The Herbs, Roots, and Bark Library

Herbs beginning with the letter B

Balm- Melissa Officinalis
Balm (Melissa Officinalis, also known as Lemon Balm, Sweet Balm, Garden Balm, Pimentary, Goose Tongue, Honey Plant, Sweet-Mary, Lemon Lobelia, and Balm Melissa) has written records of it being used that go back as far as 1696 in the London Dispensary where it was preseribed for baldness or for increasing one's mental faculties. The name Melissa comes from the Greek meaning Bee. It is an herb of love ruled by Diana.

Magickal Uses:

Balm is ideal for healing those who suffer from mental or nervous disorders. A tea made of it's leaves brings a calm that benefits students studying and preparing for ritual work. In modern Magick it has been associated with the pursuit of romance, and it has been used in love charms and love spells to attract a partner.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Balm is an antispasmodic, calmative, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, and stomachic. It's good for female complaints, nervous problems, depression, hysteria, melancholy, insomnia, cramps, stress, TMJ, mumps, irritable bowel syndrome, backache, dyspepsia, flatulence colic, hemorrhoids, chronic bronchial catarrh, asthma, headache, migraine, toothache, dizziness, motion sickness, sores, tumors, insect bites, indigestion, and it promotes onset of menstruation. It has now been (re)discovered that it can help with skin problems due to viruses, especially herpes simplex. The lemon-scented leaves are used to make teas and cool drinks which are thought to relieve asthma, migraine headaches and toothaches. It's good for potpourri and the flowers attract bees. It's also used in aromatherapy. The Greeks believed that if you put sprigs of Balm in an empty hive it would attract a swarm. (This isn't as far fetched as it sounds, my paternal grandfather was a bee keeper by profession, and I can remember him rubbing plants on the hives of a newly transplanted colony to keep them from leaving) **WC** Gather the tender, young leaves..they have the best flavor. Dried leaves need to be bottled and sealed immediately or else they will lose their flavor quickly. **GT** Lemon Balm is usually increased by dividing root clumps or by rooting cuttings in water. It will also grow readily from seeds, but start them early indoors because the tiny seeds can wash away in the garden.

Balm of Gilead- Balm of Gilead is commonly known as Balsam a close up of the leaves and buds
Balm of Gilead (Commiphora Opobalsamum, also called Balsam Tree, and Bechan) is a name derived from the Greek Balsamon, which was adopted as the representative of the Hebrew words baal shemen, meaning "lord" or "chief of oils." (it's even a name used by a national organization working through Black churches to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community). Nina Simone sang about it long ago, if you don't know Nina's works...she was one of the greatest blues singers and ranked right along side Billie Holiday.

Magickal Uses:

Balm of Gilead is an herb of consecration. It is used for dressing candles to use in any form of magickal healing. (The buds are the main parts that are used) It's used for healing, knowledge, love, manifestations, protection, strength, virility, and wisdom. You can carry the buds to mend a broken heart, or burn them to attract spirits.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Balm of Gilead is a stimulating expectorant, anti-microbial, and vulnerary. It soothes, disinfects, and astringes the mucous membranes, and it is an excellent remedy for sore throats, coughs, laryngitis, and chronic bronchitis. Externally it can be used to ease inflammations due to rheumatism and arthritis, as well as for dry and scaly skin conditions such as psoriasis and dry eczema. It is also anti-bacterial.

Balmony- Balmony found in New York State Balmony in a paler coloration
Balmony (Chelone Glabra, also known as Hummingbird Tree, Bitter Herb, Snake Head, Turtle Head, or Turtle Bloom) The word Chelone comes from the Greek word for tortoise, due to the flower's appearance.

Magickal Uses:

Balmony may be used to increase steadfastness, patience, and perseverance. Because it is associated with the tortoise or turtle, this is an excellant herb for those whose totem animal is the turtle.

