Whispering Woods Herbal Grimoire

Section - B

The following information is strictly for reference only.
And should not be mis-construed as medical advice.

Herb Description list -   Bachelor Buttons, Balmony, Balsam Fir, Bamboo, Baneberry, Barberry, Barley, Basil, Basswood, Bay, Bayberry, Bean, Big Bluestem

Bachelor Buttons: Cornflower, Feverfew                 

(Centaurea cyanus) Bark, dried flowers, leaves

The genus name is derived from the Centaur, Chiron, who taught mankind the healing virtues of herbs. The bark, dried flowers, and leaves are used. A warm infusion is used for colic, flatulence, eructation's, indigestion, flu, colds, fever, ague, freckles, age spots, and alcoholic DTs. A cold extract has a tonic effect. The flowers in particular show a purgative action. Used to relieve headaches, migraines, arthritis, neuritis, neuralgia, indigestion, colds, and muscle tension. Assists in eliminating worms. Stimulates the appetite, increases fluidity of lung and bronchial tube mucus, stimulates uterine contractions, and promotes menses.

Magickal uses: Use this herb when performing Love spells. To attract the love of a man, wear in your bosom or put it in your pocket. Depending upon your success it will lose or retain its freshness.

Properties: Carminative, emmenagogue, purgative, stimulant, bitter tonic, antipyretic, aperient , anti-inflammatory, vermifuge.                                                                                                                                                                         
The essential oil contains camphor, terpene, borneol, various esters and a bitter principle, pyrethrin, tannin, and sesquiterpene lactones.

Growth: Stems are 1 to 3 feet high, tough and wiry, slender, furrowed and branched, somewhat angular and covered with a loose cottony down. Leaves are very narrow and long and arranged alternately on the stem and more or less covered with a white cobwebby down that gives the plant a somewhat dull and gray appearance. The lower leaves are broader and often have a roughly toothed outline. Flowers grow solitary on long stalks. The bracts enclosing the hard head of the flower are numerous, with tightly overlapping scales, each bordered by a fringe of brown teeth. The inner disk florets are small and numerous, of a pale purplish-rose color. The bright blue ray florets are large, widely spread and much cut into. This bushy plant is native to southeastern Europe but is now found in North and South America. Bachelor Button is a perennial plant that is cultivated but is occasionally found wild in waste places and along roadsides and wood-borders from Quebec to Ohio and south to Maryland and Missouri, as well as in California.
Harvest shortly after flowering.
1-4 leaves chewed per day proven in the past to be effective for some migraine headaches, and is antiseptic. Do not use for migraine resulting from weak, deficiency condition.

To combat insects, a tincture made from feverfew mixed with 1/2 pint of cold water will keep away the gnats, mosquitoes, and other pests. Feverfew has the power to relieve the pain and swelling caused by the bites of insects and vermin. Bees find the odor and taste of feverfew highly repulsive.

Do not use for migraine resulting from a weak, deficiency condition. May cause dermatitis or allergic reactions. Mouth sores are common. -Patients taking blood thinning drugs should avoid taking feverfew because it can affect the clotting times of the blood.

                                                  Balmony: Turtle Bloom, Bitter Herb, White Turtlehead

                                                                                   Chelone glabra

                                                                             Leaves, whole fresh herb

The name of the genus Chelone comes from the Greek word meaning a tortoise, from the resemblance of the corolla to a tortoise-head.

Medicinal uses: Balmony is beneficial for a weak stomach and indigestion, general debility, constipation, and torpid liver, it also stimulates the appetite, and in small doses is a good tonic during convalescence. In addition, Balmony is an effective antheimintic. Balmony is an excellent agent for liver problems. It acts as a tonic on the whole digestive and absorptive system. It has a stimulating effect on the secretion of digestive juices by way of its laxative properties. Balmony is used in gall stones, inflammation of the gall-bladder and in jaundice.
It stimulates the appetite, eases colic, dyspepsia and biliousness and is helpful in debility.
Externally it has been used on inflamed breasts, painful ulcers and piles.
It is very useful after malarial fevers when used as a tonic.
Externally, it is used for sores and eczema. The ointment is useful in relieving the itching and irritation of piles.

