Magia's Herbal Terminology

Welcome to our Online Herbal Formulation Page

Here you'll find information regarding the actions of herbs, terminology explanation, and also recipes and formulas for preparations. Please make sure and read about each herb in our alphabetical indexed library before using it if you aren't familiar with that plant. (For instance: Blue flag or Mistletoe used improperly can be poisonous)

Formulation Terms-

Decoction: Extraction of matter taken from a plant but not damaged by boiling water.

Infusion: Extracts derived from a plant by means of water, sometimes warm (not boiling), sometimes cold.

Maceration: Prolonged infusion using alcohol, and it consists of steeping the plant material in a closed vessel for a definite period, shaking it at intervals. This method is used for the extraction of fluid extracts and tinctures.

Percolation: Allowing a gradual flow of liquid to trickle through plant material in a similar way a coffee percolator processes.

Filtration: Liquids are separated from substances mechanically suspended in them, usually by using filter paper.

Clarification: After processing the plant substance is warmed and then either skimmed or filtered to achieve a pure distillation.

Digestion: The process of prolonged maceration at a constant temperature of about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Expression: The juices of plants are extracted by pressing or squeezing.

Formulation Methods-

Simple: This is the herb leaf or flower in chopped or ground form. It is usually mixed at the ratio of one heaping teaspoonful of herb to one cup of boiling water. Steep for 20 minutes, never boil. Always cover while simmering so as not to lose the oil from the plant.

Roots or Barks: These should be simmered for over half an hour to extract, but do not boil.

**** Never use an aluminum utensil to brew herbs or the water to be used with them, as this metal damages the fine oils, etc. contained in the herb.

Syrups: Dissolve one pound of brown sugar in a pint boiling water. Boil until thick. Any herbal substance can then be added. You can also use malt honey or bee's honey if you prefer.

Salves: Ointments and salves are best if fresh herbs are used. Cut the plant up very finely, and use one to one-and-a-half pounds of cocoa fat, vegetable fat, (or lard if you must). Blend this with four ounces of beeswax and sit it in the hot sun (or oven on *very* low heat) for about four hours. Strain through a fine seive or cloth and store in a container. When set it will be firm and ready to use.

Poultices: Crush the herbs and mix with water and cornmeal to make a thick paste. You can also press fresh leaves of the herb against the affected area and cover it with the poultice for added strength. Poultices are good for swellings, enlarged glands, etc. **Never reuse a poultice.

Tinctures: Mix three ounces strong, unscented alcohol with whatever fragrant matter you wish, whether it be leaves, flowers, roots, scented oil, etc. Shake well and let it stand for twelve days. Strain it through a cloth, and store the liquid in a place that's not too warm. (Tinctures can also be glycerine or vinegar based)

Balms: Melt together, over a low fire, pure beeswax and an oil of coconut, olive, or some benign vegetable, one ounce each. Add twelve drops of strong scented oil and warm the mixture until they are well mixed. Pour into a small jar and let cool.

Lozenges: First, you will need a mucilage agent (thick, viscous jelly-like) such as: Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark, Comfrey Root, or one of the edible gums such as Tragacanth or Acacia. Next, make sure the herbs you wish to use in the lozenges are dried and powdered. Essential herbal oils may be substituted for the dried herbs if you prefer. Soak 1 oz (30g) mucilage in water for 24 hours, stirring often. Boil 1 pint (500ml) of water and mix in the mucilage element. Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture to a uniform consistency. Force it through a muslin cloth strainer to make the final musilage product. Next, mix enough of your chosen dried herb into the mixture to form a paste. You can add brown sugar for taste if you like . Dust a pasty board and rolling pin with confectioners sugar or cornstarch so it won't stick. Roll the paste mix out to a layer about 1/2 inch (1.25cm) thick. When the paste has cooled slightly, cut the paste into lozenges and allow them to dry. Store in an airtight container.

Essential Oils: Essential oils exist as tiny droplets between plant cells. They are aromatic substances which are extracted from flowers, grass, herbs, peel of citrus fruits, seeds, leaves, bark, roots, (virtually every part of the plant) generally by a process of "expression" (cold pressure squeezing of fruit peel) or distillation. This process is slow, laborious and expensive. For instance, eight million hand-picked Jasmine blossoms yield one kilo of pricey Jasmine oil... 30 roses produce a single drop of rose oil. These oils contain the plant's vital essence, its most valuable and concentrated therapeutic and nutritional properties. In nature, these oils, which are released slowly, protect the plant from climatic changes, pests, diseases and other imbalances. Modern research is showing that minute doses of these oils can work similar wonders within our bodies, stimulating, rejuvenating and balancing our delicate life-support systems.