Medicinal Uses:

Balmony is a cholagogue, hepatic, anti-emetic, stimulant, laxative. Balmony is an excellent agent for liver problems. It acts as a tonic on the whole digestive and absorptive system. It has a stimulating effect on the secretion of digestive juices, and in this most natural way it's laxative properties are produced. Balmony is used in gall stones, inflammation of the gall-bladder and in jaundice. It stimulates the appetite, eases colic, dyspepsia and biliousness and is helpful in debility. Externally it has been used on inflamed breasts, painful ulcers and piles. It is considered a specific in gall stones that lead to congestive jaundice, and is used for dyspepsia, mal-absorption, roundworms and threadworms, colitis from hepatic dysfunction.

Bamboo- Bambusa Vulgaris thicket Bambusa Vulgaris shoot

Bamboo (Bambusa Vulgaris is the variety most used in Magick.. Bamboos are a primitive sub family of grasses that include over 70 genera and 1,200 species worldwide) This is one plant I am well versed in, being a native to South Florida. I won't tell ya what we used Bamboo for in the 60s *grin* But like Bill...I didn't inhale-honest! (neither did LadyDragon *grin*) Bamboo is a fertility herb, and it is very sacred to Buddhists. Many believe that Buddha once incarnated as a monkey king. During perilous times, he wove a cord of Bamboo and saved eighty thousand.

Magickal Uses:

Bamboo is an excellant herb for a magickal wand, representing all four elements. It grows up from the Earth, through Water, then passing through the Sky (Air), and reaches toward the Fire of the Sun.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Edible shoots are the most popular use of this plant. But it is also used for... 1.Building: Houses, bridges, and structures 2.Crafts and handicrafts including musical instruments and utensils, (other than weaving) 3.Fodder and shoots for domestic and wild animals such as cows, goats, pandas, sheep, yaks, gorillas 4.Erosion control 5.Furniture 6.Medicinal 7.Ornamental (such as decorative landscaping including hedges and screening) 8.Paper pulp 9.Textiles such as basketry and woven materials (including woven wall paneling and mats) 10.Utilitarian & Agricultural: tools, fences, corrals, water pipes, rafts, fishing rods/poles, handles, decorative trim, sheds, etc. 11.Windbreaks 12. Processing into building materials such as plybamboo, flooring, paneling, etc. and of course 13. Shoots for food production. Whew! In Trinidad tea with bamboo leaves and tomato leaves is taken for malaria fever and they consider the root decoction an abortifacient. **WC** Be very careful if you harvest the culms, Bamboo doesn't look it but it can cut like the sharpest knife in your kitchen! **GT** If you decide to plant Bamboo be sure it's what you really want as it's hard as hades to get rid of once established (assuming you are in a sub tropical or tropical climate)

Basil- Ocymum Basilium, Sweet Basil a purple variety in bloom
Basil (Ocymum Basilium, also known as Devil Plant) was called "The Herb of Kings" by the ancient Greeks. The Egyptians burned a mixture of Basil and Myrrh to appease their gods. In India the Basil plant is sacred to both Krishna and Vishnu, and is cherished in every Hindu house, probably because of it's virtues of disinfecting and freshening the air. Hindus believed that if a leaf of Basil were buried with them, it would serve as their passport to heaven. In Haiti Basil is thought to belong to the pagan love goddess Erzulie. World wide over 150 varieties of Basil are grown, and it has a wide range of uses from culinary to worship.

Magickal Uses:

It's old association with the basilisk explains Sweet Basil's contemporary correspondences with salamanders (elemental creatures of fire) and dragons. (The basilisk was a mythological reptile) Basil is a good herb for protection, sympathy, wealth, prosperity, and love. Carry Basil in your pockets to attract money. Basil is widely associated with rituals of initiation, and the sabbat frequently associated with Basil is Candlemas. It is an herb of purification and courage, for it helps one move forward in a positive manner no matter how perilous the dangers. Basil is known for protecting a seeker from fears one encounters when moving along a spiritual path.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

One of Basil's medicinal properties is it can be used to draw out poison from insect bites. Basil is valued for aiding digestion, and it is anti-bacterial. It's also used for ringworm and internal parasites. It's said it has the ability to reduce blood sugar levels. It also prevents peptic ulcers and other stress related conditions like hypertension, colitis and asthma. Basil is also used to treat cold and reduce fever, congestion and joint pain. Due to its anti-bacterial and fungicide action, Basil leaves are used on itching skin.

