Whispering Woods Herbal Grimoire

Section - B2

Herb description List: Blessed Thistle, Bloodroot, Blue Cohosh, Blue Flag, Boneset, Borage, Broom, Buckthorn, Burdock 

Blessed Thistle: Holy Thistle, Bitterweed, Spotted Thistle 

(Cnicus benedictus) Herb

"Monks once grew blessed thistle as a cure for small pox"                                                               

Medicinal: Blessed Thistle is used to strengthen the heart, and is useful in all remedies for lung, kidney, and liver problems. It acts as a liver tonic and supports in conditions of liver congestion, jaundice and hepatitis.                              It is best used for indigestion, chronic headaches, diarrhea and in recovery from long-term illness through improved appetite. It is also used as a brain food for stimulating the memory. It is also used in remedies for menopause and for menstrual cramping. Often used by lactating women to stimulate blood flow to the mammary glands and increases the flow of milk.                                                        
Blessed Thistle is also highly recommended for digestive troubles. It is useful against headache, especially migraine. Blessed Thistle is believed to have great power in the purification and circulation of the blood. It is such a good blood purifier that drinking a cup of thistle tea twice a day will cure chronic headaches.                                        

Try a combination tea of Blessed Thistle, peppermint, elder flower and ginger for cold, fever and backache.

Magickal uses: Properties: Blessed Thistle is masculine and ruled by the planet Mars. Its astrological sign is Aries and its element is Fire. It is sacred to Thor, Minerva, Pan. Cunningham says that "Wizards in England used to select the tallest thistle in the patch to use as a magical wand or walking stick". It is used to communicate with the spirit realm. Throw onto a fire to protect the house from lightning. Drives out melancholy when worn or carried. Crush a flower and see what color the juices are: Red, your love has a heart full of love for you. White, they don’t love you. If you have a plant growing indoors bury a coin in the soil to prevent the negative vibrations this plant brings indoors.

Properties: anti-inflammatory

Growth: Blessed thistle is an annual, branched, woolly plant, with a fibrous, whitish root, sending out several rounded, reddish stems. Blessed Thistle is generally found along roadsides and in wastelands. It is an annual, and reaches to 2 feet tall. Most folks consider this a pesky weed, so cultivation is not common.

Do not use during pregnancy. Should be avoided by those suffering from stomach ulcers.

                          Bloodroot: Sweet Slumber, Indian Paint, Red Root

                                        (Sanguinaria canadense) Dried rhizome

Medicinal Uses: Used by Native Americans to induce vomiting and as an expectorant; the orange juice of the plant was dripped onto lumps of maple sugar and taken for coughs and colds. Used to treat bronchial, respiratory tract and throat infections, including bronchial asthma (combined with Lobelia inflata), chronic bronchitis, bleeding lungs, pneumonia (1 to 2 drops tincture repeated often through day), whooping cough, croup, laryngitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, sinus congestion, catarrh, scarletina, and colds, as well as to improve peripheral circulation and for sluggish liver, scrofula, jaundice, dyspepsia,, and dysentery.                         
Externally the sap, or liquid extract of the root, was applied directly for sores, eczema, ringworm, ulcers (especially those associated with varicose veins), warts (combined with Chelidonium majus), and other skin problems.                  Used to treat gingivitis; the extract is found in toothpaste and mouthwash; sanguinarine has the ability to prevent dental plaque and gum disease. It may be used as a snuff in the treatment of nasal polyps.

Used  in very small doses as overdose can be fatal. Excessive use depresses the Central Nervous System. Not to be used by pregnant or lactating women. Seeds are extremely dangerous! Contain a violent narcotic which produces fever, delirium, dilated pupils and other symptoms of poisoning.

Magickal uses: Ruled by Venus and its astrological sign is Scorpio. Wear or carry the root to draw love and to avert evil spells and negativity. Place near doors and windows to protect the home. The darkest red roots are considered the best and the ones known as ‘King root’ or ‘He root’.

