- MACE: (Myristica fragrans) This bushy evergreen has scented leaves and tiny yellow flowers. The fruits hold the seed -nutmeg- and its aril, a red, lacy shell coating -mace. Nutmeg and Mace are culinary spices used in sweet and savory dishes in a variety of cuisines. Nutmeg increases the intoxicating and soporific effect of alcoholic drinks and is claimed to be an aphrodisiac. It is prescribed for flatulence and nausea. The essential oil is added to perfumes, soaps, hair oils, tobacco, and fumigants. The nuts yield an oil, nutmeg butter, used in skin creams. Large doses of nutmeg are toxic, because of the presence of the hallucinogen myristicin.
Magical Uses: Burn to increase psychic power, or for creative work. Carry to improve the intellect.
Aromatherapy Uses: Indigestion; General Weakness; Bacterial Infections; Gout; Rheumatism; Arthritis; As an aid to Circulation.
- MARIGOLD: (Calendula officinalis) Also known as Calendula, Holigold, Pot Marigold and Bride of the Sun. A Druid sacred herb, this cheerful annual or perennial has hairy leaves and golden-orange daisy flowers. The leaves are added to salads and garnishes of flowers color rice and fish dishes. Calendula is antiseptic and antifungal and contains hormone and vitamin A precursors. Essential oil is extracted from the petals but is extremely expensive.
This is the "pot marigold" not the African variety so common in American gardens. The flowers are a healing agent. Added to fomentations, poultices and salves, they speed healing of wounds and of nerve damage. The infusion is given for intestinal problems and to clean lymph and blood. Useful in fevers, the herb can be used fresh, dry, or in tincture. For tea, steep two teaspoons of flowers per cup of water for twenty minutes; take one teaspoon per hour. Using tincture, take five to twenty drops four times a day.
Parts Used: Flower and leaf
Magical Uses: Known as "summer's bride", the yellow Calendula embodies the Sun's fire and life sustaining virtue. Calendula is carried into court for a favorable verdict. In the mattress it encourages prophetic dreams. Pick in full sun. Added to bathwater it helps with he respect and admiration of everyone you meet. Garlands of marigolds strung on the doorposts stop evil from entering the house. Use for: Marriage spells; Love; Divination; Protection; Enhanced Psychic Powers.
- MARJORAM: (Origanum majorana) Also known as Sweet Marjoram, Wintersweet, and Pot Marjoram (O. onites). Sweet Marjoram leaves have a sweeter, spicier taste than the leaves of Oregano and Pot marjoram. It is a popular culinary herb used in salads, sauces, cheese, and in liqueurs and as part of herbes de Provence. As an aromatic tea, Sweet Marjoram aids digestion, relieves flatulence, colds and headaches, soothes nerves and encourages menstruation. Marjoram essential oil is distilled from the leaves and flowering tops. It is antioxidant, reduces skin aging, antiviral, eases spasms, and stimulates local circulation.
Parts Used: Leaf and flower
Magical Uses: An infusion of marjoram, mint and rosemary can be sprinkled around the house for protection. This also works for protecting specific objects. Brings happiness to a depressed person. Violets and Marjoram, mixed together, are worn during the winter months as an amulet against colds. Grown in the garden it offers shielding powers against evil. Love; Protection; Defense; Wealth; Happiness; Purification; Cleansing.
Aromatherapy Uses: Chilblains; Bruises; Tics; Arthritis; Lumbago; Muscular Aches and Stiffness; Sprains; Strains; Asthma; Bronchitis; Colds; Coughs; Colic; Constipation; Dyspepsia; Flatulence; Amenorrhea; PMS; Headache; Hypertension; Insomnia; Migraine; Nervous Tension; Stress Related Conditions. Key Qualities: Anaphrodisiac, Stupefying on large doses; Cephalic; Sedative; Nervine; Restorative; Warming; Comforting.
- MASTIC: (Pistachia lentiscus) Also known as Gum Mastic. This aromatic, evergreen shrubby tree has scented pale green spring flowers in clusters and red to black berries. The bark is tapped for mastic, its resin, which chewed in the eastern Mediterranean as a breath freshener and employed as a flavoring for bread, pastries, and the liqueur Mastiche. This resin can be difficult to find, if unavailable try substituting a combination, equal parts of gum arabic and frankincense.
