The Herbs, Roots, and Bark Library

Herbs beginning with the letter T

Tansy a close up of the flowers Tansy (Tanacetum Vulgare, also called Bitter Buttons, English Cost, Hind Heal, Scented Fern, and Stinking Willie) is a pretty little plant that packs a powerful aroma! Patches of Tansy can survive for decades in the same location. The very name Tansy is a corruption of the Greek word for immortality "Athanasia". In the Middle Ages dried Tansy was a "strewing herbe" scattered across floors to keep pests away. Housewives also hung it from rafters, packed it between bedding, and rubbed it on meats to discourage lice, flies, and other vermin. In more recent times it has been used to repel moths and fleas.

Magickal Uses:

Tansy is an herb of purification, immortality, and a funeral herb. It has a long association with women's mysteries and with Goddess worship. This is an excellent herb to bring to rituals of death and dying. Its association with rebirth is strong. Tansy gathered from the previous year's harvest is well suited for the Eostara rites.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Tansy helps with muscle spasms, and amenorrhea. In actions with respect to reproductive organs Tansy works as an antioxidant, antiseptic, emmenagogue, stimulant, and uterine vasodilator. Some say it serves as a vermifuge (to expel worms). Tansy is a natural insect repellent due to its strong smell. **WC** Warning: Avoid in pregnancy. In large doses it becomes a violent irritant, and is considered to contain toxic properties. **Caution** Avoid using Tansy over a prolonged period of time because its oils can be dangerous in large doses.

Tarragon A Close Up of the Flowers Tarragon (Artemisia Dracunculus, also called Dragon's-mugwort, Estragon, and French Tarragon) is native to Siberia and the regions surrounding the Caspian Sea. Tarragon originated in Russian, Asia and Mongolia and was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages by the Mongol invasions and the crusaders. Its name, "Artemisia", comes from the Greek goddess Artemis, goddess of the Moon. It's Latin name "Dracunculus" means "little dragon". The Arabs named the herb "tharkhoun" after the Tartar planes. The name evolved to "tarcon" or "targon", finally evolving to Tarragon in English and Estragon in French. The term "dragon", and the subsequent "petit serpent or serpentine" alludes either to the plant's gnarled, serpentine roots or to the ancient practice of using the leaves to draw out venom from snake and insect bites. Tarragon was used by the Ancient Greeks as a remedy for toothache. Today we know that Tarragon contains an anesthetic chemical, eugenol, which is the major constituent of anesthetic clove oil.

Magickal Uses:

Tarragon is an herb of consecration and a Greene Herbe ruled by Mars. Its invocatory is Lilith, considered the original independent woman-goddess. Taragon brings a Magick which promotes compassion for others. This Greene Herbe might be useful for women who are caregivers, helping them extend love and nuturing without becoming martyrs. This herb is also recommended for women recovering from abusive situations, for it helps them reclaim their strength and independence. Tarragon may be used to consecrate ritual chalices.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Tarragon leaves are rich in Vitamins A, C, Iodine, and mineral salts. The anise-flavored leaves and flowering tops are used to season foods, and it's essential oil is used in the manufacture of Tarragon vinegar, mustard, tartar sauce, and liqueurs. Tarragon is essential in classic béarnaise sauce. Tarragon is one herb that doesn't "translate well" in the dried version. Since most of it's essential oil is lost in the drying process, you'll find that dried Tarragon is a poor substitute for the fresh herb. Tarragon herbal tea is good to help digestion. Chew a leaf to stop hiccups. Tarragon may act as an antioxidant in some foods, and it is a component of some perfumes, soaps, and other cosmetics. As a medicinal plant, Tarragon has been traditionally considered a diuretic, emmenagogue, and stomachic. The root of Tarragon was a folk remedy for curing toothaches. The volatile oil of Tarragon is reported to have antifungal activity. **GT** Tarragon plantings, established from vegetative or root cuttings (because the plant rarely produces seed), last about three years before needing to be reestablished. Russian Tarragon, a separate cultivar, is often confused with and sold as French Tarragon. Except for being taller, the Russian Tarragon looks similar to French Tarragon but is considered far inferior to French Tarragon in taste.

