Whispering Woods Herbal Grimoire
All information presented here is for reference only
Section R and S
Herb Identification: R, S - Red Raspberry, Rhubarb, Rose (Wild), Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Sassafras, Skullcap, Self Heal, Slippery Elm, Solomon's Seal, St. Johns wort, Sumac (Red), Sunflower, Sweet Woodruff
(Rubus idaeus) Leaves and fruit
Red Raspberry is one of the most proven female herbs. It strengthens the uterine wall
during pregnancy, reduces the pain of childbirth, and helps to reduce false labor pains.
After childbirth it is used to decrease uterine swelling and cut down on post-partum bleeding. It is used to ease menstrual cramps and to regulate the flow during menstruation. It is also good for vomiting in small children, and dysentery and diarrhea in infants. It has been recognized to be rich in astringent tannins that can have a beneficial effect on diarrhea.
It is also good for vomiting in small children, and dysentery and diarrhea in infants and children. The warm tea soothes sore throats, mouth ulcers and bleeding gums, and is applied to canker sores. It also strengthens and nourishes the male reproductive organs. Raspberry has also been recognized as a topical remedy for use on burns and wounds. The Chippewa's used the inner bark of the root to treat cataracts. It is also used for easing of mouth problems such as mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and inflammations. As a gargle it will help sore throats.
Magickal uses: Raspberries are served as a love-inducing food. Hang the branches (brambles) at the doors and windows for protection. It is also part of the funerary décor of the home, done to prevent the deceased from re-entering the home once it has left. During pregnancy carry the leaves to help alleviate the pains of childbirth.
Properties: Contains the alkaloid fragrine, ellagic acid, flavonoids including quercetin and kaempferol; tannins; polypeptides; and vitamin C, calcium, and other nutrients.
Growth: Red Raspberry is a biennial or perennial, depending on the variety, growing 3 - 6 feet tall. They need a cold winter and a long cool spring, so they do not do well in the South. They aren't too picky about soil, so long as they get plenty of water. It is a strong perennial with sparsely to copiously bristly and prickly branches, the bark mostly yellow to cinnamon-brown, peeling off in layers. Flowering branches non-glandular to more or less with bristly or stalked glands and otherwise with or without hairs. The leaves are alternate, palmately compound, 3-5 foliate; leaflets ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 5-15 cm (2-6 in) long; sparsely pubescent above, gray-woolly beneath; dark green above, pale below; rounded to cuneate at base; acuminate at apex; margins serrate or doubly serrate; stipules linear, tapering toward the apex. It is native to both North America and Europe. They are found in open woodland and stream sides.
Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. This may be drunk freely.
Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day
(Rheum palmatum) Root, dried
Medicinal Uses:The rootstock has a tendency to be both laxative and astringent,
depending on the amount used. It is specially useful in infantile stomach troubles and
looseness of the bowels. In fairly large doses it acts as a laxative. Helps disorders of
the colon, spleen, and liver.
Relieves headache, diarrhea, dysentery, in larger doses for constipation, jaundice, liver problems, skin inflammations, and hemorrhoids. Eliminates worms. Promotes healing of duodenal ulcers. Enhances gallbladder function. Antibiotic properties. In small doses, a cold extract of the rootstock used to stimulate appetite. Rhubarb root may color the urine yellow or red.
Do not use this herb is you are pregnant. Do not eat the leaves, they are poisonous.
Magickal uses: Serving rhubarb pie to your mate will help insure their fidelity. A piece of the root worn on a string around the neck will protect from stomach ailments.
Properties: Appetizer, alterative, astringent, antipyretic, aperient, purgative, tonic, hemostatic, anthelmintic, vulnerary. Contains: Flavone, gallic acid, glucogallin, palmidine, pectin, phytosterol, rutin, starch, and tannins, anthroquinones, chrysophanol, physcion, sennidine, rheidine, tetrarin, catechin, pectin, and oxalic acid in the leaves.
Growth: This species of rhubarb is a perennial herb which resembles the common garden rhubarb; the conical rootstock, which is fleshy and yellow inside, produces large, cordate, or almost orbicular, 7-lobed leaves on thick petioles that are from 12-18 inches long. A hollow flower stem, 5-10 feet high, also grows from the rootstock and is topped by a leafy panicle of greenish or whitish flowers.
Cold extract: soak the rootstock in cold water for 8-10 hours. For a laxative, take 1 tbsp. 2-3 times a day. For an appetizer, take 1 tsp. 2-3 times a day, shortly before meals.
Rootstock: for a laxative, take 1 tsp. powdered or chopped rootstock in 1/2 cup water. As an astringent for diarrhea, take 1/4 tsp. rootstock in 1/2 cup water. These are doses for one day.
Decoction: Put 1/2 - l teaspoonful of the root in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for l0 minutes. This should be drunk morning and evening.
Tincture: take 1-2ml of the tincture three times a day.
Medicinal Uses:The rose comes originally from Asia Minor, where it is cultivated
mostly in Bulgaria, Iran and India. Rosewater was prepared by the Arab
physician Avicenna (CE 980-1037) during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,
the rose was esteemed as a remedy for depression.
Rose hips are very nourishing to the skin, as well as containing vitamin C. It is used as a blood purifier, and for treatment of infections, colds, and flu. Rose petal syrup can be made by adding twice the petals’ weight of sugar and
infusing in hot water. Alternately, the fresh petals can be ground with a little boiling water and strained, and the liquid combined with honey. The resulting liquid is a natural laxative and a tonic for the stomach. Rose hips are particularly good for digestion and produce a diuretic effect without irritating the kidneys. Kidney stones or gravel; rose hips are used as a preventative or arrestant. Use for kidney and bladder inflammations. By eliminating uric acid accumulations, brier hips help in gouty and rheumatic complaints.