Magical Uses: Love; Magical Power; Psychic Awareness; Adds potency and power to any incense.
- MEADOWSWEET: (Filipendula ulnaria) Also known as Queen of the Meadow, Gravel Root, and Meadowwort. One of the three most sacred Druid herbs, (with Mint and Vervain), this herb has upright stems of wintergreen-scented, divided leaves, topped by frothy umbels of almond-scented cream flowers. The stems grow up to four feet tall and are sometimes purple. The leaves smell like almonds and the flowers give an almond flavor to mead, herb wines, jam and stewed fruit. Dried flowers scent linen and yield an astringent skin tonic. Flower buds contain salicylic aced, a chemical from which aspirin was synthesized (not from Filipendula but from Spirea, a related herb), but the herb as a whole is gentler on the stomach. Herbalists use flower tea for stomach ulcers and headaches, as an antiseptic diuretic, and for feverish colds, diarrhea, and heartburn. Meadowsweet was a favorite strewing herb of Elizabeth I.
Traditional herbalists simmered the flowers in wine to treat fevers and to cure depression. The fresh flower tops, taken in tea, promote sweating. Steep two teaspoons of the herb in one cup boiled water for twenty minutes. Take one-quarter cup four times a day. A distilled water of the flowers makes an eyewash to treat burning and itching. Meadowsweet is a classic for diarrhea, especially valued for children. The leaf is added to wine to bring a "merry heart", that is, to treat depression. Meadowsweet contains methyl salicylate, making it a good herb for rheumatic complaints and flus. It is astringent and helps with indigestion. It has diuretic properties, which make it helpful in edema. The tea has been used for respiratory tract infections, gout, and arthritis. It can help bladder and kidney problems, epilepsy, and rabies.
The whole plant is used - roots, flowers, and leaves - with the root being more useful for fevers. To prepare the root, simmer two tablespoons of the dried root in one cup of water for twenty minutes. Take one cup a day. The leaf is placed in claret wine to enhance the taste, and it was at one time added to mead.
Parts Used: Root, leaf and flower
Magical Uses: According to Grieve, meadowsweet, water mint, and vervain were the three most sacred herbs of the Druids. Meadowsweet is an herb of Jupiter and is useful in love spells. Use fresh flowers to decorate the altar during love spells, use the dried petals in love mixtures. Strew about the house to keep peace. Fresh flowers should be included in the bridal bouquet. Use for: Love; Happiness; Divination; Peace.
- MINT: (Mentha spicata, sativa, aquatica, and others) A Druid sacred herb, most mints are creeping plants that hybridize easily, producing infinite variations. The have erect, square branching stems, aromatic foliage and flowers in leaf axils. Mints are stimulant, aid digestion, and reduce flatulence. They flavor candy, drinks, cigarettes, toothpastes, and medicines.
The infusion of the herb has been used for diarrhea and as an emmenagogue (it brings down the menses). It is a classic for colds and influenza, especially when mixed with elder flower-but be careful, as this remedy will make you sweat, and you must take care to keep well covered with blankets and woolens. Stomach flu is helped by a mint, elderflower, and yarrow combination in a standard infusion of two teaspoons per cup steeped for twenty minutes and taken in quarter-cup doses.
Mint is helpful in stomach complaints, but a strong infusion will be emetic (it makes one throw up). Mint tea eases colic and eases depression. It relieves earaches when the fresh juice of a few drops of the essential oil are placed in the ear. A few drops of the oil in water, applied with a cloth, help burning and itching, heat prostration, and sunburn. Apply it directly to an itchy skin condition or sunburn. For heat prostration place the cool fomentation on the forehead and wrists.
Mint tea with honey soothes a sore throat. A classic cold remedy that will unblock the sinuses is two drops of mint essential oil, two drop eucalyptus essential oil and the juice of half a lemon in a cup of hot water. The mix is first inhaled and then drunk when warm.
CAUTION: No more than two drops of the essential oils should be taken at any time, and no more that two cups a day of the above mixture. Larger doses can be toxic to the kidneys.
Parts Used: The above ground portions of the herb.
