The Herbs, Roots, and Bark Library

Herbs beginning with the letter E

Echinacea- Echinacea Augustifolia in bloom is a Bee attractor a close up of the flower of Echinacea Purpurea with a visitor
Echinacea (Echinacea Augustifolia and Echinacea Purpurea, also called Purple Coneflower and Black Sampson) is a splendor when blooming en masse. I've grown it at my woods getaway place in Georgia for almost twenty years, and the same "patch" is still thriving. I'm incorporating two types of this plant in this section because they are so similar. The Native Americans have known about the medicinal qualities of Echinacea for ages. In recent times it has been used in AIDS therapy. It increases the activity of such immune system components as macrophages and T-Cells. It also induces interferon production. Interferon is a primary immune defense against viruses and some cancers. Augustifolia is considered more "potent" than Purpurea, and Purpurea is more colorful in its bloom.

Magickal Uses:

Echinacea can be used with any type of spell as it's power in Magick is to add strength and power to blends, charms, or sachets. The dried flowers may be burned as incense. Echinacea is a good root to include in any Money Drawing Magick.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Echinacea contains Iron, Iodine, Copper, Potassium, Sulphur, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C. Echinacea is best know for its ability to kick-start the immune system, stimulating the production of white blood cells. (it contains polysaccharides, resembling bacteria, which motivates the healthy white blood cells to attack bacterial invaders) It is referred to as the "natural antibiotic" and is commonly used to fight infection caused by common colds and flus. It has been found to have activity against common bacteria such as Staph and Strep as well as parasites such as Trichomonas and fungi such as Candida. In fact, Echinacea greatly reduces the incidence of yeast infections in women. In one study, it reduced the reoccurrence of vaginal yeast infection by 2/3 over antifungal cream alone! In women Echinacea is effective in the treatment of Endometriosis, as a Uterine Tonic, for fibrocystic disease of the breast, to combat Uterine inflammation, and for Vaginitis. In Males it is used to treat Prostatitis. Echinacea may also be used for reducing fevers and inflammation caused by respiratory problems, bronchitis, strep throat and enlarged prostate glands. Echinacea is an anti-inflammatory and even repairs damaged tissues, especially connective tissues. It was found to be as effective as the prescription drug, Indomethacin. **WC** Caution: Even though Echinacea is nontoxic, if it is taken in extremely high doses over a long period of time it may cause temporary infertility in men. Continually taking Echinacea with no breaks may reduce immune competence. Also, use only the roots of Echinacea, because the aerial parts can cause nausea.

Elder- An Elder in bloom Elder Berries
Elder (Sambucus Nigra, also known as European Elder, Boretree, Elderberry, and Burtree) is one of the best known trees of both older and modern civilizations. The word Elder comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "aeld", or eldrun, which means fire (it's hollow twigs were commonly used to start fires). Early Christians believed the Elder provided the wood for Christ's execution, and this is how the Elder got stuck with the reputation of association with death and darkness. An association it didn't deserve, I might add. I think just about every English speaking person has heard of Elderberry Wine. (The wine used in "Arsenic and Old Lace" was Elderberry)

Magickal Uses:

Elder is ruled by Venus, and it is an herb of protection, cleansing, and a funeral herb. It is an excellent herb to protect against negative energy and evil. Over two thousand years ago Pliny used hollow Elder twigs as a pan pipe. Modern custom weaves Elder's Magick into the rites of Midsummer's Eve. An Elder grove is considered an ideal place for moving into the realm of the Fae. For those wishing to see the Devas on this eve, Elder flowers can be used in the ritual cup, in incense, and Elderberry wine may be used in the cup. This wine is also enjoyed at Beltane. Treat an Elder grove as holy ground. Elder branches can be fashioned into pentagrams to hang as protection above your altar, or anywhere in the home. The Elder often used in rites of death and dying to protect the loved one during transport to the Otherworld. The Elder is said to be protected by the Hydermolder (a German/Scandinavian Fairy).

Medicinal and Other Uses:

For centuries Europeans have been using Elderberry juice medicinally (The first record of medicinal use of Elder goes back to the famous Green physician Hippocrates who mentioned Elder almost 2,500 years ago) Elderberries are very good sources of Vitamin C, Calcium, Phosphorous, and Elderberry has a higher concentration of B Vitamins than any other fruit. High levels of Potassium promotes diuresis and helps eliminate toxins from the body. It's essential oils, glycosides, alkaloids and organic acids help clean the blood and detoxify the system. It's flowers are used for a diaphoretic (makes one perspire), diuretic, to restore and stimulate the lungs, as an eyewash, and to clear heat and inflammation. It's Berries are used as a diaphoretic, diuretic, and laxative. Elder's bark is used as an emetic, purgative, and diuretic. Finally, it's leaves are used externally for bruises, sprains, chilblains, all kinds of tumors, swellings and wounds. The berries of elder are also used for making wines and jellies. **WC** The plants themselves (branches, twigs) contain substances that produce severe purging if eaten.

