"Loathsome smells and shrieks like Mandrake torn out of the earth...
...That living mortals hearing them run mad!"
Romeo and Juliet: Act III by William Shakespeare
Mandrake (Atropa Mandragora, also called Mandrake Root, Devil's Apples, Satan's Apples, and Sorcerer's Root) derives its name from the Greek that means "injurious to livestock". There is probably more folklore associated with Mandrake than any other herb. It was said that a sponge given to Christ to suck as he hung on the cross was steeped in Mandrake. (the Romans stuck spears into crucifixion victims to make sure they were really dead, and not just under deep Mandrake sedation) Nostradamus even mentioned Mandrake as a war agent in the Crusades. Amulets made from Mandrake roots called "Mammettes" were worn to promote good luck. Flavius Josephus (statesman, general, and historian 1st century A.D.) wrote that it was dangerous to gather Mandrake roots because of the fatal shrieks and screams of the plants as they are torn from the Earth. His solution was to expose the roots by digging around them, lash a dog to them, then back away and call the dog. The dog would then pull the roots from the earth in a suicidal effort to rejoin its master. In exchange for the dog's death the master obtained an infallible charm against demons...the Mandrake Root. The sleeping potion of Juliet was a preparation from this plant, perhaps also the Mandrake wine of the Ancients. It was called "Circaeon", being the wine of Circe. American Mandrake (Podophyllum Pellatum, also known as May Apple) is not related to the European Mandrake listed here.
Mandrake is an herb of protection, a fertility herb, an herb of love, an aphrodisiacal herb, and a visionary herb. The major power in Mandrake is in the root. Hang Mandrake root in the home for Magickal protection of the home and family. Use Human shaped roots for amulets and charms. (White roots are considered male, black roots are considered female) Mandrake is also used for love spells and charms. Placing a Mandrake root in a locked box with money is supposed to increase your money. In HooDoo the root is dressed in clothing and used as a poppet. It is also used in flying potions, and for astral travel. The early Anglo-Saxons used Mandrake as as a component of exorcism.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
The roots of Mandrake bear a resemblance to the human shape, because of their habit of forking into two and shooting on each side. I will not list any medical uses for this herb because it is very dangerous to ingest, and I wouldn't want to have some "kid surfing the web for kicks" death on my Karma. **WC** Caution: Mandrake Contains poisonous alkaloids.
Marigold (Calendula Officinales, also known as Pot Marigold, Poet's Marigold, Bride of the Sun, and Holigold) has been the inspiration of herbalists and gardeners for centuries. Named for it's ability to bloom every month of the year, Calendula comes from the Latin, "Calends" or "New Moon". Since the Calendula's flower head follows the sun, it is sometimes called "summer's bride" or "husbandman's dial." The Calendula flower means "winning grace" in the language of flowers. Known as a medicinal plant in central and northern Europe since the 13th century, it's history can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. Although commonly known as a "Pot Marigold," this hardy garden flower is different from the Marigolds often sold as garden plants. You can tell them apart by their leaves (Calendulas have smoother edged, less feathery looking leaves) and scent (Marigolds smell like bug spray). Both flowers range in color from yellow to orange, but it's the Calendulas which have been valued as "wellness herbs" since earliest times.
Calendula Marigold is an herb of love, consecration, clairvoyance, a funeral herb and a visionary herb. The history of Marigold's use with aiding sight and providing visions to reclaim property indicate the dried petals may be used as an incense to consecrate tools of divination. The flower petals may be strewn around one's circle to provide the Magick of consecration and sight with a decidely protective purpose. Marigold flowers are well suited for today's altars. There are few flowers better for rituals of death and dying than Marigold. The dried petals may be added to incense or strewn in the path of a casket or urn, and the Marigold may be planted at the grave site. Calendula may be placed beneath the head during sleep to induce clairvoyant dreams. For those who are the subject of gossip or slander a combination of Marigold petals and Bay leaf may be carried in sachets or charms. If added to love sachets, it is best to gather Calendula at Noon.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Calendula is magical in its ability to prevent tearing, soothe pain, stop bleeding, promote rapid healing, and prevent scarring. It is also an excellent antiseptic, thereby preventing infections. Calendula is commonly used to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. It is also used by women to regulate the menstrual cycle. In addition, Calendula is good for small children to alleviate skin disorders and diaper rash. It can also be used for neuritis, toothaches, and to reduce fever. Calendula has been researched for immune system activity and was initially determined to have some potential therapeutic activity against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The dried flower heads are used to flavor soups, the leaves can be added to salads, and used as a garnish. and can be used for coloring butter. **WC** The flowers are the most useful part of the plant, and the petals contain the highest concentrations of the healing resin.