For the relief on constipation, Balmony may be combined with Butternut. For jaundice it will best be used with Milk Thistle and other toning hepatics such as Golden Seal.

Infusion: Use I tsp. leaves to I cup water. Take I to 2 cups a day.

Tincture: Take 10 to 20 drops in water, three or four times a day.

Magickal Uses: Balmony is used in hexes. Wrap a persons name in a bundle of balmony and it will cause them to become ill.

Properties: Cholagogue, hepatic, anti-emetic, stimulant, laxative, antheimintic, aperient, cholagogue, tonic. Contains gallic acid

Growth: Balmony has a simple, erect, square stem that reaches a height of 1 to 3 feet. Opposite and short-petioled, its shining, dark green, pointed leaves are serrated and oblong-lancealate in shape. Blooming from July to September, the white flowers, often tinged with pink or magenta, grow in dense terminal or axillary spikes. The two-lipped corolla of the flower somewhat resembles a turtle's head. The fruit is an ovoid capsule.

                                                                       Balsam Fir: Christmas tree, Canada balsam     

                                                                            (Terebinthine canadensis) Resin, leaves

Native Americans applied the resin externally to treat burns, sores, bruises, sore muscles, and wounds. The leaf tea used for colds, cough, and asthma. Helps rheumatism, inflammation of the bladder, sciatica, neuralgia, epilepsy, erysipelas, erythema, colic, swollen inguinal glands, jaundice, iritis, dropsy, lumbago, worms, typhoid fever, bronchitis. It is used externally in the bath to relieve rheumatic pain, sore nipples, and for wounds and cuts.

Magickal uses: Hang branches about the house for protection. This is a sacred tree of the Druids and is used to invoke the power of the God.

Properties: Antiseptic, diuretic, analgesic, expectorant, stimulant

Growth: Balsam fir is an evergreen of the pine family, a spire-shaped tree that grows to 60 feet in height. The flattish needles are up to 1-1 1/2 inches long, in flattened sprays that are stalk less. Needles are rounded at the base, each with 2 lines beneath. The cones are 1 to 4 inches long and erect with purple and green scales. Found in moist woods. From Canada south through New England and along the mountains to West Virginia and Virginia; west through Ohio to northeastern Iowa and Michigan. Found in mountainous regions of Europe, Asia, and the Himalayas.

Balsam fir -  1 oz., glycerin 4 oz., honey 4 oz. mixed together thoroughly.

Bark and twigs -  standard tea



                                                       (Phyllostachys bambusoides) Stem, leaves

Edison successfully used a carbonized bamboo filament in his first experiment with the light bulb.                                                                                                           

Medicinal Uses: The leaf is used as an antipyretic. The stem (new shoots) are used for hematuria. The powdered hardened secretion from bamboo is used internally to treat asthma, coughs and can be used as an aphrodisiac. Roots and leaves have also been used to treat venereal disease and cancer. Sap is said to reduce fever and ash will cure prickly heat. The juice of the stem is antipyretic, antitussive, expectorant and sedative. It is used for bronchial, cartarrhal and cerebral infections. The leaf is antipyretic and diuretic. It is used for chest and head colds, pharyngitis and stomatitis. The leaf encourages the flow of urine and suppression of fever.

Magickal uses: Make an elemental wand using Bamboo. Crush the wood to a powder and burn for protection or grow by the house for good fortune. For a wish to come true carve it on a piece of bamboo and bury it. Carve a symbol of protection, such as a pentagram, and plant it near your home. Growing near your home will also bring good fortune. Since its wood never changes color it is considered lucky so hang it over your door. To break hexes carry it in a sachet or grind the wood into a powder (bamba wood) and burn. The Chinese use the wood as a charm to ward off evil spirits or to call a spirit, carve the name and improvise a melody.

Properties: antipyretic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, febrifuge, expectorant, antitussive and sedative.  Controls vomiting, stems bleeding and is useful for bacterial infections. Contains Silicone and potassium hydroxide.

Growth: Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth. Some varieties (timber bamboo) growing 80 feet tall in 4 weeks. Requires moist soil in a sunny, sheltered spot.

