The Herbs, Roots, and Bark Library

Herbs beginning with the letter G


A small example of's thatches can grow quite large a close up of the flowers
Ginger (Zingiber Officinalis, also known as Shringara, and Gingerroot) is best known for it's culinary usage, but it has been used for medicinal purposes in China and India since ancient times. The Greeks of the first century A.D. wrote of it calling it zingiberis. At that period it was obtained from Arabic traders, but by the early 16th century it was being grown in Spain. The Tibetans use Ginger to stimulate the energies of one who is dibilitated. There are many types of Ginger. Some are ornamental and have no benefit in magick or medicine. The plant I refer to here is the true Ginger.

Magickal Uses:

Ginger is a Green Herbe and an herb of protection. Use it for healing Magick associated with health. Ginger is good for placing in an amulet, mojo, or medicine bag to promote good health and protection. In modern Wicca Ginger is used in recipes of herbal mixtures used in the consecration of athames. (it both strengthens and provides excellent energy for the workings of this ritual blade) **GT** Those who grow Ginger may seek a root which has grown into some semblance of human form. Although it is difficult to dry without becoming misshapen, success in this endeavor creates a very powferful Magickal token.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

The Ginger plant root (rhizome) produces a volatile oil that contains many aromatic substances. Ginger is used for rheumatism, muscular aches and pains, sprains, colds, nausea, diarrhea, alcoholism, cervical polyps, dysmenorraghia, menorrhagia, menstrual cramps, morning sickness and digestive disorders. Ginger is also used for pain relieving, to reduce vomiting, to control infection, it helps with the prevention of scurvy, it can encourage the appetite, to expulse gas from the intestines, for removing excess mucous from bronchial tubes, for cooling and reducing high body temperature, as a laxative, for warming by increasing the flow of blood, to assist in increasing the flow of adrenalin and energy, and it can increase perspiration. In China Ginger Tea is used for colds, flu, coughs, sore throats, and hangovers. **WC** Caution in digging and harvesting Ginger, it can irritate sensitive skins.

Ginkgo Biloba-

Ginkgo Biloba a close up of Ginkgo Biloba leaves
Ginkgo Biloba, (Salisburia Adiantfolia, also known as Tree of Life, Ginkgo, Living Fossil, and Maidenhair Tree) is one of our oldest. Geological records indicate this plant has grown on earth for 150 million years. It is a beautiful tree to behold, but a paradox. When it's blooming or fruiting...grab your nose! (it has a putrid smell) In recent years Gingko has come to the fore front in health fads to aid memory loss and mental acuteness.

Magickal Uses:

Gingko is an aphrodisiacal herb, and a fertility herb. Gingko seeds are sometimes substituted for Lotus seeds at weddings and feasts. The wood can be carved into amulets and charms and carried as a healing herb. Gingko is very useful in ritual healing, and is considered by some to be the sacred Tree of Life. Due to the age of this species it is considered an elder among trees and having a high spirit energy. The nuts, when dried, may be used to represent male fertility. Although they have been used as an aphrodisiac, they are useful in all creative work and may be included in a Handfasting feast.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Ginkgo is an antioxidant herb. It increases circulation, and it reduces premature memory loss, aging & senility. Ginko Biloba is able to inhibit the occurrence of cerebral edema and eliminate it's neurological consequences. It reduces the tendency for dangerous clots or thrombi to form in veins & arteries. Gingko is also used for male impotence (it increases peripheral blood flow). Ginkgo Biloba helps arteries in the legs and relieves pain, cramping and weakness. It increases circulation of blood flow in the retin & prevents muscular degeneration. It is said ear problems are improved with Ginkgo due to improved blood flow to the nerves to the inner ear. It is found to benefit chronic ringing in the ears called "tinnitus". (Gingko has had a 92% success rate in patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency in which all pathological findings disappeared after 18 days of treatment) Gingko is believed to inhibit water retention, enhance cellular energy, strengthen the heart, help oxygenate the blood to prevent clotting, improve brain functions and memory retention. The seeds are astringent, antifungal, and antibacterial. Gingko fights free radicals and boosts neuro-transmission. It is thought to help asthma. The "Kernels" are edible when cooked. **WC** The fruits of this tree, and the fleshy layer can cause dermatitis. **GT** Gingko is nearly impervious to insects, disease and pollution, and it makes a gorgeous planting, BUT if you plant a female of this species I guarantee your nose will know when it's fruiting because it produces an awful stench!