Elecampagne- Elecampagne a close up of the flower
Elecampagne (Inula Helenium, also known as Elfwort, Yellow Starwort, Velvet Dock, Horseheal, Tu Mu Xiang, Scabwort, Elf Dock, and Wild Sunflower) has been used medicinally since early Roman times for ailments of the lungs. The name "Helenium" may have originated with Helen of Troy who is said to have had a handful of the plant when Paris stole her away. Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, Elecampane was among the many herbal preparations prescribed by Hippocrates.

Magickal Uses:

Elecampagne or Elfwort is an herb of consecration and purification. Elfwort's strong association with the Elven world is indicative of the type of Magick which accompanies this herb, and it can be used to work with the Eldritch and the Devas. Few herbs have been found so strongly connected with the Tarot. It is associated with the Fool card, and this card brings one in closer contact with the inner child. It is also associated with the Magician card, the symbolism of which represents the intellectual mastery essential in making ones Magick work. In addition, it is found associated with the Lovers card, and in turn this brings the practitioner the needed trust in the Universe essential in making the appropriate choice. Commercially, generally only the root is found for sale, but those growing or wildcrafting this herb can collect the flowers to dry and burn as incense for purification. It can be included in love charms and sachets. Elfwort can also be useful for baby blessings, and some include it in the ritual cup.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Elecampane helps soothe itchy skin and minor cuts, and it has been used to induce perspiration in the ease of colds or flu. The herb's real value, however, is as an expectorant. Elecampagne is used for treatment for asthma, bronchitis, cough, cough of tuberculosis, emphysema, hypertension, influenza, irritable cough, nausea, night sweats, pertussis, phthisis, silicosis, skin disorders, tracheitis, ulcers, and diarrhea. Elecampane has helped stomach cramps, regulate menstrual cycles, and has been used as a treatment for water retention. Researchers are taking a close look to see if the herb has a chemical compound that may be an antibiotic. Externally its used for herpes simplex and scabies. The plant is also is processed to yield a blue dye. **WC** Harvest the roots in the fall of the second year’s growth.

Elm- Elm a close up of the bloom
Elm (Ulmus Species, also known as Springwood, Indian Elm, Slippery Elm, Whahoo, Winged Elm, Witch Elm, Ooo-hoosk-ah, American Elm, and about 50 other names) contains about 45 species native to Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean, South and Central America, and North America. (All species look alike microscopically). In times of famine early American settlers used Slippery Elm as a survival food; it is said George Washington and his troops survived for several days on Slippery Elm gruel during the bitter winter at Valley Forge. In some European cultures it is believed that the sacred tree from which human life emerged through the first man and woman was an Elm rather than the Ash. Graves corresponds the Elm in the modern Irish alphabet with the letter Ailm or A. Unfortunately, American Elm is fast disappearing from the American scene as a result of the Dutch Elm Disease, accidentally introduced from Europe some years ago.

Magickal Uses:

Elm is a funeral and visionary herb. Grieve wrote that it was once popular to use Elm for constructing coffins because Elm is an appropriate herb to accompany the departed into the Otherworld during rituals of death and dying. The Dryad spirits of the Elm are pleasant and cooperative with the practitioner. Many believe that psychic communion, meditation, and ritual workings embracing the Elm assist in making contact with the Fae. The Elm is a most suitable Tree of Life. Elm leaves can be added to charms or burned as incense, and its younger branches make a wonderful wand.

Medicinal and Other Uses: Elm Seeds are very nutritious
Most of the medicinal information here pertains to Slippery Elm. The seeds contain 34 percent Protein, 17 percent Carbohydrate, and 28.2 percent Fat. Slippery Elm is a nutritious food that was made into a type of pudding for those who had weak stomachs. The dried inner portion of the Slippery Elm bark has been used both by Native Americans and early settlers. Slippery Elm is soothing to irritated tissues and has been used in poultices for its ability to encourage healing in wounds. It nourishes the adrenal glands, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory system. It also helps the body expel excess mucus. Other conditions Slippery Elm is used for include Abscess, Broken Bones, Burns and Scalds, Cholera, Colitis, Constipation, Debility, Diaper rash, Diarrhea (In children), Diverticulitis, Dysentery, Hemorrhoids, Hiatal Hernia, Indigestion, Labor pain, Leprosy, Sore Throat, and Sores. The Iroquois Natives are said to have used the bark for making canoes, rope, utensils, and roofing for their homes. The tough, cross-grained wood is highly resistant to splitting and is used in making baskets, furniture, and flooring. **GT** Elms can be infected with Dutch Elm Disease, caused by a fungus (Ceratocystis ulmi), especially in shadier trees. (American Elm has been literally decimated by the usually fatal Dutch Elm Disease). If the tree is grown, one of the disease resistant cultivars should be tried, however these are resistant, not immune.