Bay Laurel- a close up of Bay leaves Bay Laurel Bloom
Bay (Laurus Nobilis, also called Sweet Laurel) was considered sacred to the Greeks and Romans because of the God Apollo, and garlands of Bay leaves were used to decorate their victors. Apollo fell in love with Daphne, but Daphne wanted nothing to do with any man... or god for that matter, and she tried to flee Apollo. However she was no match for the him. In desperation she begged her father, (the river Peneus) to do something. So Peneus turned her into a Bay Tree. This is how Bay trees became a symbol of Apollo. In latter days scholars and poets would wear wreaths of Bay Laurel when receiving honors. (the term "baccalaureate" deriving from this practice)

Magickal Uses:

An herb of love, the Bay is used to attract romance. It has been long believed that a Bay Laurel promotes divinatory powers, or that it's decline indicates the impending decline of it's owner. A potted Bay is said to protect one's home from lightening. The priestesses of Delphi chewed Bay Leaves until the narcotic properties placed them into a trance. This practice is highly dangerous because it is not the safest of herbs to ingest. The leaves placed in a dream pillow are believed to induce prophetic dreams.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

As a medicinal plant, Bay leaves and berries have been employed against rheumatism, skin rashes, and earaches. In addition, it has been used as a stomachic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, stimulant, emetic, emmenagogue, abortifacient, and insect repellent. The esssential oil is used by the cosmetic industry in creams, perfumes, and soaps. The fragrant Oil of Bay is extracted from the fruits of the Bay Laurel and is effective in the treatment of rheumatism. It is also used in many cosmetic creams and hair lotions. Oil of Bay is also used to treat lice infections and pediculosis. The leaves of the Bay are used to flavor food. The wood is hardy and used for making walking and fire sticks.

Fagus Sylvatica leaves changing color Seed capsule, open without the Beech-Nuts Beech (Fagus Sylvatica, also called Bog, Boke, Faggio, and Fagos) is one of the tallest trees that grows, for it can attain heights of 150 feet. The diameter of it's trunk varies from 6ft to 9ft. You might call the Beech one of our true ancients in America, because the European Beech was introduced into North America in colonial times. Beeches can live up to 300 years old. The botanical name for Beech is derived from the Celtic belief that a divine being named Fagus lives within the tree. Beechnuts were once a popular substitute for coffeebeans.

a close up of the bark of a young Beech-as the beech grows older it's bark turns silver-grey

a close up of the bloom of the true European Beech

Magickal Uses:

Beech is an herb of protection. Beech leaves, bark or it's powdered wood can be used within rituals to derive the protective quality for which this tree is so famous. Fot those who wish to make their gardens more receptive to Devas, the wood may be dried, powdered and burned as an incense as one walks along the garden paths. Beech's affinity with Devas makes this an ideal herb to use at Midsummer, should one desire to move into the rhelm of the faerie. Beech is a good herb for those seeking to improve their literary skills, so it would be wonderful help with your Book of Shadows. It is believed that the first Sanskrit characters were carved on the bark of Fagus Sylvatica. In fact, our word 'book' comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'boc', meaning letter or character...which derives from 'beece', Beech. Place a leaf of Beech between the covers to increase inspiration. The Beech Nuts can be dried and used on your altar to give honor to the spirit of the Beech.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