Wild Marjoram (Origanum Vulgare, also called Greek Oregano) is sometimes confused with Oregano (Origanum Heracleoticum) and Sweet Marjoram (Origanum Marjorana), but it is not the same plant at all. All Marjorams are Oreganos, since the genus name for both is "Origanum", but not all Oreganos are Marjorams. Confusing, I know...now you understand why I am so adamant with my Latin, yes? It's name derives from the Greek words "Oros" (for mountain) and "Ganos" (meaning joy)...put them together and you have "Joy of the Mountain". It's vivid white to purplish flowers so gaily adorn the hilly Mediterranean landscape that the plant became a symbol of happiness. When Greeks saw it spring up on a grave, they believed it meant that the deceased was happy in the afterlife. At both Greek and Roman marriages, the wedding couple wore Wild Marjoram wreaths to symbolize the joyful event.
Wild Marjoram is an herb of love, protection, and a funeral herb. Wild Marjoram may be used in Handfastings and marriages. It is also a useful bathing herb to prepare for the day of joining. Wild Marjoram may be used to invoke Thor, Jove, or Jupiter. Add it to love charms or sachets. It may be hung at the altar or in the home for protection. It is a good herb to give to a grieving person to draw happiness into their life. Wild Marjoram may be planted upon a loved one's grave to extend blessings and wishes for a joyful reincarnation.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Wild Marjoram is used by herbalists as an effective remedy for stomach disorders, as a diuretic, carminative, and as an aid to relieve itching. Marjoram is used as a steam inhalant to clear the sinuses and relieve laryngitis. European singers have been known to preserve their voices with Marjoram tea sweetened with honey. It is a wonderful herb to cook with, bath with, and have in your garden. **WC** To harvest, cut the stem tops down to the first two sets of leaves. New stems and shoots will grow, producing second and sometimes third crops. **GT** Keep the plant trimmed to prevent it from blooming and encourage leaf production all season.
Marsh Marigold (Caltha Palustris, also called Kingcup, American Cowslip, Meadowbouts, Palsywort, Water Dragon, May-Blob, Meadow Bright, and Souci d'eau) is a semi-aquatic plant found naturally in moist areas. Its name "Caltha", is derived from the Greek "Calathos", which refers to a cup or goblet. It was the Plant of the Year in Germany in 1999. It is one of the first flowers of Spring, blooming in April. Its usually found around bogs, swamps, ponds, and wet marshy areas. Although related to the Buttercup, this herb was commonly called a Marigold because of it's connection with the Virgin Mary. Despite the name, its not a true "Marigold" or a "Cowslip" as it's common name implies. A New World cousin (North America), likewise called "Marsh Marigold", is the Caltha Leptosepala. This causes a lot of confusion, but the Caltha Leptosepala has a white bloom and is commonly called Elkslip. The plant I will cover here is the true Marsh Marigold, Caltha Palustris.
Marsh Marigold is an herb of consecration ruled by the Sun, with definite feminine associations. The use of Marsh Marigold in connection with Beltane and May Day celebrations is well documented. It has a strong association with the nature goddesses. It's solar energy is that of a radiant, growing Mother Earth, feminine and strong. It is an excellent herb for the consecration of the ritual chalice or goblet from which a couple would sip the herbal elixir before beginning the Great Rite.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Marsh Marigold has been used in the past as an anodyne, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, rubefacient and to promote the healing of wounds. The plant has been used in folk medicine in external applications to make warts fall off and for rheumatic pain. Warning: The raw leaves and buds are poisonous until treated (they contain helleborin). The leaves are sometimes used as potherbs but require several short boilings with changes of water between. Some say it tastes like capers. **GT** This plant likes it damp, its great for those soggy, shaded areas. **WC** Take caution in handling this plant, it's juice is caustic.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria, also called Bridewort, Gravel Root, Meadwort, Trumpet Weed, Steeplebush, False Spirea, and Queen-of-the-Meadow) gets it's name from the Latin "Filum" meaning "thread" and "Pendulus" meaning "drooping" refering to root tubers of some species hanging together by threads. Salicylic acid was first derived from Ulmaria flowers in 1838, and in 1899 the drug company, Bayer, parcelled Salicylic acid in a tablet and called it Aspirin. Meadowsweet, Water-mint, and Vervain were the three most sacred herbs of the ancient druids. Grieve, in "A Modern Herbal", states "The name Ulmaria is given in allusion to the resemblance of its leaves to those of the Elm (Ulmus), being much wrinkled on the upper side".