Magical Uses: Mint is placed in the home as a protective herb. It belongs to the sphere of Venus and has long been used in healing potions and mixtures. The fresh leaves rubbed against the head are said to relieve headaches. Mint worn at the wrist assures that you will not be ill. Its bright green leaves and crisp scent led to its use in money and prosperity spells. Fresh mint laid on the altar will call good spirits to be present and aid you in magic, especially healing spells. Added to incenses it cleanses the house or ritual area. Use for: Protection; Healing; Prosperity; Good Luck; Fortune; Justice; Travel; Exorcism.
Aromatherapy Uses: (Peppermint) Acne; Dermatitis; Ringworm; Scabies; Toothache; Neuralgia; Muscular Pain; Palpitations; Asthma; Bronchitis; Sinusitis; Spasmodic Cough; Colic; Cramps; Dyspepsia; Flatulence; Nausea; Colds; Flu; Fevers; Fainting; Headache; Mental Fatigue; Migraine; Nervous Stress; Vertigo; Halitosis; Insect Repellent. Key Qualities: Refreshing; Restorative; Nerve Tonic; Cephalic; Aphrodisiac; Mental Stimulant.
- MISTLETOE: (Viscum album) Also known as Birdlime, All-Heal, Druid's Herb, and Golden Bough. It is the most sacred "tree" of the Druids and rules over Winter Solstice. The berries are poisonous. Mistletoe is thought to be most powerful if growing on an oak tree. The leafy twigs, toxic in volume, are a heart tonic, reduce blood pressure, slow heart rate, strengthen capillary walls, stimulate the immune system and inhibit tumors.
Mistletoe grows from norther Europe to northwest Africa and east to Asia and Japan. Different varieties are found on hard-wood and softwood trees, which include apple (the most common), elm, oak, spruce, pine, and poplar. Druids considered that the mistletoe found on oak was the most potent and sacred.V
The berries ripen in midwinter and have a further peculiarity in that the ripe berries, open flowers, green berries, and immature leaves can all be found on the same plant. Mistletoe does not adhere to the linear logic of most plants, wit their budding, flowering, and seed production sequence. It also seems to ignore heilotropism and geotropism, it will grow upside down, sideways, or in any direction it "chooses". Another unique feature is that it germinates only in the light, unlike most plants, which require darkness to germinate. The flower buds form in May but do not open until February. The berries ripen the following winter. The entire process, from flower to fruit, can take almost two years! Even its name mistl (different) tan tan (twig) (from the Anglo-Saxon) reminds us of its peculiarities.
Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant, generally spread by bird droppings. It forms a globular mass that can reach up to three feet in diameter. There are male plants and female plants, and both derive their water and minerals from the host tree and produce their own carbohydrates via photosynthesis.
Mistletoe seems to hold itself aloof form the rhythms and laws of the earthly seasons, and in this way parallels the illogical and uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells in the body. As early as 1961, laboratory studies demonstrated that mistletoe, along with other immunostimulant plants (such as eupatorium, astragalus, echinacea, acathopanax, chamomilla, and sabal), inhibited tumors in mice. Fermented mistletoe taken from oak trees was shown to stimulate the activity of killer cells and showed an especially strong effect on rat hematomas (liver cancers). Unfermented mistletoe showed a strong effect on human leukemia (Molt 4) cells. Korean mistletoe (Viscum coloratum) was found to be more active in inhibiting the growth of leukemia L1210, especially when used fresh.
Mistletoe extracts have been shown to possess significant antitumor activity, not only against murine tumors but also in cases of Lewis' lung carcinome, a colon adenocarcinoma 38 and C3H adenocarcinomas of the breast. The extracts are not toxic and may be administered in high doses. Twenty drops four times a day is the average dose.
Many nervous conditions such as convulsions, delirium, hysteria, neuralgia, urinary disorders, and heart conditions have benefitted from the activity of mistletoe. It has also been used to temper the spasms of epilepsy. Mistletoe strengthens the heart and has been used as a heart tonic in cases of typhoid fever. It strengthens the glandular system and has helped with inflammation of the pancreas. It promotes hormonal balance when taken daily for six months.
Mistletoe is recommended for use after a stroke or when hardening of the arteries is suspected. It will stop pulmonary and intestinal bleeding caused by dysentery and typhoid. It helps to lower high blood pressure and raise low blood pressure, and it has been used to ease heavy menstrual flow, heart palpitations, hot flashes, and the anxiety associated with menopause. The fresh juice has been said to increase fertility in barren women.