Properties: This herb affects heart, lungs, liver. It is bitter (extremely so), acrid, alterative, warming, cathartic, emetic, expectorant, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, nervine, sialagogue, slows heart rate (once used in cases of palpitations and rapid pulse), locally anesthetic, antifungal, antibacterial.

Contains Sanguinarine, protopine (also found in opium), allocryptopine, orysanguinarine, homochelidonine, sanguindimerine, cholerythine, chelerythrine, berberine, whelidonine, chelidone acid, red resin, starch.

Growth: Flower (closes at night or on overcast days) is solitary, waxy white with 8 to 10 petals (2 to 4 inches across), growing in a whorl, and with golden-yellow stamens and a lightly cup-shaped corolla; leaves are deeply cleft, palmate, with orange veins beneath the paler underside, on a single stem which arises from a bud at the end of the thick, horizontal rhizome and which clasps the flower bud in the early stages of growth; fruit is a 1 inch long, 2-valved seed pod containing a number of reddish-brown, oval seeds.

Decoction: 1 tsp dried root in 1½ cup water, steeped 30 minutes; strained and cooled; 1 tsp traditionally taken 3 times daily, up to 6 times, as expectorant.

Ointment: 1 oz. dried root in 3 oz lard; brought to boil, then simmered several minutes; strain.

Dye: Ratio: 8 oz. chopped root to 4¼ gallons water.

Fresh rootstock yields red juice for dye which will give orange to orange-red with no mordant; rust with alum and cream of tartar; reddish-pink with tin.

                                                     Blue Cohosh: Blue ginseng                  

                                                               (Caulophylum thalictroides)

Medicinal Uses: Blue Cohosh is used to regulate the menstrual flow.
It is also used for suppressed menstruation. Native Americans used this herb during childbirth to ease the pain and difficulty that accompany birthing, as well as to induce labor. This herb should not be taken during pregnancy, and should be taken in very small amounts in conjunction with other herbs, such as Black Cohosh.                                           Elevates blood pressure and stimulates uterine contractions of childbirth and stimulates the small intestine, and enhances symptoms of hyperglycemia. Good for hiccough, whooping cough, spasms, and epilepsy.

Blue Cohosh should not be used during pregnancy until the last 2 to 3 weeks before confinement; it is a uterine stimulant.

Magickal uses: none

Properties: Stimulant, sedative, sudorific (produces sweat), tonic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, parturient, emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow), anthelmintic (destroys intestinal worms), demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, oxytocic (stimulates uterine contractions).

Contains Calcium, coulosaponin, gum, inositol, iron, leontin, magnesium, methylcystine, phosphoric acid, phosphorus, potassium, salts, silicon, starch, and vitamins B3, B5, B9, and E.

Growth: Blue Cohosh grows best in deep, loamy, moist woodlands.  It has a range from southern Canada, as far south as the Carolinas, and as far west as Missouri. Found in eastern North America, near running streams, around swamps, and in other moist places. Blue Cohosh is a hardy perennial plant 3 feet in height; the round, simple, erect stem grows from a knotty rootstock and bears a large, sessile, tri-pinnate leaf whose leaflets are oval, petiole, and irregularly lobed. Smooth-stemmed, stem and leaves covered with bluish film. The 6-petaled, yellow-green flowers are borne in a raceme or panicle. April to June before leaves expand. The fruit is a pea-sized, dark blue berry on a fleshy stalk. Blooms in May or June and the berries ripen in August.

Infusion: use 1 oz. rootstock with 1 pint boiling water; steep for 1/2 hour. Take 2 tbsp. every 2 to 3 hours, in hot water.

            Blue Flag: Blue Iris, Fleur-de-lis, Water flag                       

                                      (Iris versicolor L.)

Medicinal Uses: Used externally for skin problems, wounds (infected) and rheumatic and arthritic complaints. American Indians poulticed the root on swellings, sores, wounds, bruises, ulcers. The Indians also used blue flag for dropsy.                  
The root tea was used as a strong laxative, emetic, and to stimulate bile flow.                                                                Blue flag is said to be good for chronic vomiting, heartburn, chronic gastritis and enteritis, liver and gallbladder ailments, and catarrhal sinus problems. It is highly recommended for migraine, especially when caused by stomach disorders. This herb is used in the treatment of skin diseases, apparently aiding the skin by working through the liver, the main detoxifying organ of the body. It may be used in skin eruptions such as eczema and psoriasis.