Anti-Infection Vinegar by Linda aka SOFTASSILK of the Medical & Managed Care Forum

This recipe can be used as an antibacterial and antiviral agent in a sickroom to prevent the spread of infections throughout a family. It can also be taken internally in the amount of one teaspoon in water, no more than once an hour, to prevent illness.

In a non-reactive container (ceramic,glass, etc.) pour one quart of apple cider vinegar, then add one tablespoon each of lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, and mint. Steep in vinegar for two weeks in the sun. After two weeks, add one tablespoon minced garlic cloves. Strain after a few days. Add four ounces of glycerin as a preservative.

Morgana's Burn Balm:

This is a good balm for minor burns, cuts, sunburns, and sores. Express 2 oz. (60g) of Aloe gel from fresh leaves and set aside. Add 2 oz. of freshly picked Marigold (Calendula) flowers to 7 oz. (200g) of melted petroleum jelly and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer it gently for 10 minutes, stirring well. Let it cool, then add the Aloe gel, and press the mixture through gauze cloth to extract all the liquid. Pour it into a sterile container and store it cooled. Tea Tree Leaves (Melaleuca alternifolia) can be substituted for the Marigold, for both work as an antiseptic.

Morgana's Itch Fighter:

This is a lotion I cook up for skin itches resulting from insect bites, prickly heat, or mild rashes. 2 cups sterile water, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup Witch Hazel leaves, 1/2 cup fresh Comfrey leaves, 1 teaspoon papain (papaya extract...can be found in most meat tenderizers), and 1/2 cup Aloe gel. Simmer together the water, Witch Hazel leaves, and Comfrey leaves for 10 mins. Let it cool, then add the alcohol, papain, and Aloe. Strain through gauze cloth and store cooled. The papain breaks down the insect venom proteins, rendering the poison harmless, and the Witch Hazel/Alcohol combo work as an astringent.

Body Tonics According to System:

Infection: Garlic, Enchincea (Purple Coneflower), and system-specific anti-microbials such as Bearberry for the urinary system

Cardiovascular: Hawthorn, Garlic, and bioflavonoid herbs such as Buckwheat and Lime Blossom (good for strengthening blood vessels)

Respiratory: Mullein, Elecampane, and Coltsfoot

Digestive: Bitter tonics usually work best. Examples: Gentian, Agrimony, and Dandelion Root

Liver: Again, bitter tonics work well. Also, Milk Thistle is a hepatic (works on the liver)

Urinary: Buchu, Bearberry, and Corn silk

Reproductive: Women: Raspberry, False Unicorn Root. Men: Saw Palmetto, Damiana, and Sarsparilla

Nervous: Oats, Skullcap, St. John's Wort, Vervain, Mugwort. Ginseng has a toning effect when the person is under stress because of it's effect on the adrenal glands

Musculo/Skeletal: Celery Seed, Bogbean, and Nettles help prevent problems from other systems. Comfrey and Horsetail will help strengthen the bones and connective tissue

Skin: Cleavers, Nettles, and Red Clover

Herbal Actions:

Alterative: (Alternatives are herbs that gradually restore the proper function of the body and increase health and vitality). Bladderwrack, Blue Flag, Bogbean, Burdock, Cleavers, Enchinacea, Figwort, Fringetree, Fumitory, Garlic, Guaiacum, Golden Seal, Mountain Grape, Nettles, Pasque Flower, Poke Root, Queen's Delight, Red Clover, Sarsaparilla, Sassafras, Wild Indigo, Yellow Dock

Analgesic: (Analgesics help reduce pain) Hops, Jamaican Dogwood, Lady's Slipper, Passion Flower, Red Poppy, Skullcap, St. John's Wort, Valerian

Anthelminthic: (Anthelminthics help destroy or expel worms from the digestive system) Aloe, Garlic, Pomegranate, Tansy Thuja, Wormwood, Rue