Tonic - combine 1 part cinnamon, 2 parts cardamom, 4 parts black pepper, 8 parts bamboo tabisheer (powdered), 16 parts raw sugar. All are ground together into a powder. The dose is 3 to 12 grams. (used for treatment and prevention of colds, coughs, bronchitis and asthma.)


                                                                     Baneberry: Doll's eyes   



             (Actaea rubra)                                                                                                            (Actaea pachypoda)

Medical Uses: The root is used in both red and white baneberry. American Indians used red baneberry root tea for menstrual irregularity, postpartum pains, and as a purgative after childbirth; also used to treat coughs and colds.           Menominees used small amount of white baneberry root tea to relieve pain of childbirth, headaches due to eye strain. Once used for coughs, menstrual irregularities, colds, and chronic constipation; thought to be beneficial to circulation.

Magickal uses: none

Properties: Antispasmodic

Growth: Red baneberry is a perennial; 2 - 3 ft. tall. Similar to white baneberry, though the flower head is rounder, and the berries are red and on less stout stalks. It fruits from July to October.                                                                White baneberry is a perennial, 1 - 2 ft. tall. Leaves twice-divided, leaflets oblong, sharp-toothed. Flowers in oblong clusters on thick red stalks. Fleshy white berries with a dark dot at the tip; fruits July to October. Flowers April to June. It is found in rich woods. Southern Canada to northern New Jersey, West Virginia, west through Ohio and Iowa to South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, and Oregon.

All parts of white baneberry may cause severe gastrointestinal inflammation and skin blisters. Its use is not recommended. Red baneberry is poisonous. May cause vomiting, gastroenteritis, irregular breathing, and delirium. Its use is not recommended.

Barberry: Holy Thorn
(The Italians call it 'Holy Thorn' in the belief it formed part of Christ's crown of thorns)        

(Berberidis amerenis) Root, berries, juice                                                                                       

Medical Uses: As a laxative use a slightly rounded teaspoon of the root "tea" drunk at bedtime, (boil 1 half teaspoon of the chopped root in eight ounces of water for ten minutes). This same dosage is used as a hangover cure. The flowers are excellent as a skin dressing. A teaspoon of the berries in tea can be used for fevers, as a laxative, and for gum inflammations. The berries must be ripe when used and are taken for fever or diarrhea, dysentery, or typhus fever.   The fresh juice is used for a mouthwash to strengthen gums or to gargle.                                                                 The root-bark contains berberine, a bitter alkaloid, that aids in the secretion of bile and is good for liver problems, acts as a mild purgative, and helps regulate the digestive processes. Barberry is believed to have the ability to reduce an enlarged spleen.                                                                                                                                                   
Barberry decreases heart rate, depresses the breathing, stimulates intestinal movement, reduces bronchial constriction, and kills bacteria on the skin.

Do not use if pregnant

Magickal uses: None

Properties: Tonic, purgative, hepatic, antiseptic, alterative, refrigerant, anthelmintic, bacteriocide, aoebicidal.          Contains: Berberine alkaloid, chelidonic acid, resin, tannin, wax, berbamine, berberrubine, columbamine, hydrastine, jatrorrhizine, manganese, oxycanthine, palmatine, and vitamin C.

Growth: A deciduous, spiny bush to 10-15 feet which is native to Europe and naturalized in the United States, but found growing in temperate climates worldwide. Stems woody, upright and branched, smooth, slightly grooved, brittle with a white pith and a with ash-colored bark. Flowers are small and yellow and appear in drooping clusters in April-May, followed by red fruit (berry) about 1/2" long, oblong, slightly curved, highly acidic, which is also used like raisins when dry.
Gather the root in spring or fall. Use only ripe berries.

Decoction: use 1/2 to 1 tsp. root bark with 1 cup water. Boil briefly, then steep for 5 minutes. Take 1/2 to 1 cup during the day, a mouthful at a time.

Tincture: take 3-7 drops, 3 or 4 times a day, in water.