This herb can cause death or other serious consequences.

Magickal uses: Carry in a pouch in order to attract money

Properties: Acrid, aromatic, alterative, reduces inflammation, diaphoretic, sialogogue, diuretic, laxative; stimulates liver and gall bladder, cathartic, diuretic, resolvent, sialagogue and vermifuge. Contains volatile oil, containing furfural, Iridin (or irisin), a glycoside, acids such as salicylic and isophthalic, a monocyclic C3l triterpenoid, gum, resin, and sterols.

Growth: Blue flag is a perennial, 1-3 ft. in height. and grows erect, has narrow, sword-shaped leaves and, from May to July, violet blue flowers streaked with yellow, green, and white. The sword-like leaves are similar to those of garden irises, with flowers violet-blue, sepals violet at outer edge; veins prominent, sheaths papery. It prefers wet, swampy locations.

                     Boneset: Agueweed, Feverwort, Sweating plant           

                                (Eupatorium perfoliatum) Dried aerial parts

Medicinal Uses:Boneset is one the best remedies for the relief of the associated symptoms that accompany influenza. It will speedily relieve the aches and pains as well as aid the body in dealing with any fever that is present. One to two tablespoons of the tincture in hot water is used for sweat therapy to break fevers. Taken cold, the infusion has tonic and mildly laxative effects. Taken warm, it is diaphoretic and emetic and can be used to break up a common cold, for intermittent fever, cough, and for the flu. Promotes sweating, and relaxes peripheral blood vessels. Also used for muscle cramps, sore throat, cough, headache and stuffy nose.

Boneset is emetic and laxative in large doses and may contain controversial and potentially liver-harming pyrrolizidine alkaloid.

Magickal uses: An infusion sprinkled around the house will drive away evil spirits and negativity. To break a hex or evil curse, fill a red flannel bag with equal parts ague weed, dog rose, and five finger grass when the moon is waning. Seal the bag. Consecrate and charge it. Carry the bag or wear it daily. Boneset is a feminine herb. Its ruling planet is Saturn and its element is Water.

Properties: Laxative, antispasmodic, expectorant, vasoconstrictor, cholagogue, cathartic, emetic, febrifuge, tonic, aperient, diaphoretic, diuretic, nervine, carminative, stimulant.                                                                              
Contains sesquiterpene lactones ; eupafolin, euperfolitin, eufoliatin, eufoliatorin, euperfolide, eucannabinolide and helenalin. Immunostimulatory polysaccharides, mainly 4-0-methylglucuroxylans. Flavonoids; quercitin, kaempferol, hyperoside, astragalin, rutin, eupatorin & others. And diterpenes - dendroidinic acid, hebenolide, sterols and volatile oil.

Growth: Boneset prefers damp to moist rich soils. It is a North American native perennial that reaches 2 to 4 feet high, and grows in partial sun.  The rough, hairy stem grows to a height of 1-5 feet from a horizontal, crooked rootstock. The leaves are 4-8 inches long, rough, serrate, and taper to a long point. Leaves perfoliate (stem appears to be inserted through the middle of leaf pairs), wrinkled. Terminal corymbs of numerous, fuzzy, white or pale purple flower heads are borne in dense, flat-topped clusters terminating the stems, blossoms appear in August and September. The fruit is a tufted achene. It is found in swampy areas, moist meadows, low-lying damp ground, wet woods, and along stream banks in eastern North America.

Infusion: use 1 level tsp. herb with 1 cup boiling water; steep for 30 minutes and strain. As a tonic, take cold, 1 tsp. 3-6 times a day.

A salve for external application may be made by combining equal parts of the powdered herb and Vaseline.