A decoction of crushed achenes is also sometimes used for fever and as a beverage tea. The rose hips should be gathered after the first frost. They will be red and ready for drying or making into jam. The jam or jelly is used for coughs. The dried hips are opened, the seeds and hairs removed, and the skins used for an excellent sore throat tea; use two teaspoons per cup of water and simmer for ten minutes. An infusion of the petals, one ounce to one pint of water, makes a soothing eye lotion; strain it first through cheesecloth.
Magickal uses: Rose water is used in gourmet dishes and in love potions. Petals are used in healing incense and sachets, and burned to provide a restful night's sleep. The essential oil is used in ritual baths to provide peace, love, and harmony within the self. The hips are strung like beads and worn to attract love. Rose petals sprinkled around the home will calm personal stress and upheavals in the home. Rose buds are added to bath water to conjure a lover. Place some in a red cloth bag and pin it under your clothes. Add red rose petals to healing formulas and spells. The rose is a Goddess her belonging to Venus and the Water element. The rose is an herb of love. A chaplet of roses or a single rose on the altar is powerful additions when performing love rituals. A tea made from the buds, which is drunk before bed will bring prophetic dreams. To answer the question, “which one”, take the green leaves from a rose. Inscribe the name of each of your lover on the leaves. The leaf that stays green the longest is the right one. Use in healing rituals. A cloth soaked in rosewater and placed on the temples will relieve headaches. Add to mixtures and potions for luck to add speed. Carry or place in the home for protection and peace Planted in the garden they attract fairies. It is also said that stolen rosebushes grow the best.
Properties: Astringent, carminative, diuretic, tonic. Contains Citric acid, flavonoids, fructose, malic acid, sucrose, tannins, vitamins A, B3, C, D, E, and P, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc
Growth: Roses of all varieties are adaptable to most soils as long as they have adequate water, and are occasionally fed through the growing season. There are varieties that will grow throughout North America. Plant them where you can enjoy their beauty and fragrance.
Infusion: use 1 to 2 tsp. hips (without seeds) with 1 cup boiling water.
Decoction: use 1/2 to 1 tsp. powdered achenes with 1 cup water. Boil until 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Drink in the course of the day.
Rose hip tea: Long served in northern Europe. Very high in vitamin C and good for daily use. The dried, finely chopped rose hips must be soaked in a small amount of water for 12 hours before using. The tea is made by simmering 1 tbsp. rosehips in 3 cups of water for 30-40 minutes. A small amount of dried hibiscus flowers makes a nice addition to this tea, giving it a lemony flavor and a very attractive burgundy color.
Rosemary: Compass Weed,, Sea Dew, Elf Leaf
Leaf, flower, oil
The name comes from the Latin ros, “dew”, and maris, “ocean”, meaning
“dew of the sea”. In the sixth century Charlemagne decreed that rosemary
should be grown in all the imperial gardens. Christian legend claims that flowers were originally white but were
turned varying shade of blue when Mary hung her blue cloak over a rosemary bush.
Medicinal Uses: Rosemary is a stimulant of the circulatory system. It is used to treat bites and stings externally. Internally it is used to treat migraines, bad breath, and to stimulate the sexual organs. The tea makes a mouthwash for bad breath. It is also used to treat nervous disorders, upset stomachs, and is used to regulate the menstrual cycle and to ease cramps. The oil benefits stomach and nerves. Use rosemary in salves for eczema, wounds, and sores. Mix the crushed leaves generously into meats, fish, potato salads, etc. at your next picnic to prevent food poisoning. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy as an inhalant and decongestant, and to enhance memory and clear concentration. It is also used in lotions to ease arthritis and muscle pain. It is a strong antiseptic, and good in shampoos and hair rinses. An infusion of the leaves has also been used, alone or with borax, as a scalp wash to prevent baldness. Steep the herb in white wine for a week and strain. Rub the rosemary wine into gouty or paralyzed limbs. Taken internally, the wine quiets the heart and stimulates the kidneys, brain, and nervous system. Rosemary tea relieves depression. The leaf and flowers are stimulating to the liver and the digestion. For this reason, rosemary is a classic herb for migraine headache when associated with liver or stomach torpidity. Rosemary increases the circulation and slightly raises the blood pressure. To make the tea, steep two teaspoons of the dried flowering tops in one cup of water for twenty minutes. Take one-fourth cup four times a day. Rosemary and coltsfoot are smoked as herbal tobacco to relieve asthma and lung conditions. Rosemary essential oil is often blended with cedar wood, geranium, ginger, lemon balm, myrtle and sweet basil.
When used as a tea, the dose should not exceed one cup per day. Overdose can cause fatal poisoning. Even small doses of Rosemary oil can cause stomach, kidney and intestinal problems, and large amounts may be poisonous. If you're pregnant, avoid using the herb altogether.
Magickal uses: Rosemary is an herb of consecration and purification from disease. As an herb of purification, rosemary can be a substitute for frankincense. Add it to incense and to the ritual chalice and distributed to guests. Burning it before performing magick will rid the area of negativity. It is carried in the hand during funerals and cast into the grave, as the coffin is lower into it. Rosemary or rosemary with juniper berries is burned as a protection from disease. Stuff healing poppets with rosemary for increased healing strength. Rub the hands with an infusion before beginning the healing process. Place it in books and drawers to repel moths. Place under the pillow or bed for restful sleep and protection from nightmares. Hang at the doors to repel thieves and disease. Wearing a chaplet improves the memory. The aroma of the wood preserves youth. Add it to the bath for this and its purifying qualities. Add to mixtures for love or lust. An answer may be divined by inhaling the smoke of rosemary. Wrap the powdered leaves in a piece of linen and wear on the right arm to be rid of depression and to generally improve the emotions. Rosemary in all of its forms is used for protection and banishment. Rosemary leaves under your pillow do away with evil spirits and bad dreams. It is hung on porches and doors to keep thieves out. Rosemary is grown to attract elves.
