neck to ward off bugs and “other noxious insects” from attacking. Some folk medicine sources identified those bugs specifically as worms.
Oleum spicoe was created by mixing lavender oil with turpentine or spirit of wine and used for the curing of old sprains and stiff joints. Lavender oil, preferably made from the flowering tops as opposed to the stalks, was also used to stimulate paralyzed limbs.

Taken orally, lavender oil was credited with being a restorative and tonic against faintness, palpitations of a nervous sort, weak giddiness, spasms and colic. It was used to increase appetite, raise the spirits and dispel flatulence. It was also used for hysteria, palsy and similar disorders and acted as a powerful stimulant.

Gerard, author of Herball or Historie of Plants(1597), mentions using distilled water from the lavender flowers or oil made from the flowers and olive oil to treat palsy with the statement that doing so will “profiteth them much.”

Macerating the oils of lavender and rosemary, with cinnamon bark, nutmeg, and red sandal wood in wine for seven days produces tincture of red lavender which was once a popular medicinal cordial. “Palsy Drops”, a once well-known compound, was made from lavender with rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, red sandal wood, and spirits.

Lavandula latifolia essential oil is thought to promote the growth of hair when “weakly” or falling off.

Rubbing a few drops of lavender oil on the temples is said to cure nervous headaches. Tea brewed from lavender flowers was often prescribed as a treatment for headaches from fatigue or weakness. Mediterraneans were said to have prevented headaches from the sun by weaving lavender into their hats.

However, over-consumption of lavender oil from the tops can cause griping and colic. If the dose is substantial, it can cause a narcotic poisoning which causes death by convulsions.

One early British work mentions that the lions and tigers in the Zoological gardens “powerfully affected by the smell of lavender water and become docile under its influence.”

The antiseptic powers of lavender were well known and bundles of the dried herb would be burnt and left to smolder as a fumigant in a sickroom. (No date was given for this practice but the original source implies that the practice continues in the present day.)

Modern Medicinal Uses of Lavender.

Researchers are finding many of the medicinal attributes that have been paired with lavender throughout the centuries to be valid. Essential lavender oil has been scientifically found to be a powerful antiseptic that can kill typhoid, diphtheria, streptococcus, and pneumococus bacteria. And it is actually an effective antidote for some snake venom.

There are several companies marketing their versions of Four Thieves Vinegar in products like anti-bacterial lotions.

There are however some concerns that lavender oil should not be consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is thought the oil harms skin cells in vitro. Several recent studies have offered conflicting results and it is probably safer to just assume it is not safe than risk the health of your child.

Most of the remaining of the earlier medical uses lavender and lavender oil also appear to be founded upon fact with perhaps the notable exception of it being protection against the evil eye – that remains unproven.

Additional Lavender Information.

The story of the history of lavender continues with our article on Lavender History. Our Herb Garden also has guides on Growing lavender and Lavender Companion Planting.


Here is a little more from another link:
How Lavender's History Started ... ender.html" onclick=";return false;
Lavender, a herb, has been used for over 2000 years of history. The Egyptians used it in their mummification process and decorative urns were found in the pyramids with residues still inside. The Egyptians also perfumed their skin with Lavender.

Lavender, from "lavare" (Latin meaning 'to wash') or "livendulo" (meaning 'livid or bluish') was used by the Romans. The Lavender flower was used for cooking and added to the water used for bathing.

There are many varieties of Lavender plants that grow across different continents with over 30 different species in the genus Lavandula.

Lavender's history has biblical roots. It is referred to as Spikenard in the Bible. Mary used it on the infant Jesus and anointed Jesus after the crucifixion when she was preparing him for burial.

The early Greeks learned a lot about Lavender flower perfumes and the use of aromatic herbs from the Egyptians. The Romans learned about this knowledge from the Greeks and used Lavender flower lavishly in their public baths, to perfume themselves and their homes. They also valued it for treating ailments. This is were the history of Lavender for medicinal use began.

During the Renaissance, it was used to protect against infections during the Plaque. Today we find out that it has many medicinal beneficial properties which help us in so many ways. We now know of its insect repellent properties and the Plague was carried by the lice on the rats.

English royalty were particularly fond of Lavender during the Victorian Era.The Queen Victoria even appointed a official purveyor, her name was Miss Sarah Sprules "Purveyor to the Queen", and it was used throughout the castles for everything imaginable. Floors and furniture were washed and all the linens perfumed with its sweet scent.

The Queen's interest and passion for this plant encouraged all fine English ladies to follow suit and scent themselves and anything else possible. There were street vendors carrying bundles of flowers for sale that they harvested from the hills and the women would craft flower Tussie Mussies. Lavender was found in just about every home herb garden.

This demand brought about and encouraged cultivation and commercial farming to help keep up and maintain a constant supply for the royalty. Growing Lavender commercially got it start here.