                 Barley: Pearl Barley      

                  (Hordeum vulgare)

Medicinal Uses: Barley is the most alkaline of the cereals and is rich in magnesium. Contains the alkaloid "hordenine" which is diuretic and mildly relaxing. Barley water used for coughs, poor appetite, recurrent diarrhea in children, catarrhal inflamed bowel, stomach irritation and digestion during convalescence.                                                                 Barley is used to clean out the arteries and valves around the heart that have become clogged with fat buildup.         
It is used for urinary cystitis particularly in females ( Boil till soft and strain the liquid and flavor with a little lemon juice or cinnamon or fresh fruit juice.) Barley water is a skin freshener which cleanses and softens the skin. To make;  simmer 3 tbsp. barley in 3 cups water for an hour. Strain and cool. Rinse off face after using and refrigerate the barley water.

Magickal uses: Use Barley when performing Love, Healing, or Protection spells. Feminine. A toothache can be cured with barley. To free yourself from pain, wrap a straw of barley around a stone while visualizing the pain into the stone. Next throw the stone into a river (or any running water) and see your pain ‘being washed away’. Scatter on the ground to keep evil and negativity away. Venus (Deity)

Properties: demulcent, digestant, carminative, nutritive, tissue healing, expectorant, abortifacient, febrifuge, stomachic, tonic, , soothes irritated tissues, stimulates appetite, suppresses lactation.

Contains Amylase, invertase, dextrin, phospholipid, riboflavin, pyridoxine, maltose, glucose, Iron, sulfur, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, protein, vitamin B1,

Growth: An annual grass growing to a height of 1½ to 3 feet. The stout simple stem (culm) is hollow and jointed. The narrow tapering leaves with pronounced 'ear' appendages are alternate and arise on stems in 2 ranks. They form loose sheaths around the stem. The flowers appear in bristly terminal spikes.

Not to be fed to nursing mothers; suppresses lactation.

Barley Water

Method 1 = Add 10 parts washed pearl barley to 100 parts water and boil for 20 minutes. Strain. Dose is 1 to 4 oz.

Method 2 = Boil 2 oz pearl barley for a few minutes in a little water; then strain and add barley to 4 pints of boiling water and boil till water is reduced to 2 pints. Add lemon juice or raisins (if desired) 10 minutes before cooking is completed.

Method 3 = Soak 1/2 lb. barley in 1 quart water for 12 hours or simmer till soft. Strain and sweeten with honey if desired. Give several cups per day.

Method 4 = Wash 2 oz. of barley, then discard the water. Boil briefly in 1 pint of water, then discard the water again. Place barley in 4 pints of water and add lemon peel; boil down to 2 pints; strain and add 2 oz of honey to the water.

Method 5 = 4 oz. whole barley, 2 oz honey, lemon peel (washed), 1/2 lemon. Add 1 pint of water to the barley, lemon and lemon peel. Simmer till soft, then remove from heat and let stand. Strain and add honey.

Compound Barley water - 2 pints barley water, 1 pint hot water, 2½ oz. sliced figs, 1/2 oz sliced and bruised licorice root, 2½ oz. raisins. Boil down to 2 pints and strain.

Barley Broth -  Simmer 1 cup of barley in 6 cups of water. Bring water to boil for 2 minutes, then let stand for 15 minutes. Strain out barley and set aside. The water should be drunk during convalescence. The barley can also be eaten (can be blended with honey to give a pudding-like flavor).

Decoction  -  Wash 2 oz. of barley with cold water, then boil in 1 cup of water for a few minutes. Discard water and boil barley in 4 pints of water till reduced to 2 pints. Strain and use.


                Basil: Sweet basil                            

                    (Ocimum basilicum)

Medicinal Uses: Basil is used to treat stomach cramps, vomiting, fevers, colds, flu, headaches, whooping cough, and menstrual pains. It is also used to reduce stomach acid, making it a valuable part of any treatment for ulcers, and a valuable addition to any recipe using tomatoes for those with sensitive stomachs. Dried leaves in the form of snuff have been used for nervous headaches.
Externally, it can be used for insect bites, to draw out the poisons. It has been used in other countries to eliminate worms from the intestines, and the oil from basil leaves is applied directly to the skin to treat acne. Externally it is also used to soothe blood-shot eyes.