Meadowsweet is an herb of love, and it's invocatory can be either Bloddeuwedd or Danu. Meadowsweet, Water-mint, and Vervain were the three most sacred herbs of the druids. Meadowsweet belongs in the closet of any woman working with the mysteries of the Goddess in her aspect as maiden. As a favorite of brides, Meadowsweet, included in a bouquet, not only invokes the blessings of our Mother, but also brings extra joy and blesings to the new bride. A woman desiring to find her true love might use an oil extracted from the flowers, or use Meadowsweet in incense. This Magick is considered best on Beltane Eve.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Meadowsweet has been used by herbalists as an infusion to alleviate pain because of it's Salicylic acid content. Its used as an antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, carminative, antacid, anti-emetic, mild astringent (can be used for children's diarrhea), diuretic, and an anti-inflammatory. Meadowsweet is an excellent remedy for digestive disorders including nausea, hyperacidity, heartburn, gastritis, peptic ulcers, and reducing fever. Meadowsweet's flowers add an almond-like flavor to foods and wines. Roots of the Meadowsweets also make a good detergent. Meadowsweet was also used as a dye by the ancient Celts. **WC** The fully opened flowers and leaves are picked at the time of flowering, which is between June and August.
"Milkweed" (Apocynum Androsaemilfolium, also known as Dogbane) is a plant that is poisonous to dogs, thus it's nickname, "Dogbane". This is not true Milkweed, even though it is called that. (True Milkweed is in the family Asclepiadaceae). I shall refer to it from here on out as Dogbane.
Dogbane is an herb of protection ruled by Jupiter. It is well suited for encouraging nature spirits and the presence of Devas in your garden. The juice may be extracted and carefully used to bless babies. (Be very careful no juice comes in contact with the child!!) Paul Beryl's book suggests laying a tall stalk of the plant in the arms of a child at Wiccanings, I don't believe this is wise because this plant is a member of the Digitalis family and could be lethal if ingested by a small one. (Some of these authors need to research their material better, and I e-mailed him regarding this) I run across web sites all the time with misinformation that someone just "passed on" without checking it for themselves...very irresponsible in my humble opinion. Ok, back to Dogbane. Used in any manner, Dogbane enhances one's creative energy and imagination, bringing out the child within. Some believe Dogbane should be used at Autumn Eve in order to enter the realm of the Fae, and to be able to see natural spirits.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
This "Milkweed" is a member of one of the digitalis group of cardiac tonics, Apocynum, and is the most powerful in slowing the pulse, and its action on the vaso-motor system is also very strong. (I put" " around Milkweed here because this is not true Milkweed, but is called that) Dogbane is also used as an alterative in rheumatism, syphilis, and scrofula. **GT** This plant has been reported to have a serious poisoning potential because it contains a cardiac glycoside, as well as other glycosides and resins. These chemicals have caused sickness and death when administered to cats and dogs, so be careful where you allow it to grow.
Mint (Mentha Piperita and Mentha Spicata, also called Peppermint, Lammint, Yerba Buena, and Spearmint) gives the mental picture of Southern gentlemen and ladies sitting in their rocking chairs on the veranda, lazily rocking back and forth, fanning themselves and sipping Mint Juleps. Mint encompasses many plants, but I will just be covering Peppermint and Spearmint here. (Even Pennyroyal is in the Mint family) Mint is named for "Minthe", a nymph in Greek Mythology who was Hades' lover. When his wife Persephone found out, in a fit of rage she turned Minthe into a lowly plant, to be trod upon. Hades could not undo the spell, but softened the spell by giving her a sweet scent which would perfume the air when her leaves were stepped upon.
