Yarrow

Achillea millefolium

Achillea_millefolium_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-149

Names:

Bloodwort, Gandana (Sanskrit), I-chi-kao (Chinese), Lady’s Mantle, Milfoil, Miilifolium, Old Man’s Pepper, Sanuinary, Soldier’s Woundwort, Stanch Grass, Thousand Leaf, Thousand Seal, Nosebleed, Achillea, Bad Man’s Plaything, Carpenter’s Weed, Death Flower, Devil’s Nettle, Eerie, Field Hops, Gearwe, Hundred Leaves Grass, Knight’s Milfoil, Knyghtenm Old Man’s Mustard, Seven Year’s Love, Snake’s Grass, Tansy, Yerw

Description: 

A hardy weedy perennial, grows 8-18 inches, sometimes to 24 inches tall. If cultivated and fertilized, can grow to 5 feet. It is identifiable in the part by the finely divided leaves (millefolium= of a thousand leave) and the erect flowering stalk with the white or reddish composite flowers that are arranged in panicled false umbels, and in part by its aromatic scent, which is released when the leaves and flowers are crushed. Borne in large, flat, dense clusters 6 inches in diameter, the flowers are on top of the erect stems. Each flower head resembles a single flower but has five ray florets and a central disk. Flowers in summer to early fall. Seeds have small wings. It has soft, grayish, feathery, ethereal-looking leaves. The flowers are usually white but hybrids of today come in lavenders, reds, lemon-yellow and pinks. Varieties: A tomentosa, A. filipendulina, A decolorans. The white blooming A. millefolium is the most cultivated for medicinal use. Raising it from seed is possible, but quite involved. Collect a few plants from the roadside, etc., and set them 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) apart in normal garden soil in a sunny location. Everything else will take care of itself, as long as the area has no standing water. Zones 3-10. Not heat tolerant.

Culpeper
Descrip.- It has many leaves cut into a multitude of fine small parts, of a deep green color and tough substance; the stalk is upright, of a dull grayish green, and the flowers are usually white, but not all of the whiteness and grow in knots. Some of these, among others, will grow of a delicate crimson, which are those that produce seed, and from this seed will rise red flowered plants.

Where Found

Native to Europe, now commonly found growing wild in North America (except far north). This herb is a familiar plant in meadows and fields, along the sides of country lanes, roadsides, on embankments, and in landfills and garbage dumps.

 This is an upright, and not unhandsome plant common in our pasture grounds, and, like many others, of much more than is generally known. It is perennial and grows to two feet high.

Time

It blooms from July to the latter end of August.

Gender: Feminine, Planet: Venus, Element: Water, Powers: Courage, Love, Psychic Powers, Exorcism

Government and Virtues

It is under the influence of Venus. As a medicine it is drying and binding. A decoction of it boiled with white wine, is good to stop the running of the reins in men, and whites in women; restrains violent bleedings, and is excellent for the pilea. A strong tea in this case should be made of the leaves, and drunk plentifully; and equal parts of it, and of a toad flax, should be made into a poultice with pomatum, and applied outwardly. This induces sleep, eases the pain, and lessens the bleeding. An ointment of the leaves cures wounds, and is good for inflammations, ulcers, fistulas, and all such runnings as abound with moisture.

640px-Achillea_millefolium_-_roosa_harilik_raudrohi_Valingu

Parts Usually Used
Whole plant in flower, dried in the shade. (usually leaves and flowers)

Medicinal Properties
Astringent, antispasmodic, tonic, promotes sweating, styptic, hemostatic, alterative, diuretic, vulnerary, diaphoretic, carminitive, and stomachic

Biochemical Information
Yarrow yields a volatile oil containing azulene, also gum, tannin, resin, chlorides of calcium and potassium, and various salts such as nitrates, malates, and phosphorus, cineol and proaculene, achilleine (which is the bitter component of the herb), and vitamin C. Over a 100 biologically active compounds have been identified.