Magickal uses:  Basil protects from evil and negativity, and aids in attracting and keeping love. It is used for purification baths, and in wealth and prosperity rituals. In Eastern Europe it was believed that a man would fall in love with a woman that he accepted a sprig of basil from. For this reason it is used to mend lover’s quarrel and in love spells. Add to incense and sachets or rub the fresh leaves against your skin as a natural love perfume. To divine the future of your romantic relationship, place two fresh leaves on a live coal. If they remain where you put them and turn to ash quickly, the marriage (or relationship) will be harmonious. If there is crackling, there will be quarrels. If the leaves fly apart and fierce crackling, then it is most undesirable relationship. To know if your mate is faithful place a sprig on their hand. If it immediately withers there is infidelity. To attract money carry it in your pocket or place in you cash register drawer to bring customers. Where basil is, evil is not. Use in exorcism incenses and in purification baths. Give as a gift to bring luck to the new home.

Properties: Antispasmodic, antidepressant, antiseptic, stimulant, tonic, febrifuge, diaphoretic, nervine, antibacterial, expectorant, appetizer, carminative, galactagogue, stomachic. Contains Essential oil, estragol with linalon, lineol, tannin, and camphor.

Growth:  Basil will grow in any well-drained, fairly rich soil, and full sun. It can be grown throughout most of North America. It is an annual, which reaches 2-3 feet tall. Pinch off the tips to promote bushiness and flower buds to maintain growth. The two-lipped flowers, varying in color from white to red, sometimes with a tinge of purple, grow in racemes from June to September.

Basswood: American linden, American basswood

(Tilia americana L.) Bark, leaves and flowers, dried in the shade.

Basswood is used as a  remedy for colds, flu, coughs, fever, headaches, epilepsy, indigestion, and sore throats. The inner bark contains mucilaginous materials and makes a soothing application for skin irritations, boils, wounds, sores, and burns. It is a relaxing remedy for nervous tension. Also used as a prophylactic against the development of arteriosclerosis and hypertension. Also used in the treatment of raised blood pressure associated with arteriosclerosis and nervous tension. In raised blood pressure it may be used with Hawthorn and European Mistletoe, with Hops in nervous tension and with Elder Flower in the common cold.

Magickal uses: none  

Properties: Diaphoretic, stomachic, anti-spasmodic, hypotensive, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, astringent. Bark: emollient. Contains volatile oil (farnesol), flavonoids; hesperidin, quercitin, astralagin, tiliroside and others, mucilage (in the bract), phenolic acids and tannins.

Growth: Basswood is commonly found in mixed northern hardwood forests and prefers moist but slightly drained fertile soils. Basswoods typically reach a height of between 50 to 80 feet; the trunk having a diameter of 2 to 3 feet. The flowers (Jun-Aug) of the tree are white and speckled with yellow and purple. The leaves turn russet in the autumn. The brownish-gray bark is perpendicularly, but not deeply, fissured. The cordate, serrate leaves are from 4-7 inches long have pointed tips and heart-shaped bases; clusters of yellow-white fragrant flowers (1/2 inch wide) with 5 sepals and petals and numerous stamens cohering in groups, grow on long stalks from narrow bracts, appear in June and August; they are followed by small round nutlets. The fruits or seeds are about the size and shape of a pea and are commonly called "monkey-nuts".

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. flowers or leaves in 1 cup water. Take 1-2 cups a day.

Frequent consumption of flower tea may cause heart damage.

Bay: Bay Laurel,  Noble Laurel, Roman Laurel, Sweet Bay    

            (Laurus nobilis) Leaves, berries, oil

The leaves, berries and oil have excitant and narcotic properties. Bay is  well known for it's ability to relieve the aches and pains associated with rheumatism, and for sprains, bruises, and skin rashes.  Distill an oil from the leaves and rub on the affected areas, or make an ointment to rub into affected areas. Heat leaves in a little olive oil to make a bay oil salve for arthritis and aches.                                                                                                                        Used externally as a poultice on the chest for bronchitis and coughs. The Berries have are considered useful in the for suppressed menstruation and womb problems, as well as being taken during childbirth when the delivery is imminent to help expel afterbirth. Lesser doses are diaphoretic while large doses are emetic.

