For each herb studied, I will offer the traditional and modern therapeutic uses, the uses in magic, and some ways of working with the herb for personal growth. If the herb produces an essential oil used in Aromatherapy, I will list its uses in this discipline. If someone has published information about an essence made of its flowers, I will share what I can find about the uses of the flower essence. I am not doing a search of the scientific literature for each of these herbs, simply offering the information I have close at hand, summarising and occasionally quoting the words of the authors listed in the bibiliography below.
My experience with these herbs has been that if I compile this information and then meditate with either a living plant or a good quality oil, or even a picture if all else fails, I have been able to contact the Devas of many of the herbs; they have given me information about the spiritual challenges they can help one deal with on an energetic level, and how this relates to healing the physical symptoms that the herb in question is known to work upon. This material is highly speculative, and so I am not offering it in any detail, but I summarise it in an affirmation for each herb in this series, and I will be trying to recreate a feel of the energy I experienced with my choice of colours for each page.
For those of you new to the language of herbs, I have written a glossary of herbal therapeutic terms, and each underlined word in the herb page is a link to its definition in that glossary. Just use the "back" button in your browser to get back to the herb page. It can take a long time to download the glossary the first time in a session, but the information comes quicker the next time.
I offer information on the Ayurvedic use of most of the herbs, where that is available to me. There is a document in this index that outlines some of the basic principles of this system of healing, and offers a quiz for you to determine your Ayurvedic constitution so that you can use this information if you wish.
I also offer a glossary of terms used to describe herbal preparations. If in the herb pages, I use the terms infusion or tincture without specifying a particular ratio of herb to water or alcohol, I am referring to a "standard" infusion or tincture as defined in the Herbal Preparations glossary. When I suggest other ratios for infusions or tinctures, they are taken from Michael Moore's Materia Medica. If you go to check it out, enjoy his whole page.
The material on magical uses of herbs is taken from Cunningham and Beyerl. The information on using herbs for personal growth is taken largely from Tierra's The Spirit of Plants, but includes some information from other sources as well. One may work with the herbs for personal growth in a number of ways: they may be used in amulets and pouches; one may wish to meditate with a live herb or holding some dried herb and looking at a picture; one may take the flower essence to receive the energy of the herb, either on a regular basis or during meditation with the herb; On Tierra's suggestion, I found that I could make a "fake" essence by putting one drop of a tincture in an ounce bottle of spring water and 40% brandy, and taking this as I would take a flower essence; one may use the essential oil in any of the ways they can be used; or one may burn the herb on charcoal as an incense during meditation.
If you see information here that you question, please feel free to write to me...I am learning, too.
Enjoy meeting these wonderful plant cousins and letting them into your life. They enjoy being asked to help. I have tried not to include any herbs here that are becoming scarce in the wild.
Willowsong, Ostara, 1997.
1. Culpepper, Nicholas, Culpepper's Complete Herbal and English Physician, Enlarged orig pub 1811, Meyerbooks ed., Glenwood, Illinois, 1944. (An old classic, great for folklore and planetary correspondences.)
2. Frawley, D., and Lad, V., The Yoga of Herbs, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wis, 1986. (Great for the Ayervedic approach to herbalism.)
3. Greive, M., A Modern Herbal, orig pub 1931, Penguin ed. London, 1980. (A must-have. Rich with folklore and indications from the days when herbal preparations were listed in the British Pharmacopaeia)
4. Hoffman, D., The New Holistic Herbal, 3rd Ed., Element Books, Longmead, Dorset, 1990. (A good overview with helpful information on body systems.)
5. Hoffman, D., The Herbalist, CD ROM Hopkins Technology, Hopkins, MN, 1994. (Much more detailed than the above, on CD ROM. Recommended.)
6. Holmes, P., The Energetics of Western Herbs, Artemis Press, Boulder, CO, 1989. (Relates herbs used in the west to the Traditional Chinese Medical system. Extremely informative, even if you don't understand the system involved.)
7. Meyer, J. E., The Herbalist, Meyerbooks, Glenwood, Illinois, 1981. (Another old classic. Great colour plates.)
8. Moore, Michael, Herbal Materia Medica, obtained from his site. (Wonderful resource for recommended strengths of herbal preparations.)
9. Moore, Michael, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, Red Crane Books, Santa Fe, NM, 1993. (A wonderful look at some plants native to the west coast...top rate information with good pictures and a dose of humour.)
10. Tierra, Michael, Planetary Herbology, Lotus Press, Santa Fe NM, 1988. (Combines Chinese and Western herbalism.)
11. Tierra, Michael and Cantin, Candis, The Herbal Tarot and The Spirit of Herbs, US Games Systems, Stamford, CT. (Wonderful deck and an info-packed book that accompanies it. The inspiration for much of this work)
12. Weed, Susun, Healing Wise, Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock, New York, 1989. (A revolutionary look at herbalism; Weed gets to know the herbs as people. A delightful book that covers only seven herbs but in a very deep way.)
13. Willard, Terry, The Wild Rose Scientific Herbal, Wild Rose College, Calgary Alberta, 1991. (Up to date on scientific literature to the date of its publication)
14. Wren, F. L. S., Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, 14th Ed., C. W. Daniel, Saffron Walden, England, 1988. (Great on the chemistry and how it relates to function. Expensive, but very useful if you want to know the science behind herbal pharmacology.)
1. Beyerl, Paul, The Master Book of Herbalism, Pheonix, Custer WA, 1984. (A wonderful overview on using herbs in magic. Recommended.)
2. Cunningham, Scott, The Complete Book of Oils, Incense and Brews, Llewellyn, St. Paul, MN, 1989. (A great resource. Every practicing witch needs this one.)
3. Cunningham, Scott, Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Llewellyn, St. Paul, MN, 1992. (Comprehensive. If you want to use herbs for magic, you need it.)
4. Cunningham, Scott, Magical Aromatherapy, Llewellyn, St. Paul, MN, 1990. (If you have the oils and want to know more about them, get it.)
1. Cunningham, Donna, Flower Remedies Handbook, Sterling, New York, 1992. (Covers most of the major distributors, so this book is good for directing you to the right remedy even though it doesn't have detailed profiles for many of the essences. If you like flower essences and want to know what's available, this is a great book. P.S.: no relation.)
2. Kaminski, P., & Katz, R., Flower Essence Repertory, 2nd Ed., Flower Essence Society, Nevada City, Ed. 1992. (Incredible profiles of the Bach and California essences. If you use them, you need it. The source of the lovely descriptions I have quoted in the individual herb pages.)
3. Wright, Machaelle, Flower Essences: Reordering Our Understanding and Approach to Illness and Health, Perelandra Limited, Jefferson Virginia, 1988. (A book filled with heart that outlines many powerful ways to use the essences)
1.Fischer-Rizzi, Susanne, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook, Sterling Publishing, New York, 1990. (A beautiful book that offers a sensory treat for those who wish to get to know the oils.)
2. Lawless, Julia, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Element, Rockport, MA, 1992. (Comprehensive. Very useful.)
3. Tisserand, R. B., The Art of Aromatherapy, Inner Traditions International Ltd, New York, 1977. (A classic. Exhaustive coverage of a limited number of essences.)
4. Valnet, J., The Practice of Aromatherapy, C.W. Daniel Co., Safton Walden, Essex, 1980. (Another classic. Aromatherapy as a science.)
5. Worwood, Valerie Ann, The Fragrant Pharmacy, Bantam Books, London, 1990. (An exceptionally useful book, filled with blends for every indication. Includes an aromatherapy first aid section with remedies for common problems using only nine of the most commonly available oils.)