Properties: Stimulant, diaphoretic, carminative, nervine, aromatic, cephalic antispasmodic. Contains volatile oil: composed of borneol, camphene, camphor, cineole, limonene, linalool, isobutyl acetate, 3-octanone, terpineol, verbenol, flavonoids: apigenin, diosmetin, diosmin, genkwanin, 6-methoxygenkwanin, hispidulin, sinensetin, luteolin and derivatives. Rosmarinic acid and other phenolic acids, diterpenes such as picrosalvin (carnosol), carnosolic acid and rosmariquinone
Growth: Rosemary is a perennial that prefers mild climates, so it needs to be grown indoors where the winters are harsh, or very heavily mulched. It reaches 2-4 feet in height, and is tolerable of poor soils. Rosemary has narrow, needle-like leaves and lovely blue flowers. Cut back after flowering to keep it from becoming leggy. It is an evergreen shrub with numerous branches; ash-colored. scaly bark and bears opposite, leathery, thick leaves which are lustrous and dark green above and downy white underneath. They have a prominent vein in the middle and margins which are rolled down. The pale blue, sometimes white, relatively small, flowers grow in short axillary racemes, arranged in false whorls on the upper parts of the branches, blooming during April and May, or later in cooler climates.
Infusion: steep 1 tsp. dried flowering tops or leaves in 1/2 cup water. Take up to 1 cup per day.
Tea: prepare ordinary tea, put a pinch of ground ginger in the drink for variety. Drink 3 or 4 cups per day.
Tincture: a dose is from 5 to 20 drops.
Herb-of-Grace (Ruta) was reported by Aristotle to be believed by the Greeks to be potent against witchcraft. Rue is used in small amounts to expel poisons from the system, such as those from snake bites, scorpion, spider, or jellyfish bites.
Medicinal Uses:It should not be taken with meals, and it should never be used by
Juices from the fresh plant can cause the skin to blister. It is used internally and
externally as a remedy for tendonitis. Rue is native to Southern Europe. In ancient Greece and Egypt, rue was employed to stimulate menstrual bleeding, to induce abortion and to strengthen the eyesight.
The "rutin" contained in the plant helps to strengthen fragile blood vessels and alleviates varicose veins. Rue is also used due to its antispasmodic properties, especially in the digestive system where it eases griping and bowel tension. The easing of spasms gives it a role in the stopping of spasmodic coughs.
In European herbal medicine, rue has also been taken to treat conditions as varied as hysteria, epilepsy, vertigo, colic, intestinal worms, poisoning and eye problems. The latter use is well founded, as an infusion used as an eyewash brings quick relief to strained and tired eyes, and reputedly improves the eyesight.
The main uses for rue are to relieve gouty and rheumatic pains and to treat nervous heart problems, such as palpitations In women going through menopause. The infusion is also said to be useful in eliminating worms.
Magickal uses: The herb is used in sachets and amulets to ward off illness. The smell of the fresh, crushed herb will chase away thoughts or envy, egotism, and love gone wrong. Rue leaves placed on the forehead will chase away headacahes. Added to baths, rue drives away spells and hexes placed on you. Rue is said to grow best if it is stolen. A powerful herb of purification. Rue water (made fresh rue juice and morning dew) is sprinkled around a ritual site, or a branch of rue is used to sprinkle salt water. Rue brings protection and clears negativity. Add it to the bath to rid yourself of all hexes and curses. It is a good addition to mixtures and incenses used for exorcisms. The Romans ate it as a protection from evil, and carried to be safe from poisons, werewolves, and general evil. Rue is also a healing herb; on the forehead it relieves headaches. Worn around the neck it aids in recuperation and prevents future complaints. Sniffing fresh rue will clear the head, in matters of love, and improve mental abilities. An interesting note: toads do not like rue, so they will stay out of your garden (or that area of it) if rue is planted.
Properties: Antispasmodic, increases peripheral blood circulation, relieves eye tension. Contains volatile oil, 2-undecanone (50-90%), 2-haptanol, 2-nonanol, 2-nonanone, limonene, pinene, anisic acid, phenol, guiacol and others. Flavonoids such as quercitin and rutin. Coumarins: bergapten, daphnoretin, isoimperatorin, naphthoherniarin, psoralen, pangelin, rutamarin, rutarin, scopoletin and umbelliferone. Alkaloids: arborinine, g-fagarine, graveoline, graveolinine, kokusaginine, rutacridine. As well as lignans, in the root; savinin and helioxanthin.
Growth: The stem is woody in the lower part, the leaves are alternate, bluish-green, bi or tripinnate, emit a powerful, disagreeable odor and have an exceedingly bitter, acrid and nauseous taste. The greenish-yellow flowers are in terminal panicles, blossoming from June to September. The plant grows almost anywhere, but thrives best in a partially sheltered and dry situation.
Infusion: Steep 1 tsp. dried herb in 1/2 cup water. Take 1/2 cup a day.
Cold Extract: Soak 1 tsp. dried herb in 3/4 cup cold water for 10 hours and strain. Take 3/4 cup a day.