Uses
Used since antiquity for headaches, fevers (drink hot tea), colds, and influenza. Helps curb diarrhea, dysentery, anemia, gas, diabetes, Bright’s disease, palpitations and excessive menstruation. Treatment for gastrointestinal and gallbladder complaints, gonorrhea, toothache (chew the leaves), lack of appetite, and catarrhs of the digestive system, hyperacidity, nervousness, nosebleed, bleeding from the lungs, anorexia, enteritis, stomach ulcers, hemoptysis, gastritis, high blood pressure, styptic, and sleep disturbances, produces a feeling of peace and relaxation for women in the menopause, and is a tonic. The herb, either as a tea or as a bath additive, has proved helpful in allaying rheumatic pain and control of high blood pressure. Used for smallpox, typhoid fever, measles, malaria (it is more effective than quinine), and chickenpox to relieve itching.
In antiquity, and during the Middle Ages, yarrow was used primarily to treat old wounds. As a wash, it can be used to stop bleeding from piles, nosebleeds, and cuts , and to soothe sores and bruises.
Used as an insect repellent for Japanese beetles, ants and flies. Plant as a border to the garden.

Formulas or Dosages
For medicinal purposes, all the flowering parts above ground are used, everything except the lower, lignified parts of the plant. Cut it up to dry in the open air, then cut it into small pieces and store it in containers that can be tightly closed, protected from light and dampness.
One or two cups of tea made from the leaves or blossoms is reputed to stop nausea within minutes.
Tea: steep 1 heaping tsp. in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes. Drink 3 or 4 cups per day an hour before meals and upon retiring. It must be warm to be effective.
Take one wineglass full night and morning of a standard infusion from the leaves and occasional flowers.

Achillea_millefolium_vallee-de-grace-amiens_80_22062007_1

⊗Warning⊗
Yarrow interferes with the absorption of iron and other minerals.
Small numbers of cases of allergic reactions have been reported upon contact with the plant; their skin turned red and an itchy rash developed. Such people also cannot tolerate yarrow tea or yarrow baths. Discontinue the treatment at once if problems of this kind appear. Then the allergic reaction will disappear quickly. Avoid large doses in pregnancy because the herb is a uterine stimulant.
Large or frequent doses taken over a long period may be potentially harmful. Contains thujone, considered toxic. Consult with the doctor.

Magickal Uses

When worn, yarrow protects the wearer, and when held in the hand, it stops all fear and grant courage. A bunch of dried herb hung over the bed or yarrow used in wedding decorations ensures a love lasting at least seven years. It is also used in love spells. Carrying the herb not only brings love but it also attracts friends and distant relations you wish to contact. It draws the attention of those you most want to see. The flowers are made into an infusion and the resulting tea is drunk to improve psychic powers. Washing the head with a yarrow infusion will prevent baldness but won’t cure it if it has already begun. It is also used to exorcise evil and negativity from a person, place or thing.

Datura

**Datura is a poison and acts as a skin irritant if touched. Do not ingest without professional guidance**

Datura_stramonium_flower

Datura is of the nightshade family. It contains belladonna alkaloids. High doses lead to central excitation, compulsive chatter, delirium, hallucination, mania, and restlessness, often followed by exhaustion and lethargy and/or sleep.

Dature is also known as Angel’s Trumpets, Moonflowers, Devil’s Apple, Ghost Flower, Jimsonweed, Love-Will, Mad Apple, Madherb, Manicon, Stinkweed, Sorcerer’s Herb, Thornapple, Toloache, Witches’ Thimble, Yerba del Diablo (Herb of the Devil).

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Saturn

Element: Water

Powers: Hex Breaking, Sleep, Protection

It was used in Shamanic practices and religious rites and the Aztecs considered the plant to be sacred.

Magickal Uses: used to break spells by sprinkling it around the home. If insomnia persists night after night, it may be cured by placing some datura leaves into each shoe then setting the shoes under the bed with toes pointing outward the nearest wall. A few leaves placed the crown of a hat protects the wearer from apoplexy and sunstroke.