                          (Borago officinalis)  Leaves, flowers                                                                                                                                                                                           

Medicinal Uses: Used for treating bronchitis, rashes, and to increase mother's milk. Fresh
leaves are used in a salad to increase milk flow in nursing mothers.
The infusion is used as an eyewash.                                                                                                                                    
2 tsp. of dried leaves, or 1 tsp. of dried flowers, steeped in 1 Cup of boiled water is used for: bronchitis, depression, as a calmative, for diarrhea, to reduce fevers, relieve liver and kidney troubles.                                                             
An infusion is used as a face wash for dry skin and soggy leaves as a face pack for dry skin.                                        Used to reduce cough, sore throat and colds. Also used as an decongestant for the lungs. Useful in nervous conditions and is credited with antidotal effect against poisons.                                                                                         
Borage is recommended for pleurisy and peritonitis, heart, adrenal glands, and for the entire digestive system. The seeds are helpful for PMS. Borage will revive and renew the adrenal glands after a medical treatment with cortisone or steroids. Externally, a poultice of leaves applied to inflamed swellings helps ease the pain.

Magickal uses: Carrying the fresh blossoms brings courage. The tea will induce your psychic powers. Borage is masculine and is ruled by the planet Jupiter. It is of the Air element. Float Borage flowers in a ritual bath.

Properties: Aperient, diaphoretic, demulcent, febrifuge, galactagogue, pectoral, tonic.Contains mucilage, tannin, traces of essential oil. Seeds: Gamma Lineolinic Acid (GLA). Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, including lycopsamine, intermedine and their acetyl derivatives, with amabiline and supinine. As well as choline.

Growth: Borage was once widely planted in gardens throughout Europe. It was brought to the United States, and now grows wild in much of the eastern half of the nation. It is an annual that grows in most soils, tolerates dry spells, and prefers full sun, reaching to 2 feet in height.

Prolonged use of borage is not advisable.

Infusion: use 1 tsp. dried flowers or 2-3 tsp. dried leaves with 1/2 cup water; steep for 5 minutes and strain. Take for 1 week at a time.

                                      Broom: Scotch broom, Butcher's broom, Irish broom                  

                                                           (Cytisus scoparius L.)

Medicinal Uses: Broom is used for circulatory disorders, gout, leg cramps, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, phlebitis,
thrombosis, and jaundice. When used with uva-ursi, cleavers, and dandelion, it makes an excellent remedy for
cleansing the kidneys and bladder, and to increase the flow of urine. It is a cardiac depressant used to quiet an overactive heart.

Large doses can cause vomiting, purging, weakening heart, lowered nerve strength and low blood pressure. Large doses have been reported to cause fatal poisoning.

Magickal uses: Broom is a masculine herb ruled by the planet Mars. It is associated with the element of Air. Carry bunches of green broom tied up in colorful ribbons at weddings. Use stalks to clean ritual area. Broom is one of the nine fairy herbs, and a cologne prepared from its flowers is said to inspire affection. Broom is a shamanic herb that is smoked prior to meditation. Store the flowers in a sealed container for 10 days until dry prior to use. Throw into the air and invoke the spirits of Air to raise the wind, or burn and bury the ashes to calm the wind.

Properties: The tops are cathartic and diuretic. The seed is cathartic and emetic. Broom contains alkaloids, hydroxylramine, 42% potash, and ruscogenins, tannin, bitter principle, and traces of an essential oil.

Growth: An attractive, evergreen shrub, it has bright green, almost leafless stems; erect green branches from which oval leaflets grow, with bright yellow pea-like flowers, much favored by butterflies, blooms in April to June. The height ranges from 3 to10 feet. The fruit is a brownish-black, shaggy pod contains 12-18 seeds. Requires full sun, prefers poor soil with perfect drainage.

The tops of young branches should be picked, and an infusion made using 3 tsp. to 3/4 pint of water. Dosage is a tbsp. night and morning.

Decoction: prepared from the root, boil 1 tsp flowering tops or seeds in 1 cup water. Dosage is a tbsp. night and morning. Or take 1 to 2 cups per day, a mouthful at at time.