The green plant can be simmered using a standard concoction of two teaspoons of the herb per cup of water and taken in tablespoon doses several times a day.
CAUTION:Large doses have been known to induce convulsions in children. The berries should not be used for internal consumption. They are used in salves and washes for wounds.
Parts Used: Twig and leaf
Magical Uses: Not quite herb, not quite tree, beyond the limitations of classification, freed from the restrictions of convention, and resembling a constellation of stars suspended in midair from the bough of a sacred tree - such is the "spirit" of this plant. It belongs to the in-between times of dusk and dawn, or the exact interval between two seasons. It is a gateway to something "other".
In Italy, there is an old tale of a radiantly beautiful fairy who appeared to a certain knight with the image of the crescent moon and the Holy Grail at her feet. In her hands she held a sprig of mistletoe. She told the knight that the mistletoe was what kept her eternally young and beautiful.
Mistletoe should be cut on Midsummer's Day, or else when the moon is six days old. Druids would use a golden sickle to cut it and it wasn't allowed to touch the ground. It is traditionally hung in the home at Yule, and those who walk under it exchange a kiss of peace. Bunches of mistletoe can be hung as an all-purpose protective talisman. Long used for protection against lightening, disease, misfortune of every kind, fires and so on. Laid near the bedroom door, mistletoe gives restful sleep and beautiful dreams, as it does when placed beneath the pillow or hung at the headboard. Kiss your love beneath mistletoe and you'll stay in love. Burned, Mistletoe banishes evil. Its wood is a good choice for wands and ritual implements. Mistletoe is an excellent all-purpose herb. Use in spells for: Protection; Love; Hunting; Fertility; Health; Exorcism.
- MUGWORT: (Artemisia vulgaris) Also known as Sailor's Tobacco, Witch Herb, and Old Man. A Druid sacred herb, this aromatic perennial Its wood is a good choice for wands and ritual implements. The plant has medium green leaves with silver, downy undersides and red-brown florets.
The classic herb for premenstrual symptoms, used in tea and the bath. Use a standard infusion of two teaspoons per cup of water steeped for twenty minutes, take one-fourth cup four times a day. It makes a good foot bath for tired feet and legs. Cleansing to the liver, it promotes digestion. Mugwort in an emmenagogue, especially when combined with pennyroyal, blue cohosh, or angelica root. It is helpful in epilepsy, palsy, and hysteria and is useful for fevers. When laid among clothing, mugwort repels moths.
Parts Used: Leaf and stem
Magical Uses Mugwort is burned with sandalwood or wormwood during scrying rituals, and a mugwort infusion is drunk (sweetened with honey) before divination. The infusion is also used to wash crystal balls and magic mirrors, and mugwort leaves are placed around the base of the ball (or beneath it) to aid in psychic workings. In China it is hung over doors to keep evil spirits for buildings. Mugwort is also carried to increase lust and fertility, to prevent backache, and to cure disease and madness. Placed next to the bed it aids in achieving astral projection. It is said to protect travelers from fatigue, sunstroke, wild animals, and evil spirits.
- MULLEIN: (Verbascum thapsus) Also known as Hag's Taper, Candlewick Plant, Aaron's Rod, Velvet Plant, and Shepherd's Club. This biennial has a rosette of woolly leaves and a tall, thick, downy, resinous stem of bright yellow flowers, followed by many-seeded capsules. The honey-scented flowers flavor liqueurs and yield skin-softening mucilage. The expectorant, soothing, and spasm-sedating properties of the leaf and flowers are used to treat raspy coughs and are added to herbal tobacco. Woolly leaf wraps preserve figs and are used as tinder and emergency bandages. The powdered leaves are sometimes called "Graveyard Dust", and can be substituted for such.
The leaf is a classic remedy for bronchitis (as well as other coughs) and burning urination. Simmer two teaspoons per cup and take a quarter cup four times a day. A tea of the flowers take before bed brings on sleep. A poultice of the leaves helps wounds and sores. The leaves steeped in vinegar and water will soothe inflammations, painful skin conditions, and hemorrhoids when used externally as a poultice. They may be used in tincture form, fifteen to forty drops every two to four hours.