Tincture: A dose is from 5 to 20 drops.
Medicinal Uses: It was used in Crete in 1600 CE to clear throat inflammation, one of its most popular uses today. Sage is used to relieve excess mucous buildup. It is beneficial to the mind by easing mental exhaustion and by strengthening the concentrating abilities. In a lotion or salve, it is useful for treating sores and skin eruptions, and for stopping bleeding in all cuts. Sage is a drying agent for the body.
The tea of the leaf will dry up night sweats. breast milk, and mucus congestion. Two cups of sage tea a day for a week will dry up mother’s milk. It benefits the nerves and the menstrual cycle as well. Being astringent, it helps with diarrhea. Use it as a sore throat gargle and as a poultice for sores and stings. Use two teaspoons of the herb per cup of water, steep for twenty minutes and take a quarter cup four times a day. Tincture fifteen to forty drops, up to four times a day. Chewing the fresh leaves soothes mouth sores and sore throats, as will sage tea. As a gargle for throat conditions it combines well with Tormentil and Balm of Gilead. In dyspepsia it can be combined with Meadowsweet and Chamomile. It is good for all stomach troubles, diarrhea, gas, flu and colds.
As a hair rinse, it removes dandruff. Sage combined with peppermint, rosemary, and wood betony provides an excellent headache remedy. It aids in treating hot flashes, and is used as a deodorant.
There are concerns about the internal use of sage due to the presence of thujone. Small amounts over long periods of time, may cause increased heart rate and mental confusion. Very high amounts of thujone may lead to convulsions. Sage should not be used internally during pregnancy. Sage should be avoided when fever is present.
Magickal uses: Sage is used in healing amulets, incenses, and sachets, and is also used in the same manner for bringing prosperity. Sage burned at the altar or in sacred space consecrates the area. Burned in the home, it removes impurities and banishes evil, as well as providing protection. Tradition holds that those who eat sage become immortal both in wisdom and in years. Sage is used in wish manifestation, by writing the wish on the leaf and hide it under your pillow for three nights, if you dream of your wish it will come to pass, if not then bury the leaf; and to attract money. Sage absorbs negativity and misfortune. It drives away disturbances and tensions, and lifts the spirits above the mundane cares of life. Burn to consecrate a ritual space. Carry it as an herb of protection (usually in a small horn). Use it in the ritual bath and chalice.
A few interesting gardening tips about sage are: It is bad luck to plant sage in your own garden, have someone else do it for you. Always plant some other plant in with the sage. A full bed of sage without something else growing in with it will also bring bad luck. Sage draws toads to the garden.
Properties: Astringent, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, estrogenic, reduces sweating, tonic. Contains volatile oil, containing a and b-thujone as the major components, with cineole, borneol, camphor, 2-methyl-3-methylene-5-heptene and others. Diterpene bitters; picrosalvin (carnosol), carnosolic acid and others. Flavonoids; salvigenin, genkwanin, 6-methoxygendwanin, hispidulin, luteolin. Phenolic acids; rosmarinic, caffeic and labiatic. As well as Salviatannin, a condensed catechin.
Growth: Sage is an evergreen perennial, growing to 2 feet tall. It does best in sandy, limey soil in full sun. The leaves are grey-green to almost silver depending on the locality and season. The unselected types flower freely in summer producing showy blue, pink or white spikes. Sage grows naturally in areas from Spain to the Balkan peninsula and Asia minor.
Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the leaves and let infuse for 10 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Mouthwash: put 2 teaspoonfuls of the leaves in half a liter ( one pint) of water, bring to the boil and let stand, covered, for l5 minutes. Gargle deeply with the hot tea for 5-10 minutes several times a day.
Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Sassafras: Ague tree
Columbus is said to have sensed the nearness of land from the strong scent of sassafras. There is an old story that tells of the scent of sassafras carried out to sea by the wind; it helped Columbus to convince his mutinous crew that land was near.
Medicinal Uses:A hot infusion of dried root bark has been used to treat rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and as a wash for skin irritations, eczema, acne, and ulcers. Tea of the bark of the root was used by old timers as a spring tonic, to cleanse the blood. Good to flavor other herbs that have a disagreeable taste. Will relieve gas, ague, and colic. Taken warm, it is remedy for spasms. Good wash for inflamed eyes. Oil of sassafras is good for the toothache. Used as a wash, good for varicose ulcers. The bark of the roots contains a volatile oil that has anodyne and antiseptic properties. The powdered leaves are used in Louisiana to thicken soup.
Sassafras should be avoided by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Magickal uses: Sassafras is added to prosperity incenses. Carry it in the purse or wallet for this reason. It is also added to spells and sachets for healing.
Properties: Aromatic, stimulant, alterative, diaphoretic, diuretic, antiseptic. Contains a volatile oil, resin, wax, camphor, fatty matter, albumen, starch, gum, lignin, tannic acid, salts, and a decomposition product of tannic acid known as sassafrid.
Growth: Sassafras officinale is a small tree with green twigs and large simple or lobed leaves. It grows to 40 ft tall and10 in. in diameter with a narrow crown. The bark is thick, gray to brown, deeply furrowed. The twigs are thin, usually greenish, smooth, glabrous. The buds are rounded, greenish, covered with four scales. The leaves are variable, entire or with 2 or 3 lobes, elliptical in outline, 3-5 in long and 1.6-4 in. wide, shiny green above and paler below. The flowers are small, yellowish green, clustered at end of leafless twigs in early spring. The fruits are elliptical blue-black berries about 0.4 in. long in a red cup on a long red stalk, ripening in Fall. Sassafras is native to about the eastern half of the U. S. It is found scattered in upland and bottomland forests, often forming thickets in abandoned fields and other disturbed areas.