Mints are an herb of protection, healing, and purification. Mints are excellent for blessing one's home. They can be bundled with other herbs, dipped in water, and used to aspurge away all previous energy to bring purification. Add Mint to healing incense, sachets, and charms. It may also be burned to cleanse the house in Winter. I always add Mint to any Money Drawing spell I embark upon, and Mint is always in my Mojo bag for luck and fortune. Mint may be used to increase psychic powers. Some add Mint to love sachets.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Mint is used in cooking, aromatherapy, and in chewing gum, candies, mouthwash, and toothpaste. Medicinally, its best known as a digestive aid, and its also used as a stomachic, antispasmodic, and antimicrobic, and to ease menstrual cramps, and rheumatic pains. The compounds of Peppermint oil reduce spasms of the colon and intestinal tract. Menthol is a white crystalline organic compound extracted from Peppermint oil and used as a Mint flavoring. The quality of Peppermint oil is determined by its menthol content, which can vary considerably depending upon the region it is grown. American Peppermint oil contains anywhere from 50 to 78 percent menthol, the English oil from 60 to 70 percent, and the Japanese oil nearly 85 percent. Another medicinal use of Peppermint oil is to ease headache when applied across the forehead and temples. The first report to suggest that Peppermint oil helped to relieve headache was published in the British Medical Journal "Lancet" in 1879. The first double-blind, study on the effect of Peppermint oil on tension-type headache was conducted in Germany in 1996. Researchers analyzed 164 headache attacks of 41 subjects and found that a locally applied ethanol solution of 10 percent Peppermint oil significantly reduced pain in the experimental group within 15 minutes, and was as effective in relieving headache as the 1,000 mg. of acetaminophen given to the control group. **WC** The young shoots are the most tasty, and Mint can be trimmed constantly without the plant dying. **GT** All Mints should be grown in containers unless you want them to travel around your garden sprouting up where you don't want them.
Mistletoe (Viscum Album, also known as European Mistletoe, Birdlime, Devil's Fuge, Thunderbesom, Golden Bough, and All-Heal) is a parasitic plant, growing on the branches of trees. From the earliest times Mistletoe has been one of the most magickal, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore. In fact, Mistletoe was so sacred to the Druids that if two enemies met beneath a tree on which it was growing, they would lay down their weapons, exchange greetings, and observe a truce until the following day. Mistletoe plants are either female (produce berries) or male (produce only pollen). After the Mistletoe seed germinates, it grows through the bark and into the tree's water-conducting tissues, where rootlike structures called "haustoria" develop. Mistletoe absorbs both water and mineral nutrients from its host trees. Healthy trees can tolerate a few Mistletoe branch infections, but individual branches may be weakened or sometimes killed. Heavily infested trees may be reduced in vigor, stunted, or even killed, especially if they are stressed by other problems such as drought or disease. (If the visible portion of the Mistletoe is removed, new plants often resprout from the haustoria). Kissing under the Mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. Mistletoe was believed to have the power of bestowing fertility, and the dung from which the Mistletoe was thought to arise was also said to have "life-giving" power. In the Middle Ages and later, branches of Mistletoe were hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits. "Mistel" is the Anglo-Saxon word for "dung," and "tan" is the word for "twig". So, Mistletoe means "dung-on-a-twig".