The fruits of Beech, called Beechnuts or Beechmast, contain nearly 50 percent oil and are used as pig feed in Europe. Squirrels, mice, birds, and other creatures collect the Beech-nuts, and they hide the seeds for the winter. The wood is extensively used in furniture and flooring. Old-fashioned clothespins are also made of Beech. Because the wood of the Beech is hard and heavy, it is used as construction wood for stairways, parquet floors, and for railroad crossties. Beech tar is obtained by the distillation of the wood, and it is used for the source of guaiacol and creosote. Beech is also used by the cosmetic industry. In other areas herbal preparations of Beech address core issues of wellness; especially emotions, stress/mental attitudes, spiritual values, and life purpose. Bringing balance in these areas is a major factor in developing sound mind-body health. The Rappahannock Natives steep Beech Bark in saltwater to produce a poison ivy lotion. Beechnut Gum, no explanation needed *grin*. **GT** The leaves of the beech drop only partially in winter, so don't be alarmed when it's February and (despite severe weather) it's still holding onto it's dried leaves. Also: consuming large doses of Beechnuts can be toxic, in everything practice moderation is the safe way.

Benzoin- Styrax Benzoin

Benzoin (Styrax Benzoin, also known as Snowbells or Storax) is employed for a wide variety of uses, everything from skin cream to preservative. It is an herb sacred to Venus, Aphrodite, and Mut.

Magickal Uses:

Use Benzoin to help calm the inner self. It's uplifting, soothing, warming, and it eases nervous tension, stress, anxiety, it also helps to overcome depression and restore confidence. Benzoin can dispel anger, diminish irritability, and clear the head. It is a visionary herb ruled by Venus, and may be used for purification. The resin may be collected, dried, and ground for ritual use. Benzoin has become associated with two of the Wiccan sabbats: Candlemas and Autumn Equinox. Benzoin can help the student learn to live with the Wheel of the Year by gaining comprehension regarding the natural cycles of change. It provides focus and assists concentration for moving into the astral rhelm. Benzoin promotes generosity, and it can help open a closed spirit engulfed in selfishness. It also increases success for any Magickal working. Benzoin is a good herb to burn for those using the Tarot. A few drops of tincture of Benzoin helps to preserve oils and other perishable Magick preparations.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Benzoin is used in aromatherapy due to it's sweet, spicy, vanilla-balsam scent. It stimulates the production of gastric juices (carminative), helps digestion, calms the digestive tract, and alleviates flatulence. Benzoin is a diuretic, it improves circulation, and it is used to fight leucorrhoea and yeast infections. It tones the lungs, helps to expel mucus, and it's used for flu, bronchitis, laryngitis, coughs, and asthma. Benzoin is also used for rheumatism, arthritis, and gout. It helps to relieve sore muscles and stiff joints after strenuous physical activity. Benzoin is an astringent, antiseptic, it reduces inflammation, and helps to stop bleeding. It can be useful where skin has redness, irritation, itching, or is cracked or dry. (It helps to keep the skin supple and elastic) With regular application it is said it can soften scar tissue. You'll find it in many cosmetic preparations. **WC** You won't find Benzoin sap exuding without help. You must make a small cut in the bark, then return when the resin has seeped out. Please remember plants have feelings too, and don't cut too wide or deep so that the tree can heal quickly. (you have to cut into the cambium layer which is harmful to the plant) I always apologize to the plant and thank's one of the Earth's creatures too! (I guess that custom is ingrained in me from my Father's people) Um, I guess I should also point out doing this to a plant that is less years old.. is a waste of time, just don't use young plants.

Betony, Wood- Wood Betony in bloom

Wood Betony (Betonica Officinalis or Stachys Officinalis, also called Bishopswort) was grown in the gardens of monastaries and apothecaries where it was utilized extensively as a nerve tonic. The Romans record 47 different virtues of Wood Betony. The Spanish have a saying: "he has as many virtues as Betony." Betony has a long established reputation as being very powerful in it's ability to protect someone against dark forces and negative energy.