Take no more than a week at a time.
Infusion: steep 1 tsp. bark of root in 1 cup of water. Take 1 cup per day.
Tincture: A dose is 15 to 30 drops.
I personally place a large root in a large pot of water and boil until the water has become dark red. I then sweeten it to taste. (Crick)
Self Heal: Carpenter's weed, Sicklewort, Wound wort
The whole plant
Medicinal Uses: The tea of the plant helps heal internal wounds; as a wash or poultice, for external wounds, bruises, ulcers, and sores. Used as a gargle for throat irritations, cold mouthwash for bleeding gums, including pharyngitis, and for stomatitis, canker sores, and thrush. Useful for hemorrhage and diarrhea. Excellent for convulsions and seizures, epilepsy, hepatitis, jaundice, headache, high blood pressure, fluid retention, edema, fevers, and will expel worms. Mixed with honey in a simple infusion, it is also excellent for sore throats. Steep two teaspoons of the herb in one cup of boiled water for twenty minutes. The dose is one-fourth cup, four times a day. Self-heal is applied in poultices and salves to external ulcers and wounds and is taken as a tea to heal internal injuries and to recover from surgery. As an astringent, the herb is helpful for diarrhea when taken as a tea and for hemorrhages when used both internally and externally. It has been used to lower fevers and in hepatitis, jaundice, high blood pressure and edema. The Chinese value it for its anti-tumor properties. In 1988, it was reported that Prunella vulgaris and Selaginella doederleinii (a Lycopodium) demonstrated an antimutagenic effect of over fifty percent in salmonella bacteria that had been exposed to picrolonic acid or benzopyrene. Prunella vulgaris was found to contain antimutagenic factors against both directly and indirectly induced mutations. In another 1989 study, an anti-HIV compound was isolated from infusions of P. vulgaris. Chang and Yeung reported in 1988 that water infusions of P. vulgaris and other herbs used in Chinese medicine inhibited the in vitro growth of HIV virus. (Prunella had long been known to traditional Chinese herbalists as an anti-infective agent.) In China a tea made from the flowering plant is considered cooling, and was used to treat the liver and aid in circulation; used for conjunctivitis, boils, and scrofula; diuretic for kidney ailments. Research suggests the plant possesses antibiotic, hypotensive, and antimutagenic qualities. Contains the antitumor and diuretic compound ursolic acid.
Avoid use if hypertensive.
Magickal uses: Druids gather self-heal in a manner similar to that used for vervain (Verbena officinalis). It is picked when the Dog Star is rising, at night, during the dark of the moon. It is dug up by the roots with a golden sickle and then held aloft in the left hand. After prayers of thanksgiving are said, the flowers, leaves, and stalks are separated for drying. Place self-heal on the altar when working healing magick. And be sure to leave a gift for the Earth to compensate for her loss when you pick this precious herb. Self-heal is an herb of Venus.
Properties: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, bitter tonic, cholagogue, diuretic, styptic, vermifuge, vulnerary. Contains Ursolic acid, essential oil, bitter principle, oleanolic acid, rutin, caffeic acid, hyperoside, vitamins A, C, B1, K and tannin
Growth: Self heal, is a low perennial plant to 1 foot tall; the slender, creeping rootstock produces ascending or procumbent stems which grow from 1-3 feet in height. These slightly hairy, square, grooved stems may be solitary or in clusters. Entire or slightly toothed, the petioled, opposite leaves are ovate to oblong-lanceolate in shape. Tubular and two-lipped, the tiny purple flowers grow in dense terminal spikes, blooming from May to October. The fruit is an ovoid, smooth, angled nutlet. Grows as a very common weed in open woods, lawns, fields, and waste places in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Harvest the aerial parts before flowering time.
Infusion: 1 oz. of the herb in 1 pint of boiling water, cover and let stand for 10 minutes, strain. Take 1 wineglassful several times a day.
Extract: soak 1 tsp. herb in 1 pint brandy or whiskey for a few days. Take 1 tbsp. a day or as needed.
Skullcap: Hoodwort, Madweed
Medicinal Uses: Skullcap is a food for the nerves. Skullcap has a special affinity for the
nervous system. Skullcap relaxes states of nervous tension whilst atthe same time renewing
and revivifying the central nervous system.
Convulsions, hysteria, headache, and insomnia are treated with this plant. It is reputed to be
a cure for rabies and has been used in epilepsy.
Skullcap is a useful brain tonic, especially when combined withlady’s slipper, valerian, and
It is used to help in alcohol and drug withdrawal. It supports and strengthens as well as giving immediate relief from all chronic and acute diseases that affect the nerves.
It is used to regulate sexual desires, and is very useful in remedies forfeminine cramps and menstrual troubles. It can be used with complete safety in the easing of pre-menstrual tension.
It reduces fevers and aids in easing restlessness. It is also used to lessen the affects of epilepsy.
While the whole plant was used by the ancients as a cathartic, the spores were used as a diuretic in edema, a drastic (a forceful agent of cure) in diarrhea and dysentery, a nervine for rabies and spasms, a mild laxative in cases of gout and scurvy, and a corroborant (strengthening agent) for rheumatism. The dose is ten to sixty grains of the spores.
The spores also make a dusting powder for skin diseases and diaper rash. The herb, L. selago, is emetic (induces vomiting) and cathartic (induces defecation) in small doses. It is probably better to use only the spores, which are nontoxic.