An Old Teak Forest A Look At An Ecologically Sound Operation in Costa Rica: Young Trees of 6 Months Five Years They Will Be Huge Because They Grow at an Alarming Rate Teak (Tectona Grandis) is native to India and the Malay Archipelago and is cultivated in the Philippine Islands, Costa Rica, and Java. Teak is very fast growing, and on favorable sites may reach 130 to 150 feet in height. Teak has been widely used in shipbuilding and furniture making because of its resistance to insects and weather. Teak has been known to resist the attacks of insects and the corrosive effects of weather for hundreds of years. Pieces of Teak have been found in India that are over 200 years old and still very intact. Most Teak from Africa is not the real Tectona Grandis, but it is a different tree (Oldfieldia Africana) from the spurge family. There is a tale of Mahavira, the final tirthamkara in the line of the Jain avatars, who sat beneath a Teak (called saka in India) for two and a half days of meditation without moving a muscle of his body. Arising on the third day, he had reached enlightenment. Please read the alert note I have at the end of this section regarding why you shouldn't buy it unless its certified from an Ecologically Sound Operation such as the one located at:

Magickal Uses:

Teak is an excellent wood for religious objects, but I refuse to list any uses here as a personal protest against the corruption, greed, political domination, and cruelty to animals that logging Teak has brought about. See my alert below. Mother Earth has to be weeping....I know I am.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Teak has no medicinal usage, but the use of it's wood is well known. Teak is a very valuable wood and is prized throughout the world. It is sought to build decks, trim and detail work in expensive boats, and fine furniture, flooring, carving, venetian blinds, joinery, cabinetwork, paneling, turnery and veneer, as well as wharves and bridges. ****ALERT**** Sadly, real Teak has been heavily exploited for more than a century and is increasingly difficult to obtain. It is listed as Endangered. When you buy a Teak wood product you are funding the destruction of tropical forests and the illegal military regime of Burma. The demand for Teak is fueling massive deforestation in Burma, having been responsible for the loss of entire forests in many other countries. The repressive illegal regime of Burma is selling off its Teak and other hardwoods to pay for the purchase of arms to quell the democracy movement. The demand for Teak in Europe and the U.S. has contributed to the elimination of Thailand's Teak. Thailand, and more recently Cambodia, have had to institute bans on the export of unprocessed logs in an attempt to slow deforestation that has led to massive flooding and drought in those countries. Current Teak production now comes almost entirely from Burma. In 1988, the Burmese military government gunned down thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators. Forced to have general elections in 1990, the military declared the elections null and void when the democracy party, the NLD, won over 80% of the Parliamentary seats. Since then, the military regime in Burma renaming themselves the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has ruled the country using repression, torture, imprisonment, rape and murder to hold on to power. Claims that Teak production helps the Burmese people are false, since the democratically elected government has never been allowed to take office, and funds generated from Teak and heroin sales are not going any further then the pockets of the generals and their rich friends. In addition, Burmese and Thai loggers use elephants to move logs around, drugging the poor animals with large amounts of Amphetamines ("Speed"), to which they can become addicted. Many elephants get sick and die because of overwork due to the pressure to log Teak at ever faster rates. Do not buy (or, if you are an architect or interior designer, do not specify) Teak or other tropical hardwoods unless they are certified as coming from an ecologically sound operation (less than 1% of production). If you have questions about these claims, contact "Rainforest Relief" for verification: [email protected]