                               Buckthorn: European black alder,

        (Rhamnus frangula) (Rhamnus cathartica) Bark, fruit

Medicinal Uses: Buckthorn berries are used as dye for different purposes. Picked unripe, the berries, kept dry, are called Sappe berries; steeped in alum water gives a yellow dye. Picked when they are black make a green dye if they are bruised and put in a brass or copper kettle for 3-4 days, some alum added and mixture heated a little, then dried. The third color is purple, made from berries ripened on the vine to maturity, usually until the end of November and are ready to drop off.                                                          
Rhamnus frangula L. is good for constipation without irritating the system, with no backlash as other purgatives do. Also used for the liver and gallbladder problems, colic, obesity, dropsy, and hemorrhoids. The bark steeped in red or white wine has laxative properties.  The dried, ripe berries of the common buckthorn were used as a purgative in the 9th century. The dried berries can be eaten or an infusion made from them has a purgative effect, even for chronic constipation.                                                                                                                                                                   
Taken hot, it induces perspiration and lowers fever. Small doses are mild laxative, helps eliminate toxins, treat gallstones, lead poisoning, gout, rheumatism, dropsy, ointment relieves itching, reduces fever if given hot, expels parasites and worms, skin diseases. The ointment is good for itching and applied externally; effective for treating warts. Fresh berries may be made into a syrup.

Magickal uses: According to Dioscorides branches placed near doors and windows drive away all enchantments and sorceries. Legend has that if you sprinkle buckthorn in a circle and then dance within it under a full Moon, an elf will appear. When you notice the elf you must say. “Halt and grant thy boon!” before the elf flees. The elf must then grant one wish. Carry or wear when involved in legal matters for general good luck.

Properties: Rhamnus frangula L. Purgative, diuretic, emetic, vermifuge (fruit is purgative). Rhamnus cathartica L.

Diuretic, purgative, alterative. Rhamnus cathartica L. contains various glycosides, rhamnoemodine and shesterine in the fruits; the bark contains rhamnicoside.

Growth: Buckthorn, a shrub 12 to 20 feet, or a tree to 25 feet; the spreading, thorn less branches have green bark when young, turning to brownish-gray when older. The light olive-green leaves are alternate, obviate, slightly toothed or entire, and glabrous. The 5-petaled, green flowers grow in auxiliary clusters, 2-6 flowers per axil. The fruit is a 3-seeded berry-like drupe that turns from green through red to purplish-black and has a greenish-brown pulp. Rhamnus frangula L. is found in Europe, Asia, and eastern United States; in hedges, thickets, at edges of woods. Rhamnus cathartica L. is found in swamps and damp places in northern and northeastern United States, as well as Europe.

                     Bugleweed: Sweet bugle, Gypsyweed    

                                   (Lycopus virginicus)

Medicinal Uses: Bugleweed is a specific for over-active thyroid glands, especially where the symptoms include tightness of breathing, palpitation and shaking. As a sedative cough reliever it will ease irritating coughs, especially when they are of nervous origin.                                                                            
Increases the strength of the heart beat and reduces the rate of the heartbeat. Also used for hyperthyroidism, palpitations, to lower blood sugar levels, tuberculosis and excessive menstruation. Considered to be one of the most valuable styptics (checks excessive bleeding).

Not to be taken by pregnant women or in cases of hypothyroidism.

Magickal uses: Crush a handful and put under your mattress to attract love or a marriage partner

Properties: Bitter, aromatic; inhibits thyroid stimulating hormones; controls bleeding, sedative, astringent and mildly narcotic. Contains phenolic acid derivatives; caffeic, rosmarinic, chlorogenic and ellagic acids, pimaric acid methyl ester, tannin and a volatile oil.

Growth: Bugleweed grows from six to 24 inches high. The stem is erect, obtusely angled, a typical member of the mint family, with square stems and opposing leaves. The root is typically creeping and perennial. The leaves on the upper part of the plant are toothed and lance-shaped, the lower ones wedge-shaped and with entire margins. The leaves have no hairs and are dotted with glands beneath. The flowers are whitish or tending towards purple, borne in clusters in the axils of the leaves; the calyx has four broad, blunt teeth and the corolla is four-lobed, purplish, with only two fertile stamens. The fruit is composed of four three-sided nutlets, truncate at the top and acute at the base, the lateral margins thickened.