The whole plant can be used externally, however, as a counter-irritant, made into a poultice, it will keep blisters open and kill lice. Native Americans used the spores of Lycopodium to stop nosebleeds and to stop the bleeding of wounds. The spores were also used to absorb fluids from various injuries. It combines well with Valerian, Passion Flower, and Black Cohosh.
Selago can be an active narcotic poison when overused. Do not use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Magickal uses: Skullcap is used in spells that bring about peace, tranquility, and relaxation. It is added to the chalice as a strengthener of vows. It is given to one’s spouse to wear as protection from the charms of the opposite sex. The spores of selago are highly flammable. Magicians once used them to create “lightning flashes” and other pyrotechnics as needed. These effects were originally intended as a form of sympathetic magic—of evocation by emulation—not simply (or deceptively) as stage effects. Druids respect the plant to such a degree that it is gathered only under strict ritual guidelines. One of the Ovates will dress in white, bathe both feet in free-running water and offer a sacrifice of bread and spirits, and then with white robe wrapped around the right hand, using a brass hook (or if a high rank, a gold-covered brass sickle), would dig up the plant by the roots. A white cloth immediately covers the herb. When properly gathered, the herb becomes a charm of power and protection. Wear it, add it to incense, and use it to commune with the Gods and Goddesses.
In shamanic practice, smoking Skullcap will produce a marijuana like effect for relaxation.
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, abortifacient, antispasmodic, slightly astringent, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, sedative and strongly tonic. Contains scutellarin, catalpol, other volatile oils, bitter iridoids and tannins.
Growth: Skullcap prefers moist well-drained soils. It is a perennial that reaches to 3 feet in full to partial shade. It is not long-lived, so replant every few years. Skullcap is the herb of a member of the mint family from rich woods and moist soils in eastern North America. It is a perennial herb, found from New York to West Virginia and southward to South Carolina, Alabama and Missouri. Growing in rich woods, thickets, bluffs and along roadsides. The root is a creeping short rhizome, which sends up hairy, square stems, 6 to 18 inches high, branched, or, in small specimens, nearly simple, with opposite downy leaves, heart-shaped at the base, 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, scalloped or toothed edges. The blue to lavender flowers are in racemes and grow from the leaf axils of the upper plant. They are hooded, tube shaped, and two lipped the upper lip being the hood and the lower lip having two shallow lobes. Flowers bloom from May to August, gather above ground parts, in the summer as flowers bloom, dry and store for later herb use.
Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture three times a day.
Medicinal tea: To 1 oz. of the powdered herb add a pint of boiling water, steep 10 min. give in half-teacupful doses, every few hours.
(Ulmus fulva) Inner Bark
Medicinal Uses: Native Americans from the Missouri River Valley used a tea of the fresh inner bark to make a soothing laxative. Among the Creek, a poultice of the bark was a toothache remedy. The Osage and other groups applied bark poultices to extract thorns and gunshot balls. Surgeons during the American Revolution used bark poultices as their primary treatment for gunshot wounds, and a soldier, separated from his company, survived for ten days in the wilderness on slippery elm and sassafras barks. During the War of 1812, when food was scarce, British soldiers fed their horses on slippery elm bark. Nineteenth-century physicians recommended slippery elm broth as a wholesome and nutritious food for infants and invalids, and the tea has long been the herbal treatment of choice for acute stomach ulcers and colitis.
Slippery Elm Bark is a soothing nutritive demulcent which is perfectly suited for sensitive or inflamed mucous membrane linings in the digestive system. Slippery Elm is used to neutralize stomach acids. It is used to boost the adrenal glands, draws out impurities and heals all parts of the body. It is most useful for the respiratory system. Externally it is an excellent healer for burns, skin cancers, poison ivy, and wounds. The slippery elm, has a soothing, mucilaginous inner bark that is used externally in poultices for wounds and inflammations (simply add water to the dried and powdered bark until it has a pie-dough consistency, and apply). It makes an excellent poultice for use in cases of boils, abscesses or ulcers. As a tea, it is used for sore throats, bronchitis, diarrhea, urinary problems, and dysentery. It is incorporated into suppositories, enemas, and douches because of its soothing nature.
Magickal uses: Slippery elm is used in magick for its effect on communications. To endow a child with influential communications skills, have them wear the bark around their neck. To prevent gossip about you, burn slippery elm and then toss a yellow knotted cord into the fire.
Properties: Demulcent, emollient, nutrient, astringent, anti-inflammatory. The inner bark contains high amounts of mucilage, made up of starch, polysaccharides, and low levels of tannins.
Growth: The inner bark of the slippery elm is the portion used for healing. Slippery Elm is a medium size tree native to North America. It can reach well over 50 feet in height and is topped by Spreading branches that form an open crown. The red or orange branches grow downward, and the stalkless flowers are arranged in dense clusters. The plants leaves are long and green, darkening in color during the fall. The bark has deep fissures, a gummy texture, and a slight but distinct odor.
Decoction: Use 1 part of the powdered bark to 8 parts of water. Mix the powder in a little water initially to ensure it will mix. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for l0-l5 minutes, Drink half a cup three times a day.
Poultice: mix the coarse powdered bark with enough boiling water to make a paste.
Medicinal Uses:Solomon's seal is so called probably from star like markings on the rootstock, supposedly reminding us of the Star of David. Solomon's Seal is used to treat tuberculosis, diabetes, and wasting diseases. It is also used as a kidney tonic, and as a healer of broken bones. Mainly for external problems. Makes a good poultice for bruises, inflammations, piles, sores, and wounds and a good wash for skin problems, acne, freckles, and blemishes. Has been used as a wash to relieve poison-ivy.