Tea Tree-
Melaleuca alternifolia A Closer Look at the Bloom Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a member of the Myrtaceae family and is an indigenous species to Northern New South Wales, Australia. The oil is found within the cells of the leaves, and as the Tea Tree is extremely fast-growing it is constantly renewable, ensuring that no trees are harmed or destroyed. The name Melaleuca comes from the Greek "melas" (black) and "leukos" (white), referring to the contrast between the dark green foliage, which appears black, and the loose, paper-thin white bark. Melaleuca alternifolia didn't receive the name "Tea tree" until 1770, when the name was given by the British explorer Captain James Cook. Although Cook's crew first used the leaves for tea, they later mixed them with spruce leaves as a beer. The plant's medicinal properties remained a secret with the Australian aboriginal people until the early 1920s when Sydney, Australia chemist, Dr. Arthur Penfold, researched it's antiseptic properties. In 1929, along with F.R. Morrison, Penfold published "Australian Tea Trees of Economic Value." This started a flurry of research into tea tree oil. The Australian government considered tea tree oil a World War II essential for their armed forces' first aid kits. After the war, increased use of pharmaceutical antibiotics decreased tea tree oil's appeal everywhere except in Australia. Tea tree oil started to regain its popularity in 1960, with a recharge in its research around the world. Today, Melaleuca alternifolia is also grown in California.

Magickal Uses:

Tribal stories have been passed down of a magical lagoon into which tea tree leaves had fallen, and where the tribe bathed in the naturally created bath to make use of it's Magickal powers.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Tea Tree has been used as a general antiseptic by the Bundjalung Aborigines of Australia for thousands of years. Today it is used as an anti-microbial, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, antiparasitic, antiviral, balsamic, cardiotonic, cicatrisant, immune tonic, neurotonic, phlebotonic, general tonic, and vulnerary. Many use it as a natural antiseptic, germicide, antibacterial, and fungicide. Use tea tree oil for: athletes foot, cold and flu, oral thrush, cold & canker sores, tooth ache & gum infections, ringworm, candida, hair lice, cleanser additive (disinfectant), gum problems, mosquito bites, bug repellent, deter fleas, mouth ulcers, cold sores, herpes, cuts, abrasions, after shave, sunburn, anorectal or vaginal infections, unwanted body odors, acne, and toe nail infections (anti-fungal). **GT** PLEASE check your state laws in reference to Melaleuca before planting it! The proliferation of invasive species (Melaleuca quinquenervia) can have profound effects in nature. Our Florida Everglades ecosystem has been seriously affected by it growing rampant. Eradicating the species from Florida (if even possible) will require the combination of: mechanical, physical, chemical, and biological controls. Down here it is called "The Invader of Florida". It is extremely important that Melaleuca is controlled so that it doesn't decimate the entire Everglades. I won't grow it because it seeds so readily. It takes one ton of the mature Tea tree to harvest 2 gallons (7-8 liters) of the powerful healing Tea Tree Oil made from Melaleuca alternifolia.


It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap. By my troth, I am sick.

Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus, and lay it to your heart: it is the only thing for a qualm.

There thou prickest her with a thistle.

"Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare

Cirsium Occidentalis in Bloom A Close Up of a Flower
Thistle (Carduus and Cirsium Species) has become a noxious weed in many areas. I remember thinking I had found a treasure when I came across a Bull Thistle when I was a child, always loved playing with the flowers, now they are considered a pest...Five species of Thistle are currently considered major pest weed species by the National Park Service and are under chemical, biological, or cultural control programs in North America, they are: Musk thistle, Italian thistle, Canada thistle, Bull thistle, and Milk thistle. Now heres the part that disturbs me deeply...Quote: "Pest species of thistles have been introduced into North America without their compliment of natural enemies. In Europe, Carduus thistles are attacked by approximately 340 species of insects and 7 fungal pathogens. Current research in biological control is an attempt to reunite natural enemy species with their hosts". Isn't it bad enough the Thistle was they are purposely introducing foreign insects and fungal pathogens also? Sigh. Thistles are pioneer species and are most often found in sites where the ground cover has been disturbed by grazing, erosion, traffic, or other means.

Magickal Uses:

Thistle is an herb of protection and healing ruled by Mars. The Thistle represents the virtue of endurance and can be used Magickally to strengthen one's ability to survive periods of stress, difficulty, or in herbal terms, to weather the storms of life. Thistles are sometimes used at the Autumn Equinox to provide the Magick of survival to last throughout the fierce Winter. In olden times Thistle was used as a hex breaker.