Magickal Uses: The leaves are burned to enhance psychic powers and to produce visions. Place beneath the pillow for prophetic dreams and inhale for visions. Worn in an amulet, it will provide protection from evil and negativity. The leaves are used as decorations during the Yule season, and placed in your window it will protect against lightning striking your house. Write a wish on a bay leaf and then burn it if you want the wish to come true. Sprinkling the crushed leaves in your cupboards will keep out cockroaches and other insect pests. To ensure lasting love, a couple should break a twig off the tree, then break the twig in two and each keep a half. If worn during competition, it gives strength to those in wrestling and athletic sport.

Properties: Astringent, bitter, carminative, diuretic, emetic, emmenogogue, narcotic, nervine, aromatic, stimulant, digestive aid, locally antiseptic, antiparasitic, expectorant. Contains parthenolides. The plant also contains tannic acid and bitters.         

Growth: A slow growing, pyramidal, perennial evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region and Asia Minorwhich can reach a height of 40 to 60 feet. The bark is smooth and olive green to a reddish hue. The evergreen leaves are smooth, shiny, dark, aromatic, and alternate with short stalks and lanceolate 3 to 4 inches long, the margin being smooth and wavy. The flowers are inconspicuous, small, creamy yellow, having no petals, unisexual, composed of 4-lobed calyxes which are greenish-yellow in small umbels from the leaf axils. One-seeded fruit is purple to black, but when dried the berries (1/2" diameter) are black and aromatic.

Bayberry: Candleberry, Wax Tree, Tallow Shrub, Myrtle  

(Myrica cerifera) Root, leaves

Medicinal Uses: Bayberry, taken in small doses, increases the vitality of your total body systems, improving circulation. Bayberry is excellent as an emetic after narcotic poisoning of any kind. It is good to follow the bayberry with an emetic, such as lobelia.                                                                                                                                                   It can also be used as a poultice over varicose veins to strengthen the blood vessels.                                                    
A douche made of the tea is used for vaginal infections.                                                                                                     Tea made of Bayberry is a good gargle for sore throat and tonsillitis. Leaf tea was used for fevers, sore throats, bronchitis, cholera, typhoid, epilepsy, indigestion, hemorrhoids, and externally as a wash for itching.                            The Choctaw Indians boiled the leaves and drank the decoction as a treatment for fever.                                             The root bark is used in tea as an astringent and emetic for chronic gastritis, diarrhea, dysentery, leukorrhea, mouthwash for sore, bleeding, or sensitive gums, and is good for circulation, catarral states of the alimentary tracts, jaundice, scrofula, bowel inflammation, excessive menstrual bleeding and uterine discharge, and indolent (hard to heal) ulcers. For gangrenous sores, boils, or carbuncles, use as a wash and poultice, or apply the powdered bayberry to the infection.

Magickal uses: The oil of Bayberry will bring prosperity and luck. Candle wax is produced from the fruits.

Properties: Stimulant, astringent, emetic, antispasmodic, alterative, expectorant, diaphoretic, tonic. Leaves are aromatic, stimulant. Contains Volatile oil, starch, lignin, albumen, gum, tannic and gallic acids, acrid and astringent resins, an acid resembling saponin. As well as triterpenes, including taraxerol, taraxerone and myricadiol, flavonoids such as myricitrin, and misc. tannins, phenols, resins and gums.

Growth: Bayberry is a coarse, stiff, shrub or small, slender, tree; to 3-8 feet. Bark is brownish-gray and smooth; leaves narrow at the base. Young branches are waxy. The leaves are oblong to lance-shaped, 1-4 inches long, reduced at the tip of the branches, often sparingly toothed, dark green and shiny above, paler and sometimes hairy beneath; leathery, evergreen, with waxy globules. Flowers appear in early spring, March and April, before or with the new leaves. The fruits are borne against the stems, 1/8 inch across. The green berries are covered, when mature, with a pale blue, lavender or grayish-white aromatic wax in microscopic rounded particles used in making candles which burn with a pleasing fragrance. Bayberry is found in Sandy swamps, thickets, marshes and wet woodlands from southern New Jersey to Florida, Texas to Arkansas. Also in the West Indies.

Tea: steep 1 tsp. in 1 pint of boiling water for 30 minutes. Use as a gargle for sore throat or for chills (drink 1/2 cup warm every hour until relief).