Anti-bilious: (Anti-bilious herbs help remove excess bile) Balmony, Barberry, Dandelion, Fringetree, Golden Seal, Mugwort, Vervain, Wild Yam, Wormwood

Anti-catarrhal: (Anti-catarrhal herbs help remove excess catarrahl build up) American Cranesbill, Bearberry, Boneset, Cayenne, Coltsfoot, Enchinacea, Elder, Elecampane, Eyebright, Garlic, Golden Seal, Golden Rod, Hyssop, Iceland Moss, Irish Moss, Marshmallow, Mullein, Peppermint, Sage, Thyme, Wild Indigo, Yarrow

Anti-emetic: (Anti-emetics help relieve nausea and prevent vomiting) Balm, Black Horehound, Cayenne, Cloves, Dill, Fennel, Lavender, Meadowsweet, Peach Leaves

Anti-inflammatory: (Anti-inflammatory herbs combat inflammations) Black Willow, Bogbean, Chamomile, Devil's Claw, Marigold, Meadowsweet, St. John's Wort, White Poplar, Witch Hazel

Anti-microbal: (Anti-microbials help destroy pathogenic micro-organisms) Aniseed, Bearberry, Caraway Oil, Cayenne, Clove, Coriander, Echinacea, Elecampane, Garlic, Genetian, Juniper, Marigold, Marjoram, Myrrh, Peppermint, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Southernwood, Thyme, Wild Indigo, Wormwood

Anti-spasmodic: (Anti-spasmodics help prevent spasms or cramps) Black Cohosh, Black Haw, Chamomile, Cramp Bark, Lady's Slipper, Lime Blossom, Lobelia, Mistletoe, Motherwort, Pasque Flower, Skullcap, Skunk Cabbage, Thyme, Valerian, Wild Lettuce, Wild Yam

Astringent: (Astringent herbs "contract" tissue using tannins, thereby reducing secretions & discharge) Agrimony, American Cranesbill, Avens, Bayberry, Bearberry, Beth Root, Bistort, Black Catechu, Bugleweed, Eyebright, Golden Rod, Ground Ivy, Kola, Lungwort, Meadowsweet, Mouse Ear, Oak, Periwinkle, Pilewort, Plantain, Raspberry, Red Sage, Rhubarb Root, Rosemary, Slippery Elm, St. John's Wort, Tormentil (Five Finger Grass), Wild Cherry, Witch Hazel, Yarrow

Bitter: (Bitters act as a stimulant for the digestive tract) Barberry, Boneset, Centaury, Chamomile, Gentian, Golden Seal, Hops, Rue, Southernwood, Tansy, White Horehound, Wormwood, Yarrow

Carminative: (Carminatives help digestion and aid against gas) Angelica, Aniseed, Balm, Black Mustard, Caraway, Cardamon, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Chamomile, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Galangal, Garlic, Ginger, Hyssop, Juniper, Peppermint, Sage, Thyme, Valerian

Cholagogue: (Cholagogues stimulate the release & secretion of bile from the gall bladder, which can be a marked benefit in gall bladder problems) Balmony, Barberry, Black Root, Blue Flag, Boldo, Dandelion, Fringetree, Fumitory, Genetian, Goldenseal, Mountain Grape, Wahoo, Wild Yam

Demulcent: (Demulcent herbs can protect and soothe irritated or inflammed internal tissue) Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Corn Silk, Couchgrass, Flax Seed, Irish Moss, Lungwort, Licorice, Mallow, Marshmallow, Mullein, Oats, Parsley, Piert, Slippery Elm

Diaphoretic: (Diaphoretics promote perspiration and aid the skin in elimination of toxins) Angelica, Bayberry, Boneset, Buchu, Cayenne, Chamomile, Elder, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Golden Rod, Guaiacum, Lime Blossom, Lime Blossom, Peppermint, Pleurisy Root, Prickly Ash, Thuja, Thyme, White Horehound, Yarrow

Diuretic: (Diuretics increase the secretion and elimination of urine) Angelica, Agrimony, Bearberry, Blue Flag, Boldo, Boneset, Borage, Broom, Buchu, Bugleweed, Burdock, Celery Seed, Cleavers, Corn Silk, Couchgrass, Dandelion Leaf, Elder, Gravel Root, Hawthorn Berries, Juniper, Kola, Lily of the Valley, Lime Blossom, Night Blooming Cereus, Parsley, Piert, Pellitory of the wall, Saw Palmetto, Sea Holly, Stone Root, Wild Carrot, Yarrow