Eucalyptus- River Red Gum Eucalyptus standing in full water a close up of the leaves and bloom
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Species, also known as Blue Gum, Curly Mallee, River Red Gum, Mottlecah, Maiden's Gum, and Fever Tree) is used by the Australian Aboriginals to heal their wounds.(ongoing Investigation reveals over 500 species and still counting). The name "gum tree" refers to the sticky substance Eucalypts exude called "kino". This magnificent tree can attain heights of three hundred feet. Its name comes from the Greek "Eu" (well), and "Kalyptos" (meaning covered), referring to the cap which covers the developing flowers. Globulus comes from Latin, meaning "a little button", referring to the shape of the operculum (the cap on the fruit). One of the largest trees in the world, the fast growing Eucalyptus sends out a vast network of roots, which literally drain marshy areas. In fact, it has proved to be highly effective in eliminating malarial swamps in a number of hot, humid countries. The famed 19th-century botanist and explorer, Baron Ferdinand von Muller, suggested that the fragrant leaves might be antiseptic. The French government accordingly sent the seeds to Algeria during the 1850s, and the drying ability of the roots was accidently discovered. This resulted in many North African marshy "fever districts" being converted into healthful, dry areas (combating the malarial mosquito). This experiment was subsequently used for the same purpose in other malarial regions worldwide. This stately, majestic tree has saved countless lives.

Magickal Uses:

Eucalyptus is an herb of purification, and it is a very cleansing herb. Both the leaves and the extracted oil are readily available, but those living in Southern climes are blessed by being able to gather the flowers to use in their Magick. Eucalyptus may be used to purify any space, whether preparing the temple or cleansing the home of unwanted energies. Try stuffing healing poppets, pillows, and sachets with the dried leaves. Arrange a ring of leaves around a blue candle and burn for healing vibrations. A branch of leaves may be hung over the sickbed or in the sickroom. (or add a few Eucalyptus flowers or leaves to bouquets sent to the also adds a very clean camphor-like aroma) Some string immature seed pods and hang around the neck to cure colds and sore throats.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

The oil extracted from Eucalyptus Globulus has two uses of commercial importance, medicinal and aromatic. Eucalyptus is useful during the cold and flu season. It contains strong antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral compounds. Oil of Eucalyptus globulus is famous as a traditional aid to expel mucus and fortify the respiratory system (its a great expectorant for those who are suffering from congestion, pneumonia, or the flu). This oil also benefits the skin. For medicinal use the most popular is in embrocations and lozenges. Up to 70 percent of the volume of oil from E. globulus is Eucalyptol but today medicinal oils are chiefly sourced from other species of Eucalyptus. The oil is a very powerful antiseptic and has strong disinfectant properties. Aromatically the oil serves a twofold purpose in household disinfectants and cleaners as germ killer and air freshener. Eucalyptus is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-viral, a bactericide, decongestant, and an insect repellent. **WC** Caution: Do not use Eucalyptus Oil on children under five or with asthmatics. **GT** Down in South Florida we find Eucalyptus Globulus (Blue Gum) as a common planting in our cemeteries because they are a tall, fast growing tree that frequently live upwards of 100 years in good condition. I can't think of a better living memorial for a loved one, and they are practically zero maintenance.


Eyebright in bloom
Eyebright's (Euphrasia Officinalis, also known as Meadow Eyebright, Euphrosyne, and Red Eyebright) name, Euphrasia, is derived from the Greek word that means "good cheer". This references the gladness felt by those whose eye sight was preserved by this plant. Traditional herbalists note that its flower often resembles a bloodshot eye, (due to a pale pink "striping" on some flowers) indicating to them that the plant is good for sore eyes.

Magickal Uses:

Eyebright is a visionary herb and good for clairvoyant works. Zeus had three daughters, known as The Three Graces (see our art gallery under the Miscellaneous Page for the sculpture "The Three Graces" by Antonio Canova). One of these daughters, Euphrosyne, was known to have the brightest outlook on life. (She is a lesser deity) One can use Eyebright with to turn to when life seems dark and a humorous outlook would be healing. Eyebright helps us, Magickally, to work with change internally, moving ones attitude from the dark and cloudy negative to a sunny, positive serenity. Use an eye wash of Eyebright with which to bathe one's eyes to open up the chakras and increase inner sight.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Eyebright is an astringent, anti-catarrhal, and anti-inflammatory. Eyebright is used for pinkeye, blepharitis, cataracts, common cold, conjunctivitis, coryza, cough, sore throat, eye disorders (as an eye wash), failing memory, hay fever, hepatitis, jaundice, ophthalmia, otitis media, rhinitis, sinus congestion, sinusitis, sty, and vertigo. **GT** Eyebright is difficult to transplant because of its semi-parasitical nature, so to be cultivated Eyebright must be given nurse plants on whose roots it can feed. (I never like that concept, but I'm just passing on information here)

The Fs Are Next...

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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.