Whispering Woods Herbal Grimoire

Section D

Herb Descriptions: D - Damiana, Dandelion, Datura, Dill, DogBane, Dogwood, Dragons Blood, Ducks Foot (American Mandrake), Dutchman's Breeches   



(Turnera diffusa)

Medicinal Uses: Damiana is used to regulate the female cycles. It is also used to stimulate the sexual appetite. It is good for urinary problems and nervousness, as well as hypertension.                                                                                     Damiana has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac and is an excellent remedy for the nervous system acting as a stimulant and tonic in cases of mild depression. It may be used to strengthen the male sexual system. As a nerve tonic it is often used with Oats. Depending on the situation it combines well with Kola or Skullcap. Damania has stimulating properties and has been used for nervousness, weakness and exhaustion. Damania has been recommended for increasing sperm count in the male, and to strengthen the egg in the female. it helps to balance the hormones in women. Damania has been said to be one of the most popular and safest of all plants claimed to restore the natural sexual capacities and functions.

Magickal uses: Damiana is used in infusions to incite lust, and is burned to produce visions. Soak damiana in wine for three hours. For 21 days, sprinkle outside the front and back doors to bring a lover back to you. Burn to produce visions. Add to incense, teas, or spells to induce lust. Ruled by the planet Pluto. When two tbsp. are steeped in a pint of water and then drank as a tea it produces a mild high.

Properties: Nerve tonic, antidepressant, urinary antiseptic.

Growth: Damiana is a small shrub found in Texas, California, Mexico, and South America. It prefers average soils and full sun.

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l teaspoonful of the dried leaves and let infuse for l0 - l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.


(Taraxum officinale) leaves and root

Medicinal Uses: Dandelion benefits all functions of the liver. The leaves, which
can be eaten in salads, are a powerful diuretic. The roots act as a
"blood purifier" that helps both kidneys and the liver to remove impurities from
the blood. This effect seems to be due to its potassium content. It also acts like
a mild laxative and improves appetite and digestion. It clears obstructions
(such as stones) and detoxifies poisons that gather in the liver, spleen, and
gall bladder. It will also promote healthy circulation. Dandelion is used whenever there is liver involvement with heat and toxins in the blood. This includes jaundice, hepatitis, red and swollen eyes, as well as urinary tract infection, abscesses, or firm, hard sores in the breasts. It is also very effective to increase the production of mother's milk.            The juice from a broken leaf stem can be applied to warts and allowed to dry; used for 3 days or so it will dry up the warts. It is also used to treat premenstrual syndrome, as it is a diuretic. It has been shown to reduce cholesterol and uric acid.                                                                                                                                                                         Dandelion also helps clear skin eruptions when used both internally and externally. Both dandelion leaf and root have been used for centuries to treat liver, gall bladder, and kidney ailments, weak digestion, and rheumatism. They are also considered mildly laxative. The fresh root or its preparations are thought to be more potent than the dried root. Lukewarm dandelion tea is recommended for dyspepsia with constipation, fever, insomnia, and hypochondria.

Magickal uses: It is a sign of rain when the down from a ripened dandelion head falls without wind helping it to do so. To blow the seeds off a ripened head is to carry your thoughts to a loved one, near or far. The feathery seed balls of the dandelion were once used by young girls to determine if their true loves were really true. They would blow on the dandelion fuzzy ball 3 times; if at least one of the fuzzy seeds remained, it was taken as an omen that her sweetheart was thinking about her. To promote psychic powers make a tea of the root by drying, roasting and grind (like coffee). The tea, when steaming and placed beside the bed, will call spirits. Simple garden magic: pick a “puff ball’ on the night of a full moon, call in the sacred directions, and blow your wish to the winds.

Properties: Alterative, cholagogue (increase the flow of bile), deobstruent, diuretic, stomachic, hepatic, laxative, tonic, aperient, (a very mild laxative), liver and digestive tonic.. It is a rich source of potassium, and contains more vitamin A than carrots. Also contains Biotin, calcium, choline, fats, gluten, gum, inositol, inulin, iron, lactupicrine, linolenic acid, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potash, proteins, resin, sulfur, vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, C, E, and P, and zinc. The principal constituents responsible for dandelion's effect on the digestive system and liver are the bitter principles. known as taraxacin, these constituents are sesquiterpene lactones of the eudesmanolide and germacranolide type and are unique to dandelion. Dandelion is the only naturally occurring potassium-sparing diuretic.