Magickal Uses:

Wood Betony is an herb of protection and purification. It is an excellant herb for Magickal healing, and it protects one against those dark fears and demons that arise out of one's own emotions and imagination. This was a very magical herb to the Druids. (It was burned at Midsummer Solstice for purification and protection) This herb is a good addition to any dream pillow.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Betony gently tones and strengthens the nervous system while it also has a relaxing action. It's good for nervous debility associated with anxiety and tension. It will ease headaches and neuralgia when they are of nervous origin, and especially those caused by hypertension. For the treatment of nervous headache it combines well with Scullcap. It's also good for neuralgia, stomach trouble, heartburn, indigestion, stomach cramps, hepatitis, palsy, convulsions, gout, colic, colds, flu, and poisonous bites. A 1962 European study found that it did reduce high blood pressure, and it is often claimed to strengthen the heart. It stimulates the immune system and is said to protect against many diseases. One study found that it kills the tuberculosis bacteria. (Animals are said to seek it out when they are wounded)

Birch- Betula Alba showing the classic bark that is sought by many Birch Fruits
Birch (Betula Alba, also known as The Lady of the Woods, and Tree of Life) is the first tree in the Celtic Tree calendar as Beth the Birch. It is one of the few trees to have a rune, or letter symbol, associated with it. (It is the rune of birth, mothers and children, and it has the qualities of secretiveness, and protection) Remember the old scare tactic when you were a child? If you are bad...Santa will bring a bag of sticks! Those "sticks" were Birch twigs and that tale related back to the time of Saint Nicolas. The Norse associated the Birch tree with the god Thor, and a Birch planted close to your home would ward off the "evil eye", lightening and infertility.

Magickal Uses:

Birch is a fertility herb, an herb of love, and one of protection. Birch is sacred to Thor; one is never to take the bark from this tree unless it has been kissed by Thor (stricken by his lightening). Once Thor has claimed the tree's spirit it is then available for human use. (actually, taking the bark is forbidden by the folklore of many cultures) Modern pagans use this tree to give honor to the Goddess of the Woodlands. A circle of Birch Trees is among the most Magickal of sites in the sacred woodlands. Birch parchment (taken correctly) is used for Magickal writings. Birch may be used to banish negative energy, and provide protection. Celtic lore suggests the trimming of nine woods taken at Candlemas for the Beltaine fires. The original nine are Birch, Oak, Fir, Willow, Rowan (Mountain Ash), Apple, Grape vine, Hazel, and Hawthorne. Use Birch for your besom. Working with Birch may invoke the Goddess Aino, whose blood gave birth to the waters of the world. Through her we might better understand elemental water.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Birch is medicinally used for arthritis, biliousness, bleeding gums, breast cancer, canker sores, cholera, cystitis, dandruff, dermatitis, diarrhea, dropsy, dysbiosis, dysentery, eczema, edema, fever, gonorrhea, gout, hypercholesterolemia, insomnia, intestinal worms, jaundice, kidney stones, minor wounds, nephritis, pyelonephritis, pyorrhea, rheumatic fever, rheumatism, and ureteritis. It is an astringent, and antirheumatic. The Chippewa make a medicine from Black and White Birch for stomach pain. Native Americans used strips of White Birch to make their wigwams, as well as baskets, mattresses and writing "paper". Many use the bark for craft and religious works.

The bloom of the Blackberry The Fruits of the Blackberry
The Blackberry (Rubus Fructicosus, also called Brameberry, Bramble) has quite a bit of lore associated with it. One tale says that the Blackberry was cursed by Lucifer (Satan) when he fell from heaven and fell onto it's brambles. In Brittany, the Blackberry was considered a "fairy fruit" and consequently was untouchable. It is said that that the Crown of Thorns was made of brambles of the Blackberry. Quite a bit of negative thinking for one poor little vine methinks! The Blackberry is a member of the rose family.