Mistletoe is a fertility herb, an herb of consecration, love, immortality, protection, and an aphrodisiacal herb. The Mistletoe of the Oak was especially sacred to the ancient Gallic Druids. On the sixth night of the Moon the Druid priests would cut the Oak Mistletoe with a golden sickle. Two white bulls would be sacrificed amid prayers that the recipients of the Mistletoe would prosper. To the Druids, the plant was not rooted in the earth, (ignoring many of the conventions of other plants), but it hung in mid-air, often from their most sacred tree, the Oak. It belonged to the in-between, the gateway to the Otherworld. The Celtic Tree alphabet didn't include a name for Mistletoe because it was considered too sacred. Mistletoe was also carried or placed where protection was needed, it was hung over a cradle to prevent the theft of a child by fairies, or made and worn as an amulet to speed healing and protect the bearer. Mistletoe is used at Yule to celebrate the birth of Baldur, the god of light. It is not uncommon in Britain to save the Yule Mistletoe until Candlemas, when it is burned in the fire, completing the transition from Winter solstice. Some give Mistletoe berries to their guests, gathered and dried from the previous year, which are tossed into the flaming cauldron during Yule rites. Mistletoe may be used to promote the fertility of creation. Some use Mistletoe to fashion wands, and some use it to make the handle of the ritual knife. Hanging a bunch of Mistletoe tied with a red cord brings Winter blessings into the home or altar. Mistletoe is one of the best luck and money drawing herbs I know of, add it to sachets or charms to increase fortune and finances. Harvest Mistletoe on the sixth night after the New Moon.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Although Mistletoe leaves are reputed to be an effective remedy for high blood pressure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has labeled this herb "unsafe" and does not approve of its use in treating any illnesses. The active constituents responsible for Mistletoe's toxicity are proteins called viscotoxins, which slow and weaken the heartbeat and constrict blood vessels. Mistletoe extract has long been used as a traditional treatment for diabetes. A new study investigating the antidiabetic properties of Mistletoe extract has shown that it stimulated insulin secretion. European Mistletoe has a variety of immunological and biological properties and is used for adjuvant treatment of cancer and tumors. According to a string of studies conducted over the past 25 years in Germany, Mistletoe impairs the growth of tumor cells in test tubes. An extract from Mistletoe which has been used for more than sixty years in Europe to treat certain solid-tumor cancers has been studied in the U. S. recently for immunomodulatory and anti-viral activity against HIV. (Mistletoe extracts are marketed under several trade names, most of which are available in Europe: Iscador, Helixor, Eurixor, and Isorel). **WC** Eating Mistletoe, particularly the berries, is considered highly toxic. Mistletoe is believed to be a poisonous plant, to be used, if at all, only under the supervision of a health care professional. **GT** If you have a tree unfortunate enough to be infested with Mistletoe, cutting the parasite off will not get rid of it. It is often necessary to remove the entire limb in order to arrest the infestation. If you can't bring yourself to remove the limb, pruning away the visible Mistletoe will at least help the tree because it slows the growth of the Mistletoe, and retards its size.
Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris, also known as Sagewort, Felon Herb, Old Man, Witch Herb, Muggons, and False Wormwood) was a Druid sacred herb. Its name comes from "Artemis", the sister of Apollo, and the virgin huntress associated with the Moon. Mugwort may be derived not from "mug" (the drinking vessel), but from "moughte" which means a moth or maggot, because from the days of Dioscorides, the plant has been regarded, in common with Wormwood, as useful in keeping off the attacks of moths. Wayfarers once put Mugwort in their shoes to keep from becoming footsore, and used it for protection against sunstroke, wild beasts, or demons encountered along the road.
Mugwort is an herb of consecration, protection, a visionary herb, and an herb of clairvoyance. Its invocatory is Diana. Mugwort oil has become a traditional herbal for the consecration and anointing of a crystal ball. This usage carries over to the preparation of any tool of divination. Mugwort is associated with quartz crystal and silver, and with pearls and moonstone. When turning the wheel at Midsummer, Mugwort has many uses. As a bathing herb prior to the shortest night Mugwort offers many blessings. Bunches of dried Mugwort from the previous year's harvest may be tossed into the Midsummer fire. Mugwort may also be used in the ritual cup. Mugwort is also protective for travelers. Perhaps the most widespread use of Mugwort today is to enhance dreams. When on a quest for a visionary dream, dried Mugwort provides an excellent stuffing for a dream pillow. Mugwort tea will assist inducing clairvoyance. The protective energies from Mugwort keep one safe against all dark forces. The plant's powers are strongest when gathered on the Full Moon.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Mugwort is used for excessive menstrual bleeding, menstrual cramps, uterine bleeding, and vaginal pain. Crushed fresh Mugwort leaves were placed over warts in a clinical trial; some of the warts fell off within 10 days. The herb seems to indicate an antibiotic effect in recent studies. Mugwort leaves laid in clothing help protect it against moths. **WC** The oil content drops drastically when Mugwort is flowering, so harvest early. Caution: Don't use Mugwort during pregnancy.
Mulberry (Morus Nigra, Alba, and Rubra) The white Mulberry is native to eastern and central China. It became naturalized in Europe centuries ago. The tree was introduced into America for silkworm culture in early colonial times and naturalized and hybridized with the native red Mulberry. The red or American Mulberry is native to eastern United States from Massachusetts to Kansas and down to the Gulf coast. The black Mulberry is native to western Asia and has been grown for its fruits in Europe since before Roman times. In the South on rich soils the red Mulberry can reach 70 ft. in height. The tree was dedicated by the Ancients to Minerva. Minerva was the Goddess of wisdom in the Roman pantheon. In Greece she was known as Athena. The fruit of the Mulberry is considered sacred to the triple Goddess.
