An area that I am very passionate and enjoy studying that of herblore. Both the folklore and superstition associated with given herbs or plants but as well actual remedies that are tried and true and even used to this very day. One example of such is one I am sure many of you are familiar with is ginger being used in supplements to help calm nausea or any such ailments pertaining to an upset stomach. Such things are handy to research for the modern leechcrafter both for obvious practical reasons and as well this gives one insight into what some of a plant’s “magical” correspondences maybe.
This is an area that I wasn’t really sure “where to begin with.” So of course I took inspiration from the lore of the ancestors and folk for guidance. I decided to introduce the subject by starting with the category of “The Nine Herbs Charm.”
Here I will focus on and discuss how each of these herbs are used medicinally and as remedies in the modern day. More so focusing on this area. Now of course each of the herbs as well as the Nine Herbs Charm in itself has many esoteric and “magical” lore attached to it and how it can be utilized as such. Which this in and of itself could have it’s own post/s dedicated to this alone.
However, here today I would like to focus on an area that will surely spark interest to many. Whether folk magicians or not. Focusing on how such herbs are utilized as a simple remedies even in contemporary times.
*DISCLAIMER: Any such info given here on in one uses at their own discretion! Please keep in mind your unique requirements, allergies, etc… This is general educational information!
With that being said! Let’s begin….
~Remember, Mugwort, what you made known,
What you arranged at the Great proclamation.
You were called Una, the oldest of herbs,
you have power against three and against thirty,
you have power against poison and against infection,
you have power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.~
Just it’s passage in the poem alludes to; Mugwort has been in use both as an herbal charm and medicine for a very long time thousand of years!
Mugwort is said to be beneficial for the female reproductive organs. Specifically for women who are not pregnant it is said to assist in bringing on a delayed menstrual cycle, as well as helping a woman’s cycles be regular.
As well a very good digestive stimulant. In-fact mugwort tea has been quite popular through the ages. Drinking this tea is said to help alleviate and treat gas and bloating. Which may also add to the benefits for menstruating women as these are common ailments that occur at this time.
Much like it’s close relative Wormwood ; Mugwort can be used to help “get rid of worms” or rather getting rid of certain parasites.
Mugwort is also one of those plants that is fantastic for keeping pesky mosquitoes at bay. You can combine mugowort with other such herbs and flowers known to repel such pests like: lavender, lemongrass, and of course citronella (to name a few) to make an effective mosquito repellent.
Along with burning the herb mugwort is often used to “clear the air” or purify a space.
~And you, Plantain, mother of herbs,
Open from the east, mighty inside.
over you chariots creaked, over you queens rode,
over you brides cried out, over you bulls snorted.
You withstood all of them, you dashed against them.
May you likewise withstand poison and infection
and the loathsome foe roving through the land.~
Plantain is a fantastic herb with a distinctly beautiful appearance. Native to and found growing throughout most of Europe, Plantain is also quite abundant in North America as well. In-fact I recall seeing this stuff everywhere in Canada. Even finding it growing in plenty out of the cracks of sidewalks in even the most urban areas during the summer months.
Plantain has many soothing topical qualities. The leaves work great in poultices to help treat and alleviate many types of skin irritations from rashes, insect bites, to sunburn. These poultices can also be used to help alleviate sore or swollen joints and muscles as well sprains. Any sort of ailment that requires treating irritation or inflammation.
Taken internally Plantain can be consumed as a tea to help with digestive issues, heartburn, and other such irritated and inflamed issues like Urinary Tract Infections.
Also a plant rich in nutrients! Such as vitamins A, C, and K as well as magnesium. Parts of the plantain can be added to foods to get such nutritional benefits.
The herb known as “Lambs Crest” is know more commonly known as “Bittercress” or “Harry Bittercress.” Another one of those lovely little plants that often go unappreciated by many modern folk, often being seen as a “weed.” Although this tiny little intricate plant is actually among that are mostly edible. It contains many such essential and beneficial nutrients such as Vitamin C and Beta Carotene. Thus it is often added to many edible dishes to help incorporate such things into one’s diet.
~‘Stune’ is the name of this herb, it grew on a stone,
it stands up against poison, it dashes against poison
Nettle (?) it is called, it attacks against poison,
it drives out the hostile one, it casts out poison.
This is the herb that fought against the serpent,
it has power against poison, it has power against infection,
it has power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.
Put to flight now, Venom-loather, the greater poisons,
though you are the lesser, until he is cured of both.~
Nettle or as it mar also be knows as “Stinging Nettle” is a plant with wonderful benefits. Rich in iron nettle is great for those who maybe needing to build this up in their system.
Nettle also has diuretic properties. Helping with urinary tract issues as well as water retention.
To get the internal benefits nettles can be cooked and added to food or the easiest way is Nettle tea. Which can then have many other herbs incorporated into the recipe. For flavor or to boost and reinforce certain benefits.
It’s also one of the many plants with properties that help with inflammation. Best incorporated in with other anti-inflammatory topical treatments. As a tincture it has astringent properties used to treat certain skin ailments. Topical tincture can also be used to help with bleeding, cuts, and scrapes.