Used as: Anesthetic, anti asthmatic, antihitimanic, antiinflammatory, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, sedative, stimulant, fungicide, hallucinogen, hypnotic, mydriatic, narcotic, poison, sedative.

Used to treat: abscess, acidity, alopecia, apoplexy, asthma, ataxia, boil, bruise, burn, cancer, childbirth, colic, convulsion, cough, cramp, dandruff, delirium, dermatosis, diarrhea, earache, ecstasy, emphysema, epilepsy, fever, fits, flu, fracture, fungus, gout, headache, heatstroke, hemorrhoid, hiccup, hydrophobia, hyperacidity, hysteria, infection, inflammation, influenza, insomnia, madness, mania, melancholy, motion sickness, nymphomania, pain, paralysis, parasite, parkinson’s, psychosis, rheumatism, sciatica, sore, sore throat, spasm, sprain, stammering, thirst, tremor, tuberculosis, trismus, tuberculosis, ulcer, wart, wound.

Aloe

Aloe_Vera

Aloe Vera is part of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family and has its own genus. Native to Africa, this plant is now a popular house plant around the world.

Folk names for Aloe include: Burn Plant, Medicine Plant, Saqal, and Zabila.

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Moon

Element: Water

Powers: Protection, Luck

Aloe is protcective and guards against evil influences as well as prevents household accident.  In Africa, it is hung over houses and doors to drive away evil and bring good luck. The gel is used folklorically and the dried inner leaf juice pharmaceutically  as a laxative.

Most species have a rosette of large, thick, fleshy leaves. Flowers are tubular, frequently yellow, orange, pink or red, and are borne, densely clustered and pendant at the apex of simple or branched leafless stems. (Jesus Christ what a sentence!) Many species appear to be stemless, with the rosette growing directly at ground level; other varieties may have branched or unbranched stems from which the fleshy leaves spring. They vary in color from grey to bright green and are sometimes striped or mottled.

Aloe can be used as: Abortifacient (drug to cause abortion or contraceptive), analgesic (painkiller), anti-aging, anti-alcoholic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiplaque, antiseptic, antiviral, anti-wrinkle, bitter, collagenic, depurative, digestivem fungicide, hemostat, hypoglycemic, insecticide, laxative, moisturizer, stimulant, and tonic.

Aloe is used to treat: abrasion, abscess, acne, alcoholism, alopecia, anemia, asthma, bacteria, bleeding, blindness, boil, bruise, bug bite, burn, cancers, childbirth, colic, constipation (in adults), cough, dermatosis, diabetes, eczema, epilepsy, fever, frostbite, fungus, glaucoma, hemorrhoid, herpes, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia, hysteria, indigestion, infection, infertility, inflammation, itch, jaundice, leukemia, mouth sore, pain, peptic ulcer, psoriasis, radiation burn, rash, rheumatism, ringworm, salmonella, streptococcus, sunburn, swelling, syphilis, tuberculosis, tumor, ulcer, virus, wart, worm, wound, wrinkle.

Do not take aloe if you are pregnant or lactating. It may cause allergic dermatosis. Do not self medicate without consulting a dosage guide. 

Sources:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke

Dandelion

For another entry for my Wortcunning series is the Dandelion.

DandelionFlower

TaraxacumOfficinaleSeed

Dandelion (Taraxacum) is also known as Blowball, Cankerwort, Lion’s Tooth, Piss-a-Bed, Priest’s Crown, Puffball, Swine Snout, White Endive, and Wild Endive. The common name is French for “lion’s tooth.”

The dandelion is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Eurasia and North and South America. Two species of dandelion, T. officinale and T. erythrospernum, are found worldwide and both are edible in their entirety.