Parts Used: Leaf and flower
Magical Uses In India, mullein is regarded as the most potent safeguard against evil spirits and magic, and is hung over doors, in windows and carried in sachets. It is also used to banish demons and negativity. At one time Witches and magicians used oil lamps to illuminate their spells and rites and the downy leaves and stems of the mullein often provided the wicks. Protection; Divination; Health; Courage; Determination; Exorcism; Defense.
- MYRRH: (Comniphora myrrha) An ancient and sacred incenses, the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory oil of Myrrh was used for embalming. It is now found in toothpaste and perfume. Myrrh was burned to Ra at noon in Ancient Egypt and was also fumed in the temples of Isis.
Especially valued as a disinfectant, myrrh is used as a wash for wounds. Use as a wound wash only after the wound has been well cleaned. It has the tendency to seal wounds once it is placed on them. Use the alcohol tincture in water or the tea as a wound wash. Myrrh promotes circulation and increases heart rate and power. Said to move stagnant blood through the uterus, it has been used for menopause, menstrual irregularities , and uterine tumors. Myrrh benefits diabetes and obesity; the dose is one to fifteen grains. Combined with echinacea and mullein to one quarter part myrrh; steep two teaspoons per cup of water for twenty minutes; take a quarter cup every four hours. Myrrh, goldenseal, arnica, and cayenne can be soaked in rubbing alcohol for a few weeks to make a liniment for bruises and sprains.
CAUTION:Prolonged internal use of myrrh (longer than a few weeks) can lead to kidney damage.
Parts Used: Resin
Magical Uses: Myrrh is a Goddess plant of the Moon's sphere, sacred to Isis. Burned as an incense,myrrh purifies the area, lifts the vibrations aids contemplation and meditation and creates peace. However, it is seldom burned alone; usually in conjunction with frankincense or other resins. Myrrh increases the power of any incense to which it is added. Myrrh is also included in healing incenses and sachets, and its smoke is used to consecrate, purify and bless objects such as amulets, talismans, charms, and magical tools. It also aids meditation and contemplation. The essential oil can be added to blends designed to enhance spirituality and meditation. It is also used in healing mixtures.
Aromatherapy Uses: Athlete's Foot; Chapped and Cracked Skin; Eczema; Ringworm; Wounds; Wrinkles; Mature Complexions; Arthritis; Asthma; Bronchitis; Catarrh; Colds; Coughs; Sore Throats; Voice Loss; Diarrhea; Dyspepsia; Flatulence; Hemorrhoids; Loss of Appetite; Thrush; Pruritus; Treats Gum Infections and Mouth Ulcers. Key Qualities: Purifying; Uplifting; Revitalizing; Sedative, Restorative; Soothing.
- MYRTLE: (Myrtus communis) This dense, evergreen shrub has aromatic leaves and flower buds, creamy white flowers, and blue-black berries. The flowers are made into toilet water called eau d'ange, added with the leaves to acne ointment, and dried for potpourri. Leaf essential oil is the source of myrtol, given for gingivitis.
Magical Uses: Love, Money and Riches; Creative Work; Youth. If grown on each side of a house love and peace will reside within and it is a lucky plant to grow in window boxes if a woman plants it.
Aromatherapy Uses: Acne; Hemorrhoids; Oily Skin; Open Pores; Asthma; bronchitis; Catarrhal conditions; chronic Coughs; Tuberculosis; Colds; Flu; Infectious Disease. Key Qualities: Mildly stimulating; Nerve Tonic; Antiseptic; Clarifying; Cleansing; Uplifting; Aphrodisiac; Refreshing.
- NUTMEG: (Myristica fragrans) See Mace.
Magical Uses Nutmegs have long been carried as good luck charms, and are strung with star anise and tonka beans for a potent herbal necklace. Burn for prosperity., luck, psychic awareness, fortune, clairvoyance, divination, justice, and meditation.
Aromatherapy Uses: Arthritis; Gout; Muscular Aches and Pains; Poor circulation; Rheumatism; Flatulence; Indigestion; Nausea; Sluggish Digestion; Bacterial Infection; Frigidity in Women; Impotence in Men; Neuralgia; Nervous Fatigue. Key Qualities: Aphrodisiac; Analgesic; Narcotic; Tonic (nerve and heart); Comforting; Soothing; Calming; Elevating; Cephalic; Euphoric.
