Copyright ) 1999 Volute, All Rights Reserved.
Thirteen Herbs For a Witch's Cupboard
Armed with these thirteen herbs, you will easily be able to handle most situations
that arise, from dis-ease to magickal needs. This will give you a nice foundation to
build on, or it can stand alone as a fully functional Witch's pharmacopoeia or
apothecary. Following in the tradition of permaculture, each herb has been
selected for its multi-faceted uses. They can each be used medicinally and
magickally; they can all be grown easily; and many of them can be used in cooking.
Each herb description will be expanded as time permits.
The "Add-ons" at the end of the list of thirteen herbs are to help you develop your
herbal in specific areas. A sampling of particularly helpful herbs in specific areas
are listed such as those for healers, general magickal practitioners, love spell
X Please Read the Disclaimer before you utilize any of this information.
The Thirteen Herbs
1) Comfrey Symphytum officinale
Alternate names: knitbone, knitback, black wort, consound, consolida, bruisewort,
slippery root, wallwort, boneset, miracle herb, healing herb, gum plant, ass ear,
yalluc (Saxon) The botanical name, Symphytum, means "grown together". The name
comfrey might be from the Latin conferva "knitting together".
Habitat and Growth: Member of the Forget-me-not and Borage covens,
Boraginacea. Comfrey has deep tap roots like huge carrots. This allows it to live in
most soils, as it will seek out the water and nutrients needed. Deep water is
preferred as it is fairly common throughout England and is native to Europe and
parts of Asia. Try to plant in a wet spot, a low spot, or a place with a high water
table if possible. She also likes partial shade.
Magickal Attributes: All parts used. Healing. Protective in the loving ways of a
mother. Used for money spells, especially because of its prolific nature and deep
emerald green leaf color. Used for safety during travel and has many "grounding"
qualities, especially of the root. Comfrey is associated with the feminine, Saturn,
Physical Attributes: Roots and Leaves used. Comfrey contains a nitrogenous
crystalline substance known as allantoin (from 0.6 to 0.8 percent). This substance
has the ability to promote cell growth. As you can see from the alternate names,
healing is comfrey's strongest talent. Allantoin is prescribed in medicines to aid in
knitting bones back together, or accelerated healing of deep cuts and puncture
wounds. It is also used in ointments for skin problems and psoriasis. This substance
has come under attack in recent years. There is some questionable evidence that it
may cause cancer or liver damage if taken internally over an extended period of
time. The FDA announced December 1995 that it may have "serious adverse
Whether you believe that this is a conspiracy by the American Medical Association
to again take power away from 'normal' people and natural healers, and put in into
the hands of over paid physicians, OR whether you believe that it is better to be
safe than sorry, it is best to never use any herb over a long period of time.
Everything must be kept in balance, and herbal remedies are no exception. This
could also mean taking regular breaks from any herbal supplements or teas and if
you prefer, use poultices and washes of comfrey instead. These are quite effective
Comfrey also contains large amounts of a mucilage (especially the root), similar to
marshmallow. It will thicken potions, and is soothing when applied to inflammations
and sore throats. This mucilage also makes it easy to use the herb in compresses,
as the paste sticks together. Comfrey also contains tannins and starch. It is highly
nutritious and is used as fodder for livestock (it contains 35% protein).
My chickens love it, especially the flowers. It is an instant cure for soft shells and
makes egg yolks deep yellow-orange. This color reflects healthy chickens and
increased vitamin content in the eggs. My rabbits love the leaves, and it has helped
them with bowel problems, sore or bleeding nipples from lactating, and reduces
their consumption of highly processed, expensive, non-organic rabbit pellets. (no, I
don't kill the bunnies and chicks for food, see the chicken page for info on that)
2) German Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla
or Roman Chamomile Anthemis nobilis
Choose either "German" or "Roman" by looking over the information for each.
Alternate names for German Chamomile: Wild chamomile, camomile, Hungarian
Alternate names for Roman Chamomile: Maythen (Saxon), Whig Plant, Manzanilla
(Spanish for a little apple), Kamai melon (Greek for on the ground, and an apple),
camomyle, ground apple, Heermannchen (German, they also regarded it commonly
as "Alles zu vertraut" meaning completely trustworthy.) chamaimelon
Habitat and Growth: This sun loving flower needs fertile and well drained soil. The
best locations for both varieties in my garden have eastern or south-eastern
exposure to the sun and part shade in the afternoon. She seems to enjoy greeting
the sun every morning by lifting her petals up to catch his rays.
Magickal attributes: Scott Cunningham lists this herb as masculine, and there is a
tradition for this. Early Teutonic tribes dedicated it to their sun-God as did the
Egyptians. However, because of the energy of the plant, and because of its
medicinal uses, it seems to be feminine in some ways. Either way, there is a good
balance here between masculine and feminine energies. Truly with chamomile, earth
meets sun and sky.
Physical attributes: You may find it interesting that true essential oil of chamomile
is blue! If you are purchasing essential oils and are presented with yellow
chamomile oil, it is either diluted with a carrier oil, has oxidized and aged to
yellow, or is an artificial interloper. More to come...
3) Red Raspberry Rubus idaeus
Alternate names: Hindberry, Hindbeer (Saxon), Hindbur (German)
Habitat and Growth: In the wild, they like to grow in ditches or waste areas such
as fence rows. Think of an area that would receive at least 4-6 hours of sunlight
each day and would not dry out very frequently. Raspberries come in all varieties
now so check with your local nursery or a dependable mail order catalogy to find
one that would like to live where you do. They are beautiful and easy to grow,
especially if pruned and mulched well.
Magickal attributes: Protective in a 'mothering' way.
Physical attributes: Great for diarrhea, general nutrition, pregnant and lactating
women. Often recommended for pregnant women because it is said to make the
process of childbirth easier and to strengthen the uterus. It is a good (and proven)
antispasmodic and eases painful menstruation. A strong tea will soothe cold
This rest of this section may take some time to complete. For now, here are the
rest of the herbs that will be explained in detail as soon as possible.
4) Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Lavendar
5) Lavendula officinale or vera (English Lavender) spica and latifolia (Spike
Lavender) stoechas (French Lavender)
6) Garlic Allium sativum and others
7) Wormwood Artemisia absinthium
8) Rose Rosa gallica if available, resources to come, or other Roses
11) Capsicum species, especially habanero, cayenne, purira, jalapeno, etc.
12) Ginger Zingiber officinalis
Additional Materials Recommended for the General Practitioner: Lemon Balm, Bee
Balm, Elderberry, Sagebrush, horseradish
Additional Materials Recommended for the Healer: Papaver somniferum where
available/legal X, Echinacea, Thyme, Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis, Sage, Cranberry,
White Willow Bark, Cannabis Sativa or Indica (or hybrids) where available/legal X,
Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus
Additional Materials Recommended for the Love Magick Worker: Tonka Bean X,
Apple Seeds, Vanilla Bean, Patchouli, Dragon's Blood, Rose