Native Americans made a tea of the rootstock to take for women's complaints, indigestion, general debility, infertility, diabetes, consumption, dry cough, dehydration, malnutrition, broken bones, promote sound sleep, treat coughs, menopause, laxative, lung ailments, and general internal pains. The fresh root was poulticed, or root tea used externally as a wash, for cuts, bruises, sores, carbuncles, rheumatism, arthritis, and skin irritations. In Western herbalism it is said to be given to promote healing of broken bones. In Ayurveda it is a kidney tonic and thought to build reproductive secretions. In modern China it is an important herb in treating cardiac diseases, and is thought to be a strong heart tonic.
The roots are mashed with a little cream and made into a poultice for black eyes, bruises and sprains. Mixed with powdered slippery elm bark, they make a poultice for fresh wounds. Solomon’s Seal is a useful herb for lung disease, especially when there is bleeding in the lung. The dose is six to fifteen grams, It is healing and soothing to the intestinal tract and is given for hemorrhoids, chronic dysentery, tuberculosis, and heart conditions. One ounce of the root can be simmered in one cup of water for twenty minutes and given in quarter-cup doses, four times a day. The leaves are simmered into salves. The roots are mashed and simmered in wine and given to humans or animals to promote bone healing. The young roots may be eaten as a vegetable (P. biflorum, an American Solomon’s seal, has the same medicinal and nutritional properties).
Magickal uses: It is added to protection sachets and incenses. Solomon’s seal is an herb of cleansing and consecration. Add it to the incense on the altar. Use it during rites of exorcism or protective rituals. The root is used either whole, place in the four corners of the home for protection, or as an infusion and sprinkled to exorcise unwanted spirits.
Properties: Antispasmodic, antibacterial, aphrodisiac, astringent, demulcent, emetic, expectorant, hemostatic, nutritive tonic. Contains convallarin, aspargin, gum, sugar, starch and pectin.
Growth: Solomon's seal is a perennial plant; the thick, horizontal, scarred rootstock produces 1 or 2 erect stems, 1-3 feet high, whose lower half is naked and upper half leafy. The alternate, elliptic to ovate leaves are green with a whitish bloom underneath. 2 to 5 or more greenish-white, bell-shaped flowers hang from the leaf axils from April to August. The fruit is a blue or blue-black berry. It grows in rich woods and thickets in eastern North America, Europe, and Asia.
Tea: steep 1 oz. of the cut herb in 1 cup of hot water.
St. Johns wort:
The first century Greek physicians Galen and Dioscorides recommended it as a diuretic,
wound healing herb, and a treatment for menstrual disorders. In the sixteenth century
Paracelsus, who ushered in the era of mineral medicines, used St. John's wort externally
for treating wounds and for allaying the pain of contusions. St. John's wort flowers at
the time of the summer solstice, and in medieval Europe it was considered to have powerful magical properties that enabled it to repel evil.
Medicinal Uses: St. Johns wort is useful for bronchitis, internal bleeding, healing wounds, and for dirty, septic wounds. It is used to ease depression, headaches, hysteria, neuralgia, shingles, as well as symptoms that occur during menopause. It is useful in swellings, abscesses, and bad insect stings. Studies are showing that it may be effective in combating AIDS by increasing the immune functions of the body. It is taken to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps, sciatica and arthritis.
St. John's wort is also used to treat circulation problems, bronchitis and gout. Internally, St. John's Wort is believed to be of benefit for symptoms of depression, anxiety, cough, digestion, bronchial problems, diarrhea, fatigue, flu, gout, insomnia, irritability, and ulcers. As an anti-depressant, it may take some time when used regularly to have any noticeable effects. A Tea can be made for any of the above symptoms using the leaves or flowers, and the dosage should be 1-2 cups morning and night until the symptoms retreat. Externally, St. John's Wort can be made into an Ointment for bruises, wounds, burns, hemorrhoids, sunburn, herpes sores, varicose veins, sciatica, and nerve pain. An Oil can be made to rub on areas affected by arthritis and rheumatism, inflammations, sprains, and massaged around the spinal cord for back pain symptoms.
The use of St. John’s wort can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. People with a history of manic-depressive illness (bipolar disorder) or a less severe condition known as hypomania, should avoid use of St. John’s wort as it may trigger a manic episode.
Magickal uses: St. Johnswort is hung around the neck to prevent fevers. Wearing the herb aids you in war and other battles, including those of the will and indecision. Burnt it will banish evil and negativity. Hung in the home or carried, it will prevent spells of others from entering, and it is used in exorcisms. If you pick the plant on the night of St. John and hang it on your bedroom wall, you will dream of your future husband. The red juice of the stems was associated with the blood of John the Baptist, hence the plant's name.
Properties: antidepressant, antiseptic, pain killer, and anti-viral agent. Contains hypericin and other dianthrones, flavonoids, xanthones, and hyperforin.
Growth: St. Johnswort is a perennial reaching 32 inches tall. It is grown throughout much of North America. It prefers rich to moderately rich soils, and full sun. It is not long-lived, so replant every few years. Harvest the leaves and flower tops as they bloom and store in air-tight containers.
