Witch Craft Basics

Suffolk, learning basics

Using Herbs in Magic & Medicine



         Using herbs in medicine is a complex and potentially dangerous discipline and as such should only be undertaken with extreme caution. There is no short-cut; there is no easy route and however good the book maybe, its no substitute for years and years of study or learning at the feet of an expert.

          In some cases you are dealing with some really deadly poisonous plants so you have to know exactly what you are doing. My advice is to stick with what you know to be safe, such as the culinary herbs used to make tea’s and flavour foods etc, and unless you can apprentice yourself to a known expert; try them on yourself first, that way you can almost be certain that they are safe, unless of course you poison yourself, then it won’t really matter anymore will it!

        I say you can almost be certain because if the ‘patient’ is dosing them selves with other herbal or prescribed medicines you may do more harm than good by over dosing them. Always asked them what they are already taking for their illness/condition etc.

         When you go out to harvest your herbs, unless you are absolutely sure of the plant you have found, don’t harvest it. My next piece of advice is spare no expense and get the best books on the subject you can afford. Something like ‘Culpeper’s Colour Herbal’; published by W. Foulsham & Company Ltd, and pair that with a really good field guide on British Flora something like ‘The Concise British Flora in Colour’ published by George Rainbird Ltd, printed by Jarrold & Sons Ltd. I would also recommend ‘Herbs and Healing Plants; published by Harper Collins three books I can highly recommend. And maybe as another source of information of a non toxic nature, Richard Mabey’s book ‘Food for Free’; again published by Harper Collins; at least with that book you shouldn’t do too much damage.

       The art of collecting, drying and storing your herbs is another skill that must be learnt. If it’s not done in the correct way your herbs will spoil and be of little or no use to you. Yes in some cases you can use them fresh, but they may not be available when you require or need to use them, so it’s best to learn the correct way to do it. This article hasn’t got the space to do justice to this subject so I will just give a few examples of what you can use magically, and medicinally; although I add my disclaimer by saying that you do so at your own risk. As to the uses in Magic! Well I’ve included some of the uses but in the end it’s whatever works for you?

Apples. (Crab) Malus (pumila) Sylvestris: Apples contain lots of vitamins although not as many as some other fruits, but it does contain anti-oxidant compounds that help fight against some cancers. It will also help to regulate the bowels. Remember the old adage ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ It’s used in healing and love potions. They also symbolise wisdom and knowledge.

Angelica: Angelica archangelica. Make a tea for stomach difficulties or nervous headache. Externally, makes a good skin lotion. Large doses can cause problems with blood pressure, heart action and respiration. Used in protection and exorcism

Ash Tree. Fraxinus excelsior. This herb if prepared in the correct way is used as a laxative and a diuretic. It is also used in the treatment of fevers and rheumatic pain and gout. In magic it’s used for wand making, in sea rituals and as a protection against magical attacks.

Basil        Ocimum basilicum. This herb is usually taken as an infusion and is beneficial as a carminative as is mint. It is effective against flatulence and helps to ease pains cause by wind. A good herb to use in spells for wealth and protection.

Barley. Hordeum vulgare This herb is rich in vitamins B and E and is recommended for those who are convalescing. It’s usually given in the form of Barley water or extract of malt. It can also soothe the bowel where there is inflammation and/or diarrhoea. It’s also used in healing and protection magic.

Bay leaves.      Hordeum vulgare Apart from the obvious culinary uses this can be used in spells seeking wisdom, protection and enhancing psychic powers.

Birch. Betula pendula. This herb is useful against skin diseases in the form of an Ointment. An infusion made from the leaves is used to ease rheumatic pain and gout. The sap can also be made into a potent wine. This is used as an aid to Cleansing magical tools.

Blessed Thistle: Cnicus benedictus. Good tonic (as a tea) for stomach and digestive problems. Externally, make into a poultice for wounds and sores. Used for Protection, Strength; use to counteract hexing

Boneset: Eupatorium perfoliatum. Usually used as a tea for the flu or indigestion. Historically used as a poultice to heal broken bones.  Sprinkle a tea made from this around the house for protection.

Burdock Root: Arctium lappa. Use externally for psoriasis. A tea made from Burdock root supports digestion and good kidney function. Wards off negativity and is used as incense in protection spells.

Calendula:  Calendula officinalis (English Marigold). Used as an infusion for stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Externally it makes a very good salve for wounds, bruises, sprains and strains. Used in Love and Clairvoyance spells and charms; when rubbed on the eyelids helps you to see fairies; it was also carried into courts for a favourable verdict.

Catnip: Nepeta cataria. For humans: make a tea for upset stomachs. For cats: I don’t know although cats are said to be attracted to it? Use this in Love potions, Animal contacts; it was chewed by Celtic warriors for fierceness in battle.

Chamomile: (German) Matricaria chamomilla. Make a tea for insomnia, rheumatic problems and rashes. Make a compress for skin problems. Use it in a bath for haemorrhoids. Used for Prosperity, Meditation; it brings the power of the sun to love potions, money spells and rites of purification. Sprinkle it around the house to ward off hexes.