Infusion: 1 oz. of dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water. Drink a glass at a time.

                                                            Burdock: Beggar's Buttons, Cockleburr 

                                                                         (Arctium lappa) Root, leaves

Medicinal Uses: Burdock Root is used to treat skin diseases, boils, fevers, inflammations, hepatitis, swollen glands, some cancers, and fluid retention.
It is an excellent blood purifier. A tea made of the leaves of Burdock is also used for indigestion. Very useful for building the systems of young women.
Helps clear persistent teenage acne if taken for three to four weeks.                                                                                    Used with dandelion root for a very effective liver cleanser and stimulator. Burdock is a blood purifier commonly used for skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis (the seeds are especially effective for skin disorders). An Infusion of leaves or root taken before meals is used to settle stomach and cleanse blood. The Burdock plant has a rich compliment of active medicinal compounds: antibacterial, antifungal, tumor-protective, inhibiting of cancer causing agents. For skin eruptions such as eczema, acne or boils, a decoction is taken by the cupful 2 to 3 times a day. An infusion is used as a face rinse to freshen skin.                                                                                                    
The leaves of burdock can be used fresh on poison ivy and oak rashes. The leaves also can be applied to sore feet. A root decoction of burdock has been reported useful in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and dropsy.

Magickal uses: Used to ward off all sorts of negativity, making it invaluable for protective amulets and sachets. Add to potpourri in the house. During the waning Moon, gather roots, dry and cut into small pieces then thread on a red thread to wear as a necklace. This is for protection. As a cure for gout, place the leaves on the soles of the feet.

Properties: The roots contain as much as 45% inulin, as well as alkaloids, essential oil, flavonoids, glycosides, mucilage, polyacetylenes, resin, tannins, and volatile oil. The seeds are rich in vitamins A and B and essential fatty acids . Both the seeds and the root have a demulcent quality that is soothing to the mucus membranes of the body. The leaves are generally less potent than the root and seed when used in medicinal preparations.

Growth: Burdock is a coarse biennial herb native to Europe and Asia, and naturalized throughout North America since its introduction by European settlers. Burdock has a deep primary root producing a large rosette of basal leaves in the first year that may grow as large as 1.5 ft long and nearly as wide. In the second year of growth, burdock shoots upward with a stout, grooved, branching stem. Leaf stalks are longer than the leaves, and each has a purple hue at the base that extends up the stalk along the inner groove and into the leaf veins. Stalks are hollow in common burdock. Leaves resemble those of rhubarb in size and shape. They are dark green on top and a downy, pale green on the underside. Flower heads are round and thistle-like, with numerous, small purple-hued, funnel-shaped blooms in mid-summer to early fall. Blossoms are surrounded by stiff, prickly, hook-tipped burrs that grasp and hold firmly to clothing and fur.

Fresh juice: grate fresh root and add half as much water. Squeeze out liquid. Drink 1 cup a day, mouthful at a time, spread out over the day. Fluid extract of the root - 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful

Decoction: 1 tsp. ground root to 1 cup of cold water. Let stand for 3 hours, then bring to a boil, simmer 10 - 15 minutes, use lid on pot, strain, Take 1 cupful spread out over the day . For chronic skin problems combine equally with Yellow Dock Root and follow the same instructions.

Seed: as a diuretic - 1/2 tsp boiled in water taken 2 to 3 times a day.

Fluid extract of the seed - 10 to 30 drops

Seed Oil: Follow instructions above and use at least 3 times a day.

Salve: One cup of burdock seed oil to one ounce grated beeswax, Keep on skin at all times if possible.

Leaf poultice for Burns: Cut off a fresh leaf, strip it of its stems. Soak for 5 minutes in cold water. Apply to the burn.
Change the Burdock leaf when it becomes warm.

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