Mulberry is an herb of protection and consecration ruled by Gemini. Its invocatory can be Athena or Minerva. Ripened, dried fruit of the Mulberry may be drunk as a tea to increase one's access to wisdom and ability to think clearly. Mulberry is an excellent leaf to dry and press into your Book of Shadows. Fresh berries may be set out as an offering and the leaves may be used for bathing. Mulberry is believed to offer protection for children and babies. When used for Magickal protection, it should be picked just before the Sun sets in the West, and spend the night sitting upon your altar with a candle burning until morning's first light. It may then be dried and prepared as one would any leaf or berry.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Mulberry fruit can be eaten out of hand or used in any way that other berries are used for cooking. The fruit contains Vitamins A, B, and C. Mulberry is used as a laxative, diuretic, expectorant, anti-rheumatic, analgesic, and to lower blood pressure. **GT** It is not advisable to prune the trees heavily since the plant is inclined to bleed at the cuts. Cuts of more than two inches in diameter generally do not heal and should be avoided at all cost. **WC** Mulberries will stain skin and clothing.
Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus, also called Great Mullein, Witch's Stick, Torches, Bunny's Ears, Mullein Dock, Velvet Dock, Aaron's-rod, Hag's Tapper, Shepherd's Staff, Adam's-flannel, Old-man's-flannel, Blanket Leaf, Bullock's Lungwort, Cow's Lungwort, Clown's Lungwort, Candlewick, Feltwort, Flannel-leaf, Hare's-beard, and Velvet Plant) is an ancient herb. According to Homer, the Greek hero Ulysses used the herb to protect himself from the temptress Circe (see our Art Gallery, Waterhouse has a wonderful painting of Circe offering a cup to Ulysses) The down on the leaves and stem makes excellent tinder when dry, readily igniting on the slightest spark, and was, before the introduction of cotton, used for lamp wicks...hence the name "Candlewick".
Mullein is an herb of protection and purification that has a strong association with elemental Fire. (Thus its old name "Torches") Some practitioners dip the leaves in a liquid mixture of saltpeter and water, then hang them to dry. When tossed into a fire these blaze quite brightly. The entire flower stalk may be harvested and dried, and if this is done when its at the end of its cycle the head can be soaked in a tallow mixture so it may be carried as a burning torch. Such torches are perfect for Hallow's Eve. Wear Mullein to instill courage, or carry it in sachets for protection. Cunningham states the powdered leaves are known as "graveyard dust" and are acceptable to use when such is called for in old recipes. Being a non Wiccan and practitioner of many paths, including HooDoo, I tend to disagree with Scott on this...
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Mullein is an old-time remedy for bronchitis and dry, unproductive coughs. Mullein is a good expectorant, and in the process of clearing out the congestion, it also soothes irritation in the throat and bronchial passages. An antispasmodic, mullein can relieve stomach cramps and help control diarrhea. Its used as a treatment for anemia, arthritis, diaper rash, fibrocystic disease of the breast, frostbite, hay fever, hemoptysis, hemorrhoids, demulcent, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and relaxant. **WC** The flowers should be gathered in mid-Summer and early Fall during dry weather, and dried carefully using shade or low heat. (If the flowers stay too damp they turn brown)
Myrrh (Commiphora Myrrha, also called DinDin) is a small, tough, scraggly tree which grows in the semi-desert regions of North Africa and the Red Sea region. The word Myrrh means "bitter" in Arabic. Ancient cultures made Myrrh an integral part of religious rituals, medical practice, beauty treatments and perfumery. Writings from over 2,700 years ago mention Myrrh and its uses in embalming, perfumery and incense. Over 2,000 years before the Magi (the three wise men) were said to have presented Myrrh in the bible, it was a precious commodity along the spice route. Because demand had become so high and supply was limited, Myrrh became as valuable as gold. Islam considers Myrrh a holy incense, "the healing hand of Allah". The most common form of Myrrh is dried resin. The stem is cut on the Myrrh Tree, the gum-resin is gathered and then dried. Somalia's major forestry products are Frankincense and Myrrh, these trees are native to the region and are an important export. The myths surrounding Myrrh include its being cast into the fire out of which the legendary phoenix is reborn. Adonis was said to have been born of a Myrrh tree.