Growth: Dandelion is a common yard, garden, and roadside weed. Do not gather where chemicals have been used, and don't gather those near roadsides, as they have been contaminated from exhausts. A familiar weed; 2-18 inches tall. A small rosette-forming perennial plant with a long thin taproot and a clump of entire or sinuate leaves. Flowering, leafless, stalk is hollow, with milky juice. The leaves are jagged-cut. Flowers are yellow; March to September, or sporadically all year. Seeds form "clocks" round balls of seeds with parachutes of hairs.

Infusion: Steep 2 tsp. Plant or root in 1-cup boiling water. Take 1/2 to 1 cup a day, lukewarm or cold.

Decoction: Use 4 oz. Fresh plant with 2 pints of water; boil down gently to 1 pint and strain. Take 3 tbsp. Six times daily.

Cold extract: Use 2 tsp. Plant with 1 cup water; let stand for 8-hours.

Juice: For a springtime tonic, take 1 tsp. Juice pressed from the leaves in milk, one to three times a day. Use an electric vegetable juicer to extract the milk.

                                Datura: Jimson Weed, Loco weed, Angel Trumpet

                                              (Datura stramonium) (Datura wrightii) Leaves                                                                                                                        
Medicinal Uses: Jimson weed is thought to cure those with deafness, soothe insomniacs, and
release the heat of those with a fever. D. stramonium is now used to treat asthma, and
gastrointestinal problems, also aches, abscesses,arthritis, boils, headaches, hemorrhoids,
rattlesnake bites, sprains, swellings, and tumors.                                                                 
It acts as a sedative in large doses and as a stimulant and deleriant in high ones. The leaves
can be dried and smoked to relax the bronchiole muscles of the throat, and leaves are used
also to line beds of those with insomnia.

Magickal uses: When the weed is dried and smoked, the users are left with a high which consists of hallucinations and total relaxation. D. stramonium is thought to be one of two plants identified in 4,000-year-old rock paintings throughout the Pecos river region of Texas and northern Mexico, used by the Huichol Indians along with peyote to commune with the spirit world. Sprinkle Datura around the home to break spells and to protect against evil spirits. To treat insomnia place some Datura leaves into each shoe, then place them under the bed with toes pointing toward the nearest wall. A few leaves placed in the crown of a hat protects the wearer from apoplexy and sunstroke.

Properties: anodyne, antibiotic, antispasmodic and narcotic. Contains hyoscine, as well as atropine, hyoscyamine, apohyoscine, and meteloidine.

Growth: Many branched, spreading, succulent, annual or perennial with large white to light purple tinged fragrant solitary flowers. Foliage is dark green above, silvery grey below and foul smelling. Plants grow to a height of 2-4 feet and spread readily, commonly reaching a diameter of 4-6 feet. Naturalized in all four deserts of the American Southwest. Species of Datura can be found throughout the world, except in the colder or Artic regions. The plant lives in sandy flats, plains, arroyos up to 2,500 feet above sea level, and amidst disturbed soils. Jimson weed is commonly seen among roadsides in the Southwest.


                                      (Anethum graveolens) Seeds

                                          Medicinal Uses: An ancient Egyptian remedy in the Ebers papyrus (c. 1500 BC) recommends                                           dill as one of the ingredients in a pain-killing mixture. The Romans knew dill as "anethum" which  latter became "anise".                        
Dill is used to treat colic, gas, and indigestion. Dill has always been considered a remedy for the stomach, relieving wind and calming the digestion. Dill's essential oil  relieves intestinal spasms and griping and helps to settle colic, hence it is often used in gripe water mixtures.           
Chewing the seeds improves bad breath. Dill makes a useful addition to cough, cold and flu remedies, and is a mild diuretic.                                                                                                                                                                                 
Dill increases milk production, and when taken regularly by nursing mothers, helps to prevent colic in their babies. To stimulate the flow of breast milk in nursing mothers bring one pint of white wine almost to a boil, remove from heat and add 1 tsp each of anise, caraway, coriander and dill. Bring one pint of white wine almost to a boil, remove from heat and add 4 tsp of dill seeds, let steep 30 minutes and strain. Drink 1 ½ cups a half hour before retiring to sleep well. Chewing dill seeds removes bad breath. Dill can also be made into a Tea, and sweetened with honey, or prepared as an infusion by steeping 2 teaspoons of seed in 1 cup of water for 10-15 minutes, then straining.  Take 1- 2 cups per day.