Magickal Uses:

Blackberry is an herb of protection. The fruit can be dried and powdered in order to make an infusion or tea for use in the ritual cup when working rituals for health and healing. Brambles can be gathered and woven into pentagrams or wreaths and hung in the home for protection.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

One cup (or 140 gm) of Blackberries provide: 50% of your Daily Value of Vitamin C, 10% of your Daily Value of folate (Folic Acid, from folate, has been proven to reduce birth defects), 6 grams, or 22% of your Daily Value of fiber, and a good source of Potassium, Calcium, magnesium, Phosphorus, Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, and Iron. They are also a low-fat, sodium-free, cholesterol-free fruit. Their leaves were once used for burns and scalds. For females they help menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, they can be used for a uterine tonic, and astringent. Blackberry root is a commonly used digestive tract astringent. Blackberry tea is used for dysentery, fevers, and sore throats. **WC** Leaves need to be thoroughly dried to destroy the toxins before use.

Blessed Thistle- Blessed Thistle in bloom

Blessed Thistle (Carduus Benedictus, also known as St. Benedict Thistle, Our Lady's Thistle, Bitter Thistle, Spotted Thistle, Cursed Thistle, Blessed Cardus, Spotted Cardus, and Holy Thistle) was a popular folk remedy and tonic appreciated by monastic monks in the Middle Ages. It was considered an heal-all during the 1500s and was used to treat all sorts of plagues and pestilence. Shakespeare even mentioned it, "Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus and lay it to your heart: it is the only thing for a qualm ... plain holy thistle."

Magickal Uses:

Blessed Thistle is an aphrodisiac-type herb invoked by Pan. It is an herb which holds the ability to help a priest move into the more positive aspects of men's mysteries when used in the ritual cup. It can be used in general when invoking any of the fertility gods. Blessed Thistle is sometimes associated with Yule, and it is used to invoke the newly born Sun. This herb is strongly associated with the Tarot in both the major and minor arcana.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Blessed Thistle contains B-complex, Calcium, Iron, Selenium, and Manganese. It can be used to increase the appetite and alleviate inflammation caused by poor digestion. Blessed Thistle also improves circulation and purifies the blood increasing oxygen to the brain to stimulate memory. Blessed Thistle can be used by young pubescent men and women to regulate hormone imbalances that can cause acne. The flowers of the Blessed Thistle are commonly brewed to make a tea that has a mild diuretic activity. It is a herb that is known for it's antiperiodic, diaphoretic, emetic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, galactagogue, stimulant, tonic, fever remedy, and vulnerary properties. Because of the afore mentioned properties it is good for hormone balancing, and "hot flashes".

I just had to show you this awesome field of Bluebells

Bluebells (Scilla Nutans, also known as Jacinth, Culverkeys, Auld Man's Bell, Ring-o'-Bells, and Wood Bells) are closely woven into Fairy Lore and enchantment. The story goes "One who hears a Bluebell ring will soon die, and a field of Bluebells is especially dangerous, as it is intricately interwoven with faerie enchantments". a close up of the Bluebell

Magickal Uses:

Bluebells may be planted at grave sites and incorporated into rituals of death and dying. They may be used magickally in preparations to comfort those left behind and ease their sorrow. Bluebells make a wonderful memorial planting.

Medicinal and Other Uses

The bulb of the Bluebell has diuretic and styptic properties. Tennyson speaks of Bluebell juice being used to cure snake-bite. To date I don't know of much else the Bluebell can be used for medicinally. **WC** The bulbs are poisonous in the fresh state.

Borage- Borago Officinalis a close up of the flowers

Borage (Borago Officinalis, also known as Bee Bread, and Starflower) is an ancient herb. It is believed that Borage's name is derived from either Celtic or Roman origin, for it implies a reputation of good will, courage, and bravery. The Roman naturalist Pliny extolled Borage for it's power to make men merry and joyful, and it was used in wine as a cure for melancholy.