Goldenseal is Precious
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis, also known as Yellow Root, Orange Root, Yellow Puccoon, Ground Raspberry, Eye-balm, Eye-root, Indian Paint, Yellow Paint, Indian Dye, Golden Root, Indian Turmeric, Wild Turmeric, Curcuma, Jaundice Root, and Yellow Eye) has been one of the best-selling plants in North American herb markets over the past 25 years. Alkaloids from the plant are listed in a number of world pharmacopoeias. Humankind has used it for numerous applications, and it's use is recorded from as early as 1798. The name "Hydrastis" comes from the Greek word meaning "water" and "to act," generally believed to refer to it's medicinal effects on the mucuous membranes. Sadly, commercial over harvesting has almost exterminated Goldenseal in many areas.

Magickal Uses:

Goldenseal may be worked into any charm or spell to increase it's power. An herb of healing and prosperity, Goldenseal is beneficial in business dealings and matters of finance.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Few herbs were as important to the Native Americans as Goldenseal. The Cherokee used the roots as a wash for local inflammations, a decoction for general debility, dyspepsia, and to improve appetite. The Iroquois used a decoction of the root for whooping cough, diarrhea, liver trouble, fever, sour stomach, flatulence, pneumonia, and for heart problems. Goldenseal is also used as an antiseptic, hemostatic, diuretic, laxative, as an anti-inflammatory for inflammations of the mucous membranes, and for hemorrhoids, nasal congestion, mouth and gum sores, and eye afflictions. Externally it's used for wounds, sores, acne, and ringworm. **WC** Goldenseal is a native perennial and occurs over the same range and under the same wooded conditions as Ginseng. The plants emerge in early spring from buds on perennial rootstocks. Goldenseal is propagated by seed, rhizome divisions, or rootlet cuttings. The tops of Goldenseal can be harvested and dried, but they should be harvested and dried in the fall when they are still green. The roots can be harvested after the plants go dormant in the fall.


Gorse is very thorny A close up of the flowers
Gorse (Ulex Europaeus, also called Golden Gorse, Whin, Prickly Broom, and Furze) is native to the British Isles. A common phrase there: "When Gorse is out of flower, kissing is out of season", inspired the practical custom of including a Gorse spray in bridal bouquets in some parts of their country. The name Gorse is derived from the Anglo-Saxon "gorst", denoting a waste place, it's natural habitat. This plant has become a pest in many countries such as Tasmania.

Magickal Uses: Maturing flowers develop into black, hairy pods
Gorse is an herb of love and protection. Gorse has a lot of old legend associated with it. One myth tells that wearing a sprig of Gorse or placing it over house doorways on Mayday would ward off witchcraft...wrong again folks! Golden Gorse has a long history associated with romance and weddings. It is a lovely herb to include in Handfastings. Gorse can be used to further the romance of a relationship, but only when the Magick is consensual. It has been long used to protect against negativity and dark Magick. Customs cited by Graves associate Gorse with the Spring Equinox and lend usage to Eostara.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Gorse flowers are strongly scented of a coconut-like aroma. Culinary uses for Gorse are lacking except as the basis for Gorse wine and tea. The only medical usage I could find on Gorse were veterinary references for Gorse being "used as a vermicide and de-wormer of horses". In olden times farmers would gather Gorse before the developing spines had time to harden and they were still soft. They were then crushed and used as cattle fodder, particularly in Winter when other food was scarce. **GT** Gorse requires a poor soil and a sunny position to be at its best. Wherever it grows the nitrogen increases in the soil, thus benefiting other plants. Gorse is a food plant for the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species (Butterflies). In some countries such as Tasmania, it is an invasive pest. (It has already spread rapidly in California)

The Hs Are Next...

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A Compendium of Herbal Magick by Paul Beyerl

A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve (Vol 1 & 2)

Magickal Herbalism by Scott Cunningham

Edible Wild Plants by Thomas S. Elias & Peter A. Dykeman

Indian Herbalogy by Alma R. Hutchens

Sacred Plant Medicine by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Coyote Medicine by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D.

Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by "Wildman" Steve Brill

The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman

The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Magic and Medicine of Plants by Inge N. Dobelis

Information given on this site is not intended to be taken as a replacement for medical advice. Any person with a condition requiring medical attention should consult a medical doctor. This information is given as reference only.