Chickweed: Stellaria media. A decoction is good for constipation; make an ointment for bruises, irritations and other skin problems. Worn or imbibed to attract or improve a relationship.

Cloves: Syzygium aromaticum. Clove tea will relieve nausea. A few drops of the oil will ease a toothache. It’s worn to drive away hostile and negative forces and to stop gossip.

Coltsfoot: Tussilago farfara. Most often used to help calm coughs and expel mucus. It’s also used in herbal smoking mixtures. Do not use long term. Add to love sachets and use in spells of peace and tranquillity.

Comfrey Leaf: Symphytum officinale. For external use only. Make a poultice to stop bleeding or to relieve insect bites. Used in protection spells and charms etc.

Cedar. Cedrus. This is used in incense to purify and heal. Other pine resins and gums can be use as well.

Dandelion Root: Taraxacum officinale. Good for arthritis and water retention. A tea from this is said to promote psychic powers.

Echinacea Root: Echninacea angustifolia. Used as a blood purifier for conditions such as eczema, acne and boils. It helps to shorten the length of colds. It may also help dispel flatulence. Used to help strengthen spells

Elder Berries: Sambucus nigra. Used for colds and flu; externally for bruises and sprains. Used in protection, healing and prosperity spells. Sometimes referred to as, the ‘Queen of Trees’; Hylde-moðer, and the Elder Tree Mother. The elder is the Old Crone aspect of the triple Goddess, a wise old energy at the end of the year's cycle.

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus globules. Use as a vapour bath for asthma and other respiratory ailments. Used externally, as an antiseptic for wounds and ulcers. Used in Healing

Feverfew: Tanacetum parthenium. A tea made from this makes a good headache treatment, especially for migraines. Carry this with you for protection against colds and fevers, as well as accidents.

Ginger Root: Zingiber officinale. Great for any nausea (motion sickness, morning sickness), also may possibly lower blood cholesterol. It enhances all spells, especially love spells, being a spicy and "hot" herb. This is used to promote success and power. It also so tastes great

Goldenseal: Hydrastis Canadensis. Good for coughs, bronchitis, all catarrhal conditions, also a great all-around antiseptic - vaginal douche or mouthwash, externally used for skin diseases. It’s used in money spells and healing rituals.

Garlic. Allium sativum.This herb is used as an antiseptic. After diluting the juice in water it can be applied directly to the wound. It can also be made into an ointment. It’s also used in the treatment to prevent colds. This is used as a protection against negativity and malevolent influences. Remember Bram Stokers book?

Gooseberry Ribes uva-crispa.An infusion of the dried leaves is useful in the treatment of those with sediment in the urine. It can also be used as a tonic for girls, if taken just before the start of the menstrual period. Gooseberries are a rich source of calcium, sodium and sulphur plus vitamins A, B and C.  

Horehound Marrubium vulgaris. Used for colds and flu; in cough syrups; also for appetite loss. Used in protection spells; great to bless a new home; also used to strengthen mental powers

Hops. Humulus lupulus. This herb can be used as a sedative and a diuretic. The flowers contain a natural antibiotic. A poultice made from the hop can be used to treat boils etc. This herb will help you sleep where others fail to produce the goods

Hearts Ease. Viola tricolour. This herb is mildly laxative, a diuretic, a diaphoretic and expectorant. It’s also considered to be a good purifier of the blood. In the right dosage it can be recommended for skin eruption in children, catarrh and asthma.

Lavender: Lavandula angustifolia. Make a tea or decoction for headaches or dizziness. Used in charms for Love, Protection, Purification.

Lemon Balm: Melissa officinalis. Use the tea to relieve nervous problems, cramps, and migraines. Make a poultice for sores and insect bites. Carry this herb with you to find love. Used in magical healing incenses and sachets.

Lettuce. Lactuca sativa. Although not many people class it as an herb it has got some uses as a medicinal herb. It is rich in iron and vitamins and is cooling to the blood. A tincture can be made from the whole plant as a remedy for impotency.

Mallow. Malva sylvestris. This herb is useful in soothing the urinary tract, intestines and respiratory organs. An infusion can be used for cystitis, coughs and cold and intestinal inflammation.

Marjoram. Origanum valgare. Apart from the obvious culinary uses this herb is used magically in protection spells.

Mint. Mentha spicata. This herb can be used in spells for money, luck and travel.

Mistletoe. Visum album. This herb is an important tool in both herbal and homeopathic medicine. Its uses include anti-tumour, diuretic, cardio tonic and hypertensive properties. It can also be used to strengthen the heart and reduce blood pressure. The powdered leaves are used in the treatment of epilepsy. It is very un-wise to take this herb in large doses as it can potentially cause more harm than good. This herb is a favourite with the Druids and can be used in healing; the old name for this herb is ‘All Heal’ it is also used in fertility magic.