From Culpeper: “It is well known to have many long and deep gashed leaves lying on the ground round about the heads of the roots; the ends of each gash or jag, on both sides looking downwards towards the roots; the middle rib being white, which being broken yieldeth abundance of bitter milk, but the root much more; from among the leaves, which always abide green, arise many slender, weak, naked foot-stalks, every one of them bearing at the top one large yellow flower, consisting of many rows of yellow leaves, broad at the points, and nicked in with deep spots of yellow in the middle, which growing ripe, the green husk wherein the flowers stood turns itself down to the stalk, and the head of down becomes as round as a ball, with long reddish seed underneath, bearing a part of the down on the head of every one, which together is blown away with the wind, or may be at once blown away with one’s mouth. The root growing downwards exceeding deep, which being broken off within the ground, will yet shoot forth again, and will hardly be destroyed where it hath once taken deep root in the ground.”

Medically the dandelion is used as an allergenic, antibacterial, antidote, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, astringent, bitter, choleretic, detoxicant, degestive, diuretic, hypoglycemic, laxative, stimulant, and tonic to name a few.

It can be used to treat abscesses, alcoholism, anemia, anorexia, backache, bacteria, bladder stone, boils, bruises, cancer, congestion, coughs, cramps, diabetes, dysentery, fever, flu, gas, gallstone, eczema, heartburn, inflammation, infection, kidney stones, neurosis, obesity, pneumonia, rheumatism, sores, stomachache, swelling, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, vomiting, wart, water retention, and yeast.

The root can be dried, roasted, and ground like coffee and made into a tea. *Caution should be taken as dandelion is high in potassium. *

Magickal Uses

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Jupiter

Element: Air

Deity: Hecate

Used for divination, wishes, calling spirits, psychic powers. Burying dandelion in the NW corner of the house will bring good favor.

Sources:

 www.janih.com/lady/herbs/magick/D.html

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal

Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke

Acacia

I’ve decided to start writing about herbs, or Wortcunning. Wortcunning, by definition of Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, (“herbal wisdom”) is an old word used for discovering properties of plants. This type of cunning practice has been around for hundreds to thousands of years. It’s an old practice that I’m proud to study and be a part of. So I will go down a list and explain some common and rare herbs that witches use and how we use them.

First herb: Acacia

 Acacia_covenyi02

There are many types of Acacia growing throughout the world. Acacia is a genus of shrubs or trees from Gondwanian origin. Other names that this plant goes by is gum arabic, gum senegal, thorntree, wattle, or whistling thorn. Folk names for Acacia are Cape Gum, Egyptian Thorn, Kikwata, Mkwatia, Mgunga and Mokala. You will mainly find these trees in Australia and Northern Africa along the Nile.

 The flowers, leaves, stems, roots, bark, resin, seeds, and essential oils are used.

Medically, Acacia has many uses; few being: antibacterial, antihistamine, anti inflammatory, aphrodisiac, astringent, decongestant, expectorant, hemostat, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, neurostimulant, stimulant, and tonic.

It is known to be used to treat bacteria, bleeding, bronchosis, burn, different cancers, childbirth, chill, cholera, congestion, conjunctivitis, cough, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, flu, fractures, gingivosis, gonorrhea, hemorrhoid, hypertension, hyperglycemia, infection, inflammation, insanity, leprosy, pneumonia, pulmonosis, smallpox, snakebite, sores, sore throat, stomach ache, syphilis, tapeworm, toothache, tuberculosis, typhoid, and wounds to name a few.

Large internal doses may lead to constipation and dyspepsia.

For magickal uses burn the herb and oil for altar offerings. It aids in psychic powers and mediation. Placing a sprig over the bed wards off evil.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Air

Deities: Osiris, Astarte, Diana, Ra

Sources:  Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke with Mary Jo Bogenshutz-Godwin, Judi duCellier, and Peggy-Ann K. Duke

http://www.janih.com/lady/herbs/magick/A.html

http://www.earthwitchery.com/herba-g.html

Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs by Scott Cunningham