Emmenagogue: (Emmenagogues stimulate and normalize menstrual flow) Beth Root, Black Cohosh, Black Haw, Blessed Thistle, Blue Cohosh, Chamomile, Chaste Tea, Cramp Bark, Cydonia oblonga quince, False Unicorn Root, Fenugreek, Gentian, Ginger, Golden Seal, Juniper Berry, Marigold, Motherwort, Mugwort, Parsley, Pasque Flower, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Raspberry, Red Sage, Rosemary, Rue, Southernwood, Squaw Vine, Tansy, True Unicorn Root, Vervain, Wormwood, Yarrow Emollient: (Emollients soften and soothe the skin) Borage, Chickweed, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Flax Seed, Licorice, Mallow, Marshmallow, Mullein, Plantain, Quince Seed, Slippery Elm

Expectorant: (Expectorants help the body expel excess mucus from the respiratory system) Aniseed, Balm of Gilead, Balsam of Tolu, Blood Root, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Elder Flower, Elecampane, Garlic, Golden Seal, Grindelia, Hyssop, Iceland Moss, Irish Moss, Licorice, Lobelia, Lungwort, Marshmallow, Mouse Ear, Mullein, Pleurisy Root, Senega, Skunk Cabbage, Squill, Thuja, Thyme, Vervain, White Horehound, Wild Cherry

Febrifuge: (Febrifuges help the body to bring down fevers) Angelica, Balm, Blessed Thistle, Boneset, Borage, Cayenne, Elder Flowers, Feverfew, Hyssop, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Peruvian Bark, Pleurisy Root, Prickly Ash, Raspberry, Red Sage, Thyme, Vervain

Hepatic: (Hepatics aid the liver and increase bile flow) Agrimony, Aloe, Balm, Balmony, Barberry, Beet Root, Black Root, Blue Flag, Boldo, Bogbean, Cascara Sagrada, Celery, Centaury, Cleavers, Dandelion Root, Elecampane, Fennel, Fringetree, Fumitory, Genetian, Golden Seal, Horseradish, Hyssop, Motherwort, Mountain Grape, Prickly Ash, Wahoo, Wild Indigo, Wild Yam, Wormwood, Yarrow, Yellow Dock

Hypnotic: (Hypnotics help induce sleep) Chamomile, California Poppy, Hops, Jamaican Dogwood, Mistletoe, Passion Flower, Skullcap, Valerian, Wild Lettuce

Laxative: Balmony, Barberry, Buckthorn, Burdock, Cascara Sagrada, Cleavers, Dandelion Root, Flax Seed, Fringetree, Mountain Grape, Pellitory of the wall, Rhubarb Root, Senna, Yellow Dock, Wahoo

Nervine: (Nervines can act as either stimulants or relaxants depending on which you use) Balm, Black Cohosh, Black Haw, Blue Cohosh, Bugelweed, Chamomile, Cramp Bark, Damiana, Ginseng, Hops, Kola, Lady's Slipper, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lime Blossom, Lobelia, Mistletoe, Motherwort, Oats, Pasque Flower, Passion Flower, Peppermint, Red Clover, Rosemary, Skullcap, Valerian, Vervain, Wild Lettuce

Rubefacient: (Rubefacients are applied to the skin in order to increase circulation, and sometimes help relieve internal pain) Black Mustard, Cayenne, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Nettles, Peppermint oil, Rosemary oil, Rue

Vulnerary: (Vulnerary herbs are applied externally to aid in the healing of wounds) Aloe, American Cranesbill, Arnica, Bistort, Black Willow, Burdock, Chickweed, Cleavers, Comfrey, Daisy, Elder, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Flax Seed, Garlic, Golden Seal, Greater Plantain, Horsetail, Hyssop, Irish Moss, Marigold, Marshmallow, Mullein, Myrrh, Shepherd's Purse, Slippery Elm, St. John's Wort, Thyme, Witch Hazel, Wood Betony, Yarrow

"Scientia est Potentia" (Knowledge is Power)

Under Construction.....


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

The White Goddess by Robert Graves

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.

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