Magickal Uses:

Borage is an herb of protection. Many float the flowers in a ritual bath. It raises one's spirits beautifully. Burn it as an incense for most Magickal workings, or use it as a Magickal tonic. It provides not only physical strength, but it also boosts strength of character.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

The flavor of Borage leaves resembles that of the cucumber (It's used in salads, soups, and some vegetable and meat dishes) Borage contains high levels (20-24%) of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). (GLA is a naturally occurring essential fatty acid mainly marketed over the counter as a dietary supplement) Borage stimulates adrenal glands, encouraging the production of adrenaline. Because it is a tonic plant for the adrenal glands, Borage provides an invaluable support for a stressful lifestyle. (It has a calming effect when used as a tea) Also used as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory, Borage with it's high mucilage composition helps soothes bronchitis, pleurisy and other maladies. Borage is rich in minerals, especially Potassium. A tea made with Borage helps to reduce fevers and ease chest colds. An infusion of Borage acts as a galactogogue, promoting the production of milk in breastfeeding mothers. Borage makes an excellent facial steam for improving very dry, sensitive skin. Candied Borage flowers make attractive cake decorations just like Violets are candied. **GT** Borage needs protection from wind as it is easily blown over. (Place plants close together so they can support each other) A plant or two in an indoor pot will provide leaves all winter, but it will need lots of sun. Borage is an excellent companion plant for tomatoes, squash and strawberries. (The plant actually improves the flavor of tomatoes growing nearby!) It is also a great hummingbird and bee plant and self-seeds generously.

a thicket of Broom in bloom a close up of the bloom Broom (Cytisus Scoparius, also called Scotch Broom, Broom Tops, Genista, and Irish Broom) has a mixed reputation. Christian lore considered it cursed, believing the seed pods made noise when Mary and Joseph passed nearby. In other cultures it was considered good fortune. ("The Master Book of Herbalism" suggests that this may be connected to the politics of the new (Christian) religion replacing customs and symbols of the old (Pagan) religion. The Middle Age Christians believed it could keep witches away...wrong again folks! (Laughing My Arse Off....)

Magickal Uses:

Broom is recommended for use when creating a sacred space. It makes an excellent ritual broom for sweeping any physical debris away as well as unwanted energy. The flowers are considered symbols of good fortune and plenty. Pick the blooms, dry them, and add them to Magickal workings to increase your good fortune, but only if the plant is approached with humility and a fair exchange made with it's Deva before you begin your harvest. Small bunches may be gathered and dried with which to make an aspurger for your ritual circle. This herb is ideally suited for Handfastings by using it to fashion the broom over which the newly joined couple will leap into their future. It is used with the nine card of any suit of the major arcana to better understand the nature of change life brings us as indicated within the symbols of these cards.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Broom was used to increase the potency of beer before the introduction of hops. The seeds were once used as a coffee substitute. It is a powerful diuretic. Broom contains the alkaloid sparteine, which has similar action to quinine and is very useful for treating heart arrhythmias. It increases blood pressure, and can be used as a laxative.**WC** Unfortunately, Broom is on the list of invasive plants threatening the biodiversity of our wild lands. Be very careful if you gather it wild! There is a drive on to eradicate it, so you never know if it has been subjected (sprayed, etc.) to poison such as Paraquat. It may be better to cultivate it. You can purchase it at (my favorite) nursery online: Companion Plants as either seed or plant.