Magickal uses: Dill is used in love and protection sachets. The dried seed heads hung in the home, over doorways, and above cradles provides protection. Add dill to your bath to make you irresistible to your lover. Place in the baby’s cradle for protection. Use in money spells.

Properties: Digestive, antibacterial, antispasmodic, diuretic. Contains volatile oil, consisting mainly of carvone with dihydrocarvone, limonene, a- and b-phellandrene, eugenol, anethole, myristicin, carveole, x-pinene. Flavonoids: kaempferol and its blucuronide, vicenin. Coumarins such as scopoletin, esculetin, bergapten, umbelliferone. Xanthone derivatives such as dillanoside. And triterpenes, phenolic acids, protein and fixed oil.

Growth: Dill grows in most regions of North America. It needs sun and a well-drained soil, and frequent waterings. It is a hardy annual, biennial in the deep southern regions, that reaches 2 - 3 feet tall. The leaves are bluish-green, bi-pinnate with fili-form leaflets; the base dilates into a sheath surrounding the stem. Flat, compound umbels of yellow flowers appear from July to September, producing eventually the oval, ribbed dill seeds. Dill matures quickly, and self-sows for the following year. Plant in six week intervals for a season-long supply of fresh dill.

                       DogBane: American hemp, Rheumatism weed, Choctaw-root,
                                                 Indian Hemp

                                                            Apocynum cannabinum L.

The common name, Dogbane, refers to the plant's toxic nature, which has been
described as "poisonous to dogs." Apocynum means "Away dog!" and cannabinum means "like hemp,". This is in reference to the strong cordage that can be made by weaving together the stem's long fibers.
The fiber was particularly useful in making fishing and carrying nets, for string and for ropes, and to some extent for weaving rough cloth.

Medicinal Uses: DogBane was dried, crushed, and then snuffed for coughs in head colds.
The root was made into a tea and was used to help a baby’s cold, earache, headache, nervousness, dizziness, worms and insanity.
This tea was also taken for heart palpitations, but care should be observed if using it for cardiac disorders. It acts as a vasoconstrictor, slows and strengthens the heartbeat, and raises blood pressure.
The root could also be used as an emetic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, cathartic, anodyne, hypnotic, laxative, treats vomiting, diarrhea, hydrocephalus, urinary difficulties, dropsy, jaundice, liver problems, and stimulates the digestive system. It has been successfully employed for alcoholism.
A wash made of crushed root can be used to stimulate hair growth, remove dandruff and head lice.
The milky juice can remove warts.
A poultice of the leaves reduces tumors, hemorrhoids, and inflammation of the testicles. The poultice placed over the eyelids works on opthalmia and eye diseases.
The leaves ground into powder can dress wounds, sores and ulcers.

DogBane can be toxic if ingested without proper preparation.

Magickal Uses: The flowers are used in magickal love mixtures. Dogbane is an herb of protection and is ruled by Jupiter.
Native American women kept track of important events in their lives by knotting a piece of hemp from the Dogbane. These knots were adorned with bead, shells and so forth in accordance to the event being remembered.

DogBane is harvested for its fiber. The stems are cut in the fall; they are then split open and the long, silky fibers removed. The fibers are then twisted into string, which provides cordage. String, thread, rope, baskets, snares, netting, and clothing can be made from these fibers.

Properties: Dogbane contains: Strophanthin, apocannocide, choline, trigonelline, cymarin, rosins, fixed oils, starch and proteins.

Growth: The flowers of DogBane are small, white to greenish-white, and produced in terminal clusters (cymes). The flower size is 1/4 inch wide. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue on into late summer. The flowers are borne in dense heads followed later by the slender, pointed pods which are about 4 inches in length.
Many small insects, such as wasps and flies, pollinate the flowers.
The leaves are ovate or elliptic, 2-5 inches long, 0.5-1.5 inches wide, and arranged oppositely along the stem. Leaves have short petioles (stems) and are sparingly pubescent or lacking hairs beneath. The lower leaves have stems while the upper leaves may not. The leaves turn yellow in the fall, then drop off.
The leaves lack hairs, and often have a reddish-brown tint when mature, it becomes woody at the base, and are multi - branched in the upper portions of the plant.
The stems and leaves secrete a milky sap when broken.
Dogbane has a long horizontal rootstock that develops from an initial taproot.