Mugwort: Artemisia vulgaris. Use as an infusion to promote appetite and proper digestion. Put it in a bath for tired legs. Excessive doses can lead to symptoms of poisoning. Uses: Protection, Clairvoyance; use a tea made with Mugwort to wash magic mirrors and crystal balls.

Nettle Leaf: Urtica dioica. Use an infusion to stimulate digestion or to remedy urinary tract ailments. Externally, make a wash for loss of hair. Handle with caution. Hairs can inject an irritant substance into the skin. Used in Protection, Exorcism

Peppermint: Mentha piperita. Make a tea for nervousness, insomnia, cramps and headaches. Use in a salve or bath for itching skin conditions. Used in Healing, Purification; mint brings easy travel, attracts prosperity, and is placed in the wallet to draw money.

Plantain Leaf: Plantago major. Good for cough irritations and hoarseness. Externally, a poultice will help wounds, insect bites and haemorrhoids. Its said that if you use red wool and bind the plantain to your head it will help to cure headaches;

Raspberry Leaf: Rubus idaeus. Good tea for diarrhoea and women's complaints. It’s said to ease the pains of pregnancy and childbirth if carried.

Red Clover: Trifolium pretense. Take it in tea form for constipation and sluggish appetite. It makes an all-round good tonic. Used as Protection; soaked in vinegar for 3 days, then sprinkle around the house to discourage unwanted entities.

Rose. Rosa centifolia. It makes a tea or infusion for constipation. We all know that symbolically this herb or at least its petals stand for love and so it is used in spells to draw or project love or good feelings. When someone you know is feeling down, a little bit of love projected to them goes a long way. It’s also used as an aid to Clairvoyance

Rosemary.           Rosemarinus officinalis. Large doses taken internally can cause fatal poisoning. Rosemary tea makes a good mouthwash for bad breath. Externally, make a salve for bruises and wounds. Purification, Love, Intelligence and Protection This again can be used in love spells. It can also be used in spells of power, healing and sleep.

Sage. Salvia officinalis. Reduces sweating, and helps with nervousness or depression. Good as a gargle for sore throats, laryngitis and tonsillitis. Extended or excessive use can cause symptoms of poisoning. An infusion of this dried herb is taken to improve the appetite and to stimulate the menstrual flow. It is also used to promote sweating in feverish colds. An infusion made with this herb and chickweed makes a good lotion for sore skin. The powdered herb can be used as a poultice for boils and ulcers. This is a good herb for protection and as its name suggests a good herb to draw wisdom to you.

St. Johnswort: Hypericum perforatum. It’s useful to cure or curb bedwetting, insomnia and some forms of melancholy. Its use may make the skin sensitive to sunlight Used in Purification and Protection

Spearmint:          Mentha spicata. Use as a tea at the first stages of a cold or flu; relieves cramps and stimulates the appetite. It     can be used as a replacement for peppermint in purification and love spells.

Thyme. Thymus vulgaris. Commonly used for bronchitis, laryngitis, chronic gastritis and lack of appetite. A thyme salve can be used for shingles. Excessive internal use can lead to symptoms of poisoning and over stimulation of the thyroid gland. Used to aid or strengthen clairvoyance, Purification; a pillow stuffed with thyme is said to cure nightmares. It can also be used in healing magic. You’ve only got to inhale its fragrant aroma to feel better.

Valerian: Valeriana officinalis. A decoction is used for kidney and bladder stones, cramps and intermittent fever. Some use it in a tea as a sedative. Used in Love and Harmony spells and charms especially where there is a need to reconcile troubled couples.

Vine Tree (Grapes). Vitis This herb/fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals iron in particular. It provides an instant source of energy therefore should be given to those who are convalescing. Although high in sugar it is not fattening. Grape juice is used in the treatment of poor blood circulation, low blood pressure, anaemia, liver congestion and skin blemishes.

Willow. Salix. This herb/tree can be used when seeking knowledge through divination and scrying. Make a wand from willow to use in healing rituals; carry a sprig of willow to free yourself from the fear of death.

Witch Hazel Leaf: Hamamelis virginiana. Use in a tea for diarrhoea. Externally, make a poultice for rashes, insect bites, minor burns and bruises. The bark and twigs are used to make a charm to protect against evil influences; carry it to mend a broken heart and cool passions.

Yarrow. Achillea millefolium. This herb has been used for centuries and is still an important medicinal herb. It is used in conjunction with Elderflowers and Peppermint as a remedy for the common cold and influenza. It also contains a substance that hastens clotting of the blood. It regulates menstruation, reduces blood pressure and heals bleeding piles. Wear this for protection; if you hold it in your hand it is said to stop all fear and grant courage

          The last words are words of caution; only take herbal medicine if prescribed by someone who has trained in this discipline and has the proper accreditation. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Always know your limitations, and have the wisdom not to treat someone when you’re not sure of what you are doing.

Researched & Written by Rainbird.