The Queen wanted a supply of fresh flower bundles brought to her daily. Lavender flower was strewn through stone castle floors and released it's scent under foot traffic. The scent of Lavender symbolized cleanliness and purity. This is how the history of English Lavender also called Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalisbegan.

Street vendors sold Lavender bunches and would sing about their wares to get the attention of potential buyers. Some of their calls were printed in The Cries of London. Songs and diddles such as Lavender Blue became popular.

In modern times Lavender was rediscovered by Rene Gatefosse, one of the founders of aromatherapy, when he burned himself in his lab. He immediately plunged his arm into its sweet essential oil and noted the quick healing, lack of both infection and scarring that resulted from his quick thinking. There has been a noted history of it being used in World War I as a wound dressing for injured soldiers. We now know that it has antibacterial properties which is another reason it is so useful.
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Re: Plant Spirit Medicine

Post by Spiritwind »

Valerian is the next herb I want to share information about. This is one I personally have grown a lot of, and have harvested and used. The roots do indeed smell like seriously dirty socks after being dried and the tea could use some other herbs to be a little less funky tasting. The flowers are delicate and beautiful, and do have a great smell, unlike their roots. My cats have never really shown any interest in it though, so I don't know about that claim. It really does work to help with relaxing and getting better quality sleep, especially when under great stress. I plan on making a tincture soon out of some that grew in a container and is so full and root bound I don't think I could separate them. It always grows really well for me, but has to like where it is. My neighbors' never seems to reseed itself, but I have it growing prolifically. Seems to like growing with raspberries and strawberries.


The Magickal Uses of Valerian

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Gender: Feminine

Planets: Venus, Mercury

Element: Water

Zodiac: Aquarius

Folklore: The Latin valere from whence the common name of this plant originated means “to be strong or healthy” and it may refer to the healing applications of the plant or it may refer to its strong odor. Indeed the ancient Greeks called this plant “Phu” (like phew!).

It was believed that this plant had the properties of turning anything bad into good. Countless legends surround valerian, which were called “phu” for its foul odor in ancient times.

Despite its odor, valerian was used as a potent perfume during the Middle Ages.

Chaucer’s “Millers Tale” describes a character as “sweet smelling as the root” of valerian and other herbs.

Cats and other small animals are attracted to it.

According to early German folklore, the Pied Piper had it squirreled away in his pocket as he lured the rats and eventually the children from Hamelin.

Native Americans used its roots for food and as a flavoring in tobacco.

In Germany it is the active ingredient in more than 100 over-the-counter tranquilizers and sleep-aids.

Magical Properties: Protection, Calm, Sleep, Love, Purification, Harmony.

Sprinkle valerian at the front door to deter unwanted visitors, or hang the leaves around the home to promote harmony amongst loved ones. Combine valerian with other herbs and crystals in sachets or amulets to use for protection, or in a dream-pillow to ward off nightmares. Use in cleansing and consecration, or drink as a tea to purify oneself. In hoodoo, it can be used as a substitute for graveyard dirt. It enhances any curse or hex you place, and used alone as a hex, it can be cast upon your enemy’s pathway or steps, or placed in a red bag and buried on your enemy’s property to bring evil upon them. To prevent unwanted visitors, sprinkle powdered herb on your frontstoop and say their name. For eliminating troubles, write the trouble on parchment paper, then burn and mix the ashes with powdered herb,then bury. Soak the dried stalks of the valerian plant in tallow or oil, then use as a magical torch.

Valerian may smell raunchy, but it’s also known as a plant of love and protection. Hang it in your home to protect against natural disasters, such as lightning strikes or fire. If you’re a woman, pin a sprig to your shirt to attract men your way.

It is also useful in Samhain and Yule celebration rituals.

Valerian root is useful in spells related to ending guilt and negative self talk and developing self acceptance. It is also useful in animal magic, especially cat magic and evoking animal spirits. Also, for turning bad situations around to one’s advantage and finding the positive in a seemingly negative situation.

Despite the distaste many have for its scent, Valerian grows one of the sweetest scented of all flowers and was in earlier times, highly regarded. the root was placed in clothing and was even used as a base for perfume. Use Valerian in the consecration of Thuribles.

Valerian is added to the chalice as an herb of peace. It is very cleansing and can be used to purify your ritual space. It is one of the herbs said to have been used by King Solomon when aspurging his temple.

Place in the home or grow in the garden to aid in keeping harmony. Add to other herbs for love wishes. This magick herb is also kingly in its name, which was taken from one of the caesars. It’s considered to be Water of Water in the Golden Dawn system, but to me it is very Earthy. Also associated with Samhain and Yule, this European herb was favored in Eclectic medicine for treatment of short-term depression; this coincides with its ritual use for relieving self-condemnation and developing self-acceptance.

For protection from evil and magick, use Valerian in sachets, amulets,or talismans and carry it with you. A few leaves placed in the shoes protect against colds and flu.
Valerian is a cleansing herb, and can be used to purify ritual spaces and consecrate incense burners. For self purification, use as a tea during the purification period.
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....

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