Extract: mix 10-20 drops in juice or water.

Mouthwash: gargle with liquid mixture made of extract or powder as needed.

Powder: mix 1/2 to 1 tsp. in 1 cup warm water.

Tincture: 1/2 to 1 tsp. is taken in a small glass of water, 2 or 3 times daily.

Externally: rub liquid mixture on varicose veins or hemorrhoids as needed.

               Bean: Green Bean, Pinto Bean, Navy Bean, String Bean  

                             (Phaseolus vulgaris) Bean pod

Medicinal Uses: Phaseolus vulgaris (kidney bean) is indigenous to the Americas, being unknown to the rest of the world before Columbus. This species includes the common green bean as well as wax beans, and various dried beans such as red kidney, pinto, and navy.                                                                                                                                            Bean pods are effective in lowing blood sugar levels and can be used (with the concurrence of a doctor) for mild cases of diabetes. A bean pod diet for this purpose would mean eating 9-16 lb. of pods per week (they can be cooked like vegetables). The pods are most effective before the beans are ripe, and fresh pods are more effective than dried. Dried pods are particularly to be used in conjunction or rotation with other efficacious herbs, such as bilberry, milfoil, dandelion, and juniper. These can be taken alone or mixed, as a tea. Bean pod tea is useful for dropsy, sciatica, chronic rheumatism, kidney and bladder problems, uric acid accumulations, and loss of albumin in the urine during pregnancy. Externally, promotes healing of ulcers and sores. Prolonged use of the decoction made from the beans is recommended for difficult cases of acne. Bean meal can also be applied directly to the skin for moist eczema, eruptions, and itching. Wash the skin every 2-3 hours with German chamomile tea and apply new meal. Use anywhere from 2 tbsp. to 3 handfuls of dried small-cut pods with 1 qt. water. Boil for 3 hours. Take 1/2 to 3/4 qt. per day.

Magickal uses: The bean’s white flower is sacred to the Goddesses of old Europe. Only the highest-ranking priestess in Scotland could plant or eat the bean. In Rome, on June 1st, beans along with pork were offered to Cardea. They are used as a charm against sorcerers. They are used in rattles to ‘scare’ away spirits. To end quarreling, a woman should carry three lima beans strung on a silk thread for two days. Beans cure impotency if carried or eaten.

Properties: Diuretic

Growth: The Kidney bean is an annual, twining plant; the leaves are alternate, each leaf consisting of 3 broad-ovate to rhombic-ovate, entire, pointed leaflets. The white, yellow or purplish flowers grow in sparse, axillary clusters. The fruit is a green or yellow pod; the color of the seeds, or beans, depends on the variety. Diverse as they are, all the beans named above are varieties of the kidney bean. The dry beans are picked when mature, the others at various stages of maturity.


                                 Big BlueStem: Bluejoint beardgrass, turkeyfoot

                                                                       Andropogon furcatus

Medicinal Uses: Big Bluestem is analgesic, carminative and diuretic. A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of stomach-aches and flatulence. A tea made from the leaves is used as a wash to relieve fevers and general debility. Chippewa Indians used the root of big bluestem as a diuretic and to alleviate stomach pains. An extract of the leaf blades were used as a wash for fevers or as an analgesic.

Magickal Uses: None

Properties: Crude protein

Growth: Big bluestem is a perennial warm-season grass. It is found in dry soils, prairies, open ground and open woods. It is a perennial plant that flowers from July to August. It can be distinguished from other warm-season grasses by the blue coloration at the base of the culm and purplish, 3-parted flower clusters that resemble a turkey’s foot. The culms are erect, up to 3 m tall, stout, and are usually covered with a blue-tinted waxy layer. The leaf blades are flat, 15-60 cm long, 0.5-1 cm wide, smooth below and rough above. The inflorescence is typically composed of three spike-like racemes, but can have as many as seven. The racemes bear paired spikelets that are about 1 cm long.
Big bluestem is native to the United States. It is found in southern Canada, from Maine to Montana, south to Florida and New Mexico and on into Mexico.
Roots of well established plants may reach depths of 7 to 8 feet.

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