Buckeye- Buckeye in bloom A very old Buckeye
The Buckeye (Aesculus Glabra) derives the name from its large brown seeds, which resemble the eyes of the white-tailed deer. It's "nut" is a very popular item in American HooDoo. The origin of the word "HooDoo" is not known. (It is probably African) Some people have said that "HooDoo" is a corruption of "Voodoo," but I doubt that, because the word "HooDoo" is found along with the word "VooDoo" in Louisiana, and the two terms refer to different types of Magick. In other parts of the South "VooDoo" is not popular, but the terms HooDoo, Rootwork, Conjure and Witchcraft are common to the folk magick)

Magickal Uses: a Buckeye Nut
Buckeyes are usually carried whole, either anoited with money oil, or another popular charm is to wrap a dollar bill around it, anoit it in money oil, and carry it close to your money for constant increase in money flow. Buckeyes are very lucky, and are associated with wealth and divination. Buckeye is a popular HooDoo charm for gamblers. A Buckeye is a legendary protector against arthritis when carried in one's pocket. Being from the "Old South" I can attest many men carried one in their pockets, I can always remember my Father carrying one...he'd take it out, grin coyley, and say "it's a useless old nut, like me", and wink devilishly. See my Buckeye Charm on our Spells Page.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

In addition to increasing the bearer's sexual power, the buckeye is thought by many people in the Eastern and Southern United States to be a sure preventive of rheumatism, arthritis, and headache. It is not considered an edible nut due to its high tannic acid content. I know this has nothing to do with the real "Buckeye", but here is a favorite recipe. "Buckeye Candy": Mix together 3 cups peanut butter, 1 1/2 sticks softened butter, and 2 lbs. confectioner's sugar. Form into small balls. Using a toothpick, dip balls into 16 oz. melted dipping chocolate until covered, refrigerate. Major Yum, but very fattening.


Burnet is a pretty little plant a close up of Burnet's bloom/seed head Burnet (Sanguisorba Officinalis, also called Italian Pimpernel, Salad Burnet, and Greater Burnet) It's Latin name, Sanguisorba, translates as "drink up blood" referring to it's astringent qualities. Soldiers of old would drink tea made from the herb before going into battle in hopes that any wounds they received would be less severe.

Magickal Uses:

Burnet is a countermagick herb. It is used for protection and consecration. It is known for it's ability to banish negative energy. Use it in the consecration of ritual tools. Burnet can be used to treat depression and despondency.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Burnet tea is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery because it's high tannin content makes it a strong astringent. Some people use the greens in their salads (it has a cucumber like taste). Because it is an anticoagulant it is used to stop external bleeding. Burnet is also used as an antibacterial. **WC** There is a lot of confusion between Greater Burnet and Garden Burnet (S. minor). Garden Burnet is much smaller in size.

Butterbur- Butterbur in bloom

Butterbur (Petasites Vulgaris, also called Bog Rhubarb, Butterdock, Umbrella Plant, Lagwort, and Sweet Coltsfoot) is supposed to have been given it's name because formerly it's large leaves were used to wrap butter in during hot weather. Because it's leaves are large enough to protect a person's head from Sun or rain, the Greeks called it Hat Plant. The former name of this plant was the "plague-flower", as it gained a successful reputation among the few remedies during the time of that malady.

Magickal Uses:

Butterbur can be used for love divination. It is a good herb to raise one's spirits by increasing a sense of hope and faith in life. Long ago it was infused in wine and used as a drink for the ritual cup.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Butterbur is a heart stimulant, acting both as a cardiac tonic and also as a diuretic. It has been in use as a remedy in fevers, asthma, colds and urinary complaints. It has also been used as a homoeopathic remedy for severe and obstinate neuralgia in the small of the back and the loins. One company has been extracting petasites from Buttrebur for use in a preventative for migraines.

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A Compendium of Herbal Magick by Paul Beyerl

A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve (Vol 1 & 2)

Magickal Herbalism by Scott Cunningham

Edible Wild Plants by Thomas S. Elias & Peter A. Dykeman

Indian Herbalogy by Alma R. Hutchens

Sacred Plant Medicine by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Coyote Medicine by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D.

Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by "Wildman" Steve Brill

The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman

The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Magic and Medicine of Plants by Inge N. Dobelis

Information given on this site is not intended to be taken as a replacement for medical advice. Any person with a condition requiring medical attention should consult a medical doctor. This information is given as reference only.