~Remember, Chamomile, what you made known,
what you accomplished at Alorford,
that never a man should lose his life from infection
after Chamomile was prepared for his food.~
Chamomile, among one of the very popular and “staple” herbs even in modern times. Very popular in teas, as chamomile as a delicious taste. Good for treating indigestion, as well very reputed for it’s “calming” effects. Of course with this it makes a great drink for times when needing to relax, like unwinding for sleep. Chamomile can be used in a “bed time” tea help induce sleep. An example of this is combining equal parts of: Chamomile, Lavender, and Valerian. Chamomile and lavender both having relaxing qualities and a very pleasant taste! Along with the Valerian having sedating properties this combination makes for a very good night time tea.
Chamomile tea also being great for treating internal irritants such as any sort of cramping and bloating in the abdominal and digestive area. Or anywhere these is irritation or tension in the digestive tract.
Topically chamomile helps treat a number of skin ailments issues. Having calming and soothing effects it helps with such irritations caused by wounds, rashes, or scrapes. As well as minor burns such as sunburn. Along with helping any sort of skin inflammation caused by the skin being irritated, as well as issues related to eczema. Chamomile works wonderfully added into lotions, ointments, and salves for the skin specifically to help soothe and moisturize.
Cooled chamomile teas also makes a good compress for irritated or puffy eyes.
~This is the herb that is called ‘Wergulu’.
A seal sent it across the sea-right,
a vexation to poison, a help to others.
it stands against pain, it dashes against poison,
A worm came crawling, it killed nothing.
For Woden took nine glory-twigs,
he smote the the adder that it flew apart into nine parts.
There the Apple accomplished it against poison
that she [the loathsome serpent] would never dwell in the house.~
Crab Apples like many other variants in the apple family well known in the culinary world is used in a plethora of delicious recipes. Such as: jellies, jams, pie and pastry fillings, and fruit sauces just to name a few. Being an apple it is rich in pectin of course.
The fruit can also be consumed as a partial laxative. It has a long reputed of being a remedy for constipation. Helping with digestion, it digests well and also helps with the digestion of other foods.
Topically it can be used in poultices to help with scrapes and inflammation.
*Although some translations speak of Thyme and others Chervil. I will give a brief over-view of both.
Chervil was believed to help with blood pressure issues. It said to help with circulation and hemorrhages.
Assists with treating respiratory ailments by helping to remove mucous and and alleviate prevent coughs. Also, can be used as or added to remedies for the cold and flu.
Chervil also has diuretic properties and said to help with constipation as well. With this it helps with preventing and treating retention and bloating. Also, helping with such menstrual issues that maybe associated with this.
Thyme is a wonderfully aromatic herb! Like chervil it has properties that assists with water retention and bloating, as well as diuretic properties. Thyme is good for stimulating digestion and processing in the body. Helping to get the body to remove waste by expulsion. Whether that be by excretion or sweat.
Helps in treating things such as fever or pain associated with fever. By means of getting the body to “cleanse” out the root issue.
As well like Chervil it works great as a remedy for repository ailments and as a cold and flu remedy.
Thyme is of course also a powerful antiseptic.
~Chervil and Fennell, two of much might,
They were created by the wise Lord,
holy in heaven as He hung;
He set and sent them to the seven worlds,
to the wretched and the fortunate, as a help to all.
It stands against pain, it fights against poison,
it avails against 3 and against 30,
against foe´s hand and against noble scheming,
against enchantment of vile creatures. ~
Fennel most commonly the seeds have a long history of wide use in the culinary world.
As a remedy fennel is good for treating indigestion and various digestive issues. Everything from gas, bloating to heartburn. An example of a good tea to help alleviate an upset stomach consists of combining: Peppermint, Ginger, and Fennel. This mixture is also good for helping to deal with cramps and bloating that may accompany nausea or digestive issues. The ratio of each ingredients will depend on your personal taste, as well as what maybe your main ailment. Example: if nausea which is your main concern the predominant ingredients would probably be best as ginger or peppermint. If it’s more of a bloating issue, retention or constipation? The fennel.
Fennel also can assist with increasing in breast milk. (Like anything check with your healthcare provider/practitioner.) Fennel typically is a great herb for women. Helping to deal with “breast ailments” like soreness by stimulating production.
*There are variations on the translations. Some saying that it was “Cockspur Grass” being referred others saying “Betony.” I have chosen to list Betony in this post.
Betony is another herb that can also be used in poultices to help alleviate such ailments like swelling, inflammation, sore muscles, hemorrhaging (like in the form of varicose veins.) Was also once the remedy to “treat all maladies of the head” in times past.
Thus with this along with it’s reputation of treating sore muscles it is a good remedy for headaches or even nerve, back, or neck pain.
As well good for assisting in issues related to stress or anxiety. Or rather when anxiety has also induced such ailments along with it like head or muscle tension and pain. In the case of anxiety a tea that incorporates other such “calming” or “soothing” herbs like chamomile, lavender, and/or peppermint (if stomach issues are accompanying along with it helping headaches for some.) Combined with Betony is a comforting remedy for some.
~Now there nine herbs have power against nine evil spirits,
against nine poisons and against nine infections:
Against the red poison, against the foul poison,
against the white poison, against the pale blue poison,
against the yellow poison, against the green poison,
against the black poison, against the blue poison,
against the brown poison, against the crimson poison,
against worm-blister, against water-blister,
against thorn-blister, against thistle-blister,
against ice-blister, against poison-blister~
~I alone know a running stream,
and the nine adders beware of it.
May all the weeds spring up from their roots,
the seas slip apart, all salt water,
when I blow this poison from you.~