Myrrh is an herb of consecration, and a funeral herb. Its invocatory can be Adonis, Aphrodite, Cybele, Demeter, Hecate, Juno, Rhea, Saturn, and is sacred to Aphrodite. The dried resin of Myrrh is most frequently burned as incense. Myrrh helps one understand the nature of being spiritually aware. There are few herbs so useful in working through personal sorrows and tragedies. Myrrh is of unequaled value for those recovering from sexual abuse. Myrrh brings comfort to those who have lost a loved one, whose troubled hearts need the healing strength of understanding the mystery of death. The simplest method of seeking sacred relief is by working with a candle which has been anointed with oil of Myrrh. Most useful in ritual work, Myrrh helps one perceive the way patterns of energy move throughout the Circle. In addition to being used as ritual incense, Myrrh water may be used in aspurging the Circle. A wash may be made which is superior for consecrating pearls and tools. Although not widely used in this manner, Myrrh has come into use at two sabbats among a number of practitioners. At Candlemas, in addition to its use as incense, Myrrh may be used in the ritual cup. At the Autumn Equinox Myrrh is sometimes used when working with elemental fire, drawing upon its lore and association with the phoenix.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Since ancient times, Myrrh has had the reputation as a wound healer because of its strong antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also antifungal and is useful against candida, thrush and other fungal conditions. Myrrh is used for mouth and gum disorders, for building the immune system, for respiratory conditions and the digestive system. Myrrh is used as a carminative, emmenagogue, to expel mucus, for hemorrhoids, it strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells. Its also used as an antiseptic, astringent, to reduces inflammation, to improve circulation, to stimulate the regeneration of of skin cells, and it assists in the healing of wounds. Its used to treat eczema, wounds, and wrinkles.
Myrtle (Myrtus Communis, also known as Waxberry, Candleberry, and Bayberry) has a name that was taken from the Greek word "Myrtus" meaning "perfume". In ancient times, Myrtle was considered a symbol of love, peace, a happy married life, and was sacred to Aphrodite in Ancient Greece. The strongly aromatic "Eau d'Anges", used in perfumery, is obtained from the flowers, leaves and bark of the Myrtle. Because it was highly valued, winners at the Olympic Games were crowned with wreaths of Myrtle. According to Greek mythology, the nymph Daphne turned herself into a Myrtle to avoid the attentions of Apollo. In another myth, Aphrodite sat with Adonis beneath a Myrtle and taught him the mysteries of immortality.
Myrtle is an herb of immortality, love, and protection. It is believed to work Magick in both worlds, and it is associated with life and death. When brought into a Union, such as Handfastings or weddings, Myrtle gives extra power to the couple's love and brings protection against misplaced anger. Paul Beyerl recommends that those working to remove violence from their lives work with this herb, but it is a slow process. Grown near the Temple of Venus on Aventine Hill in Rome, Myrtle is today linked with both Venus and Aphrodite. Its association with love is also found through its connection with Hathor, Egyptian goddess of mirth and romance. Use Myrtle for rituals involving love or fertility, and it can be added to incense burnings, sachets, or charms. Some wear a chaplet of fresh Myrtle leaves while making love charms. Myrtle wood is an excellent substance to make Magick charms from. Some carry the wood to preserve youthfulness.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Myrtle is among the numerous perfume plants originating in the Mediterranean countries, and is used in aromatherapy due to its highly fragrant camphoraceous, spicy odor. It also assists with relaxing and soothing aching muscles, coughs, bronchitis, athsma, infectious diseases, its suitable for childrens respiratory complaints, oily skin, and bruising. Myrtle may help normalize hormonal imbalances of the thyroid, especially low activity. Ongoing studies are researching the fact that Myrtle may help support the immune function in fighting colds, flu and infectious disorders. A liqueur called "Mirto" is made from Myrtle. **GT** Myrtle prefers to be moist, but requires very good drainage. It is subject to Thrips and iron chlorosis. (Treat it with supplemental iron). It is also prone to Texas Root Rot.
The Ns Are Next...
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.