Sumac (Red) Scarlet Sumac, Smooth Sumac, Mountain Sumac
Medicinal uses: Used in alternative medicine for the treatment of colds, diarrhea, fevers, inflammation of the bladder and painful urination, to increase the flow of breast milk, sore mouths and throats, rectal bleeding and painful urination, retention of urine and dysentery and is applied externally to treat excessive vaginal discharge, burns and skin eruptions. The powdered bark is made into an excellent antiseptic salve. An infusion of the leaves is used for asthma, diarrhea and stomatosis. A poultice of the leaves used to treat skin rashes. The leaves also chewed for sore gums and rubbed on sore lips. An infusion of the berries is diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, purgative and refrigerant. It is used in the treatment of late term diabetes, constipated bowel complaints, dysmenorrhoea (painful or difficult menstruation). The berries have been chewed as a remedy for bed-wetting. An infusion of the blossoms used as an eye wash for sore eyes. The milky latex from the plant is used as a salve on sores.
Magickal uses: None Known
Properties: The plant contains Calcium malate, Dihydrofisetin, Fisetin, Iodine, Gallic-acid-methylester, tannic and gallic acids, Selenium, Tartaric-acid, and different beneficial minerals. An infusion of the bark or roots is alterative, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, rubefacient and tonic.
Growth: Red Sumac is a deciduous shrub native to North America found in all 48 lower states and in southern Canada. It is found growing in thickets and waste ground, open fields and roadsides. It prefers well-drained acidic soil and full sun. Sumac is a shrub or small tree from 6 to 15 feet high, with large pinnate leaves, each leaflet is lanceolate, serrate and green on top whitish beneath. In the fall the leaves turn a bright red. Flowers begin to bloom in June and July. They are in dense panicles of greenish-red small five petaled flowers. The edible fruit is a large erect cluster of small bright red berries. Gather edible young shoots in spring, roots and berries in fall.
Whole plant, especially the seeds
Medicinal Uses: Native Americans used the tea of the flowers for lung ailments and malaria. Leaf tea was used for high fevers; poultice of roots on snakebites and spider bites. Seeds and leaves are diuretic and expectorant. Seeds contain all the important nutrients that benefit the eyes and relieve constipation. Useful against dysentery, inflammations of the bladder and kidney. The leaves are astringent and used in herbal tobaccos.
Sunflower seeds are simmered in water (one ounce seed to one quart of liquid) until half of the water is absorbed or evaporated. Add six ounces of gin as a preservative, and honey to taste. The preparation is a good syrup for lung and throat problems, coughs, and colds. The oil can be used for the same conditions; ten to fifteen drops, three times a day. A tea of the toasted seed has been used to treat fevers, and is a substitute for quinine.
Pollen or plant extracts may cause allergic reactions.
Magickal uses: An herb of happiness. The sunflower is said to protect one from smallpox by either wearing them like a necklace or in a small bag around your neck. When eaten they help a woman conceive. Place one under your bed to know the truth. They will also grant wishes. Cut it at sundown while making a wish. One who has been anointed with the juice from the stem of the sunflower will be virtuous. Grown in the garden they bring luck. In Aztec temples of the sun, priestesses carried sunflowers and wore them as crowns. As sun symbols, these flowers symbolize the healthy ego, the wisdom, and the fertility of the solar logos.
Properties: Diuretic, expectorant. The seeds are exceptionally rich in polyunsaturates (approx. 80%) and high quality plant protein, plus natural vitamins and minerals. (thiamine (B1), niacin, potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, iodine, fluorine, magnesium, sodium, vitamins D and E).
Growth: Sunflower is an annual plant growing 6-10 feet high; leaves mostly alternate, rough-hairy, broadly heart or spade-shaped. The flowers are orange-yellow; disk flat, flowers from July to October. Found on prairies, roadsides. Minnesota to Texas; escaped from cultivation elsewhere. A North American native plant.
Make sure the seeds are fresh.
Decoction: 2 oz. of seeds to 1 quart of water: boil down to 12 oz. and strain. Add 6 oz. of Holland gin and 6 oz. of honey. The dose is 1-2 tsp. 3 or 4 times a day.
Oil: unrefined oil has similar properties to the seeds. Take 10-15 drops or more, 2-3 times a day.
Leaves and flowers
Teutonic warriors wore a sprig of woodruff in their helmets in the belief that it promoted success in battle.
Medicinal Uses: Beneficial for jaundice and recommended where a tendency toward gravel and bladder stones exists. It acts as an anodyne for migraine and neuralgia, and as a calmative for nervous conditions such as restlessness, depression, insomnia, and hysteria.
The tea relieves stomach pain, improves appetite, regulates heart activity, and is a diuretic. Old timers state it was used against the plague. It is sometimes used to improve the taste of mixed herb teas. Externally, helps heal wounds.
Consumption of large quantities can produce symptoms of poisoning, including dizziness and vomiting. It can cause liver damage, growth retardation, and testicular atrophy when used in excess.
Magickal uses: None
Properties: Anodyne, antispasmodic, calmative, cardiac, diaphoretic, diuretic
Growth: Woodruff is a perennial plant, 6-12 inches high; its thin creeping rootstock with numerous matted, fibrous roots sends up many slender stems, which are square, shiny, and glabrous. The soft but rough-edged and bristle-tipped, narrow dark green leaves grow around the stalk in successive whorls with 6-8 leaves in each whorl. The lower leaves are oblong-obviate, the small, white, four-petaled flowers bloom in loose branching cymes from May to June, followed by a leathery, bristly fruit. Makes a good ground cover for shady areas. Has the fragrance of freshly mowed hay. Grows in woods and gardens in Europe, Asia, and North Africa; cultivated in the United States. Often found in the deepest recesses of the forests, where the sun penetrates only with difficulty.
Infusion: use 2 tsp. dried herb to 1 cup boiling water; take 1/2 to 1 cup per day.
Cold extract: soak 2 tsp. dried herb in 1 cup cold water for 8 hours. The extract can be warmed as desired after straining.