                                                (Cornus florida)  Inner bark, berries, and twigs                                                                                                                

Medicinal Uses: An An 1830 herbal reported that the Native Americans and captive
Africans in Virginia were remarkable for the whiteness of their teeth, and attributed it
to the use of Dogwood chewing sticks. Once chewed for a few minutes, the tough
fibers at the ends of the twigs split into a fine soft "brush". Also, the Native American tribe, the Arikaras, mixed bearberry with the dried inner bark of the red dogwood to make sacred tobacco which they smoked in a regulation red pipestone pipe.
The inner bark, berries, and twigs are used. Dogwood bark is best used as an ointment for ague, malaria (substitute for quinine), fever, pneumonia, colds, and similar complaints. Used for diarrhea. Externally, poulticed onto external ulcers and sores. Twigs used as chewing sticks, forerunners of the toothpick. It was sometimes used as a substitute when Peruvian bark could not be obtained.

Magickal uses: Wishes, Protection. The leaves and wood are placed in amulets for protection. Keeps writings and meetings secret, therefore is an excellent herb for the Book of Shadows. An oil of the flowers is priceless in sealing letters and keeping unintended eyes from secret writings. Powdered flowers and dried bark may be used as incense. Place the sap of the dogwood onto a handkerchief on Midsummer Eve. This will grant any wish you have as long as you carry it faithfully. The four petals symbolize the sacred four directions and the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Associated with Lammas, the Moon and Pluto.

Properties: Astringent, febrifuge, stimulant, tonic. Contains tannic and Gallic acids, resin, gum, oil, wax, lignin, lime potash and iron.

Growth: The Dogwood grows to 30 feet high; the bark is brown and rough, the leaves opposite, ovate, pointed, and darker green above than beneath. Latex threads appear at veins when leaves are split apart. The flowers are small and greenish-yellow but are obscured by the large, white or pink bracts so that the whole looks like a large white or pink flower. Flowers are in clusters, April-May. The fruit is a glossy, dry, scarlet berry two celled and two seeds, is inedible and very bitter; October-November. Found from Maine to Florida and west to Minnesota, Kansas, and Texas. Grows in the under storey of woods, along roadsides and in old fields.

Use only dried dogwood bark. Fresh bark upsets the stomach and bowels.

Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. bark in 1 pint water for 30 minutes and strain. Take 1/2 cup every 2-3 hours.

Tincture: take 20-40 drops in water, as needed.

                         Dragon's Blood:                                 

(Daemonorops draco) Resin

Medicinal Uses: The resin of Dragon's Blood is used externally as a wash to promote healing
and stop bleeding. Internally it is used for chest pains, post-partum bleeding, internal traumas,
and menstrual irregularities.

Magickal uses: Added to love incenses and sachets, it increases the potency of other herbs
used. A piece of the plant is often used under the mattress as a cure for impotency. To cure
impotency, place a stick under the pillow or mattress. Mix powdered dragon’s blood, sugar and
salt, and then place in a bottle. Cover tightly and hide it in your home where it won’t be
discovered. This will bring peace and quite to your home. It is also used in spells to bring back
a loved one. When a woman is sitting near an open window at night and burns the resin as an
incense it persuades an errant lovers return.  A powerful protectant when sprinkled around the
house or burned as incense. It is used in homemade magickal inks.

Properties: Contains 50 to 70% of benzoic and benzyl acetic acid with dracoresinotannal and also draco - alban as well as dracoresene.  

Growth: The resin comes from the Dragon Tree of Indonesia and the Canary Islands. The ripe scaly fruit produces the resin that is used as Dragon's Blood. They have long slender stems that are flexible. Older trees tend to develop climbing propensities. The leaves have prickly stalks while the bark is covered with hundreds of flattened spines. The berries are about the size of cherries and are pointed.   

Ducks Foot: American Mandrake, May Apple

(Podophyllum peltatum) Dried root

Medicianl Uses: This herb, as a drug, seems to be a very ancient one with the
Chinese, as it is mentioned in the Shennung Pentsao (28th century BCE) as one
of the five poisons. Once called the witches umbrella and thought to be employed
by witches as a poison.                                                                                                                                               
Excellent regulator for liver and bowels. In chronic liver diseases it has no equal. Valuable in jaundice, bilious or intermittent fever. Good physic; is often combined with senna leaves. It is very beneficial in uterine diseases. It acts powerfully upon all the tissues of the body.                                                                                                                 
Native Americans and early settlers used the roots as a strong purgative, "liver cleanser", emetic, worm expellent, for jaundice, constipation, hepatitis, fevers, and syphilis. Resin from the root, podophyllin (highly allergenic), used to treat venereal warts. Etoposide, a semisynthetic derivative of this plant, is FDA-approved for testicular and small-cell lung cancer. The Old Testament recommended mandrake as a cure for sterility especially in women. In moderate doses, it is a drastic purgative with some cholagogue action.
Small doses given frequently should be used in order to prevent severe purgative action. Steep 1 tsp. in a pint of boiling water and take 1 tsp. of this tea at a time. Children less according to age. Take 1 capsule a day for no longer than 1 week at a time. Should be administered under medical supervision.