- OAK: (Quercus alba or spp.) Also known as Tanner's Bark, White Oak, and Common Oak. A Druid Holy tree, the oak was the King of trees in a grove. Oak bark and galls are astringent and antiseptic. Oak bark provides tannin and as leather tanners seemed immune to tuberculosis, the bark was used for treatment of the disease.
The white oak (Q. alba) is the best for internal use. Infuse the inner bark or young leaf (before Midsummer) for douches and enemas. Internal rectal problems, hemorrhoids, leukorrhea, menstrual irregularities, and bloody urine are also benefitted. Take internally as a tea and apply externally in fomentation, to shrink varicose veins. The tea brings down fevers, treats diarrhea, and makes a wash for sores. Up to three cups a day may be safely taken. As a gargle, it treats mouth sores and sore throats. Being an astringent, it stops internal bleeding. Black oak (Q. tinctoria) and red oak (Q. rubra) can be used externally. English oak (Q. robur) can be used both externally and internally.
Oak leaves are prepared in infusion for douches to treat vaginal infections; gather them before Midsummer. To prepare, steep one tablespoon per quart of water for thirty minutes. A tea of the buds is a valuable tonic for the liver; steep two teaspoons per cup of water for twenty minutes. Simmer the bark in salves to make a remedy for hemorrhoids.
Parts Used: Inner bark (cambium) and young leaf; for the leaf, use two teaspoons per cup and steep for twenty minutes; for the bark, use one tablespoon per cup and simmer for twenty minutes.
Magical Uses: The Oak is a tree of the sun, and sacred to Brighid and the Dagda. Druids do not celebrate unless in the presence of an oak, yew, ash, or other sacred tree. Oak symbolized abundance, fertility, longevity, protection, and the ability to withstand the lightening blasts of spiritual awareness while remaining firmly rooted in the material. All parts of the tree are powerful protective charms, which bring healing. Magic wands are made of Oak Wood (Mine Is!). A tree as long-lived and strong as the oak naturally offers magical protection. Oak Galls, known as Serpent's Eggs, were used in magical charms. Acorns bring fertility and abundance to any endeavor. Carry one for luck. Acorns gathered at night hold the most fertility powers. The Druids and priestesses listened to the rustling oak leaves and the wrens in the trees for divinatory messages. Burning oak leaves purifies the atmosphere. Represents the God. Use galls in chars. Acorns draw money, burn the wood for good health, energy, strength, power, protection, defense, money and business.
- OAKMOSS: (Pseudevernia prunastri) Oak Moss is a whitish blue to green, shrubby lichen. A lichen is an alga (which photosynthesizes) and a fungus operating together in a symbiotic relationship. The Arabs use ground Oak Moss to leaven bread. It is collected as a violet-scented fixative and an oleo-resin, extracted for perfumes and soap. Native Americans used it when binding wounds; it is a stomach tonic and an expectorant, and soothes coughs. Oak Moss yields a purple wool dye, but air pollution has made it scarce.
Parts Used: Whole Plant
Magical Uses: Use to attract money.
- ORANGE, SWEET: (Citrus sinensis) See Lemon
Magical Uses Use Peels in incense for love, good fortune, divination, balance, healing, harmony, peace, money and riches, Psychic awareness, Luck. A highly Solar scent, add essential oil to purification blends.
Aromatherapy Uses: Dull and oily complexions; Obesity; Palpitations; Water Retention; Bronchitis; Chills; Colds; Flu; Constipation; Dyspepsia; Spasm; Nervous Tension; Stress-Related Conditions; Used to treat Mouth Ulcers. Key Qualities: Tonic; Refreshing; Warming; Uplifting; soothing; Sedative; Comforting.
- ORRIS ROOT: (Iris germanica var.florentina Orris root has a stout rhizome, swordlike leaves, and large, scented flowers in early summer that range in color from pale blue to white.
Parts Used: Root
Magical Uses: The orris root has long been used to find and hold love. The whole orris root is carried, the powder is added to sachets, sprinkled on sheets, clothing and the body as well as around the house. Orris root powder is sometimes known as "Love Drawing Powder". Use for: Divination; Protection; Psychic Awareness.
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© 1998 Joelle Miller