Mandrake is a potent herb; it should be taken with care. It has toxic properties that have resulted in birth deformities and fatalities. Tiny amounts of root or leaves are poisonous. Powdered root and resin can cause skin and eye problems. Other herbs can give the same results and are much safer to use.  Never take during pregnancy.

Magickal uses: This herb can be substituted for Mandrake in magickal workings. For love poppets, and money-drawing magick. Place a piece of the root on a mantle to avert misfortune and to bring prosperity and joy. Carry to attract love. The root is used as an amulet. Worn around the neck, to enhance virility.

Properties: Antibilious, cathartic, emetic, diaphoretic (increases perspiration), cholagogue (increases the flow of bile to the intestine), alterative, emmenagogue, resolvent, vermifuge (expel intestinal worms), and deobstruent (relieving obstruction), counter-irritant, hydragogue. Contains a neutral crystalline substance, podo-phyllotoxins, podophylloresin, and amorphous resin, picro-podophyllin, quercetin, kaempferol, Isorhamnetin, gallic-acid, berberine, alpha-peltatin starch, sugar, fat and yellow coloring matter.

Growth: A perennial woodland plant of the barberry family, with shield-shaped leaves and a single, waxy, large white, cuplike flower 2 inches across, droops from crotch of leaves; May to June. It has an edible, lemon-yellow, oval (egg shaped) fruit about 2 inches long, called the "apples". These are edible when fully ripe with a flavor reminiscent of strawberry. A popular ornamental, it grows 12-18 inches tall. Leaves may be called umbrella-like, smooth, paired, distinctive. The dark brown, fibrous, jointed rootstock produces a simple, round stem which forks at the top into two petioles, each supporting a large, round, palmate 5-9 lobed, yellowish-green leaf. Some plants, growing from different rootstocks, are non-flowering. These have only a single leaf on an unforked stem. Found in low, shady lands, roadsides, deciduous, rich woods, fields, and clearings in New England to Florida; Texas to Minnesota.

                           Dutchman's Breeches: Fairy Candles, Eardrops, Monk's head

                                  (Dicentra cucullaria) Roots, leaves,

Medicinal Uses: Considered a love charm by the Menominee. A young man would either throw the flower at his love, or chew the flower and breathe the scent on her so that she would follow him. "Dicentra" means "two-spurred" in Greek.                            
A leaf poultice can be used for skin ailments and a root tea is a diuretic and promotes sweating. Dried buds are used as a blood purifier. The alkaloids found within are used for paralysis and tremors.

May be toxic and may cause contact dermatitis in some people. Dutchman’s Breeches is narcotic.

Magickal uses: Wear the root to attract love.

Properties: Apomorphine, bicuculline, which is a convusant, biflorine, which is an antibiotic and fungicide, bulbocapnine, which is antidotal, cardiotonic, cataleptic, and hypotensive, corlumine, fumaric acid, protoberberine, protopine which and analgesic, convulsant, hypotensive, and a sedative, and sanguinarine, which is an anesthetic, antiseptic, antitumor, fungicide, and sialogogue. Apomorphine, protoberberine, and protopine are iosquinoline alkaloids that have CNS-depressant activity. Dutchman’s Breeches also contains a poppy-like hallucinogen

Growth: Dutchman's Breeches resembles a pair of pants hung up to dry with the pockets inside out. The "pants pockets" of the flowers are tinged with yellow, and sometimes with pink. These delicate perennials with finely-cut, fern-like leaves bear 1 to 10 showy flowers on slender stalks. The 4 to 10 creamy white flowers of Dutchman's breeches have spurs like bloomer legs. They flower from April to May. They are common spring wildflowers in established woodlands. The genus, Dicentra, consists of 16 species worldwide, all native to North America and Asia They are a member of the poppy family.

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