Medicinal and Other Uses:
Lepidoptera: Tiger Swallowtail

These families of Thistles show no medicinal usage, but many are eaten, such as the Woolly-Headed Thistle. **WC** Some Thistles, such as the Musk Thistle, are very attractive to bees, hoverflies and butterflies, and are a food plant for the caterpillars of many Lepidoptera species. (See the photo to the left to see Lepidoptera: "Tiger Swallowtail")

Datura Stamonium in Bloom
Thornapple (Datura Stamonium, also known as Jimson Weed, Tapate, Pomme Poison, Devil's Apple, Malpitte, Stinkweed, Mad Apple, and Devil's Weed) is revered by many native peoples as a sacred, shamanistic plant and powerful aphrodisiac. The famous author Carlos Castaneda learned about Datura from his wise old brujo mentor, Don Juan... (Yaqui Indian sorcerer Juan Matus) According to Don Juan each part of the plant has a different power which must be conquered in its own special way. Many Native American tribes know the knowledge of this plant family (the Zuni, Chumash, and many others) Zuni rain priests use it to commune with their ancestor spirits to ask for rain. The Algonquin tribes made a beverage known as "wusocca" from Datura. The Auruk Tribe in Chile use Datura in much the same way as their ancestors did, for it not only plays a significant role as a shamanic plant but is also used as medicine. Datura is still widely used in the Caribbean, and there it is called "herbe aux sorciers" (herb of the sorcerers). In Mexico Datura is worshipped through "Santo Toloache", the patron saint of Datura. In Hindu cultures Datura is mixed with Ganja and smoked by Yogis to unify both the male and female in self into "oneness". The name, "Datura" is from the Hindoo "Dhatura", derived from the Sanskrit, "D'hustúra". The name "Stramonium" is of uncertain origin, and some authorities claim that it is derived from the Greek name of the "madapple". The seed capsules of the Datura species are usually about the size of a walnut and are covered with thorns. The appearance of these seed-pods has given rise to the English common name, "Thornapple".

Magickal Uses:
Thornapple Fruit Seed Pod

Thornapple is a powerful aphrodisiac and visionary herb ruled by Jupiter. See the warning below! The Shamans and Brujos of the New World use the plant for astral travel. Datura not only provides a visionary journey but also allows their shape-shifting process. In olden days many witches used Datura in their spells, and during The Burning Times Thornapple growing in your garden might well have led to your persecution. This plant is strongly narcotic, and it contains constituents that can be lethal. It can cause permanent short term memory loss for months. This is not an herb to "experiment" with.

Medicinal and Other Uses: Datura Stamonium Bloom: Purple Variation
Thornapple is NOT recommended for use, for it can be lethal. The whole plant is poisonous, but the root and seeds are the most active; neither drying nor boiling destroys the poisonous properties. It can cause permanent short term memory loss. **Warning: It contains Scopolamine, Hyoscyamine and Atropine, which can stimulate the central nervous system while simultaneously depressing the peripheral nerves. This can be lethal if used by someone with a heart condition, or if used improperly. (It acts similarly to Belladonna) Medicinally, Datura has the ability to act anti-spasmodically, and it has a relaxant effect on the respiratory muscles. It also suppresses glandular secretion thereby reducing the amount of mucous excreted through the lungs. Because of this it has been used as a treatment for asthma by some. **WC** Take great care if you decide to gather Datura: touching it with bare hands can result in reactions. The pupils of the eye can become widely dilated by accidentally rubbing the eyes with your fingers after pulling the fresh leaves of Stramonium from the plant. Thornapple has beautiful trumpet-like flowers, ranging in color from white to pinkish purple, and in some varieties even to bright golden yellow and red. The flowers exude a beautiful, narcotic scent, especially at night. The seed capsules of the Datura species are usually about the size of a walnut and are covered with thorns. The appearance of these seed-capsules has given rise to the English common name, "Thornapple".

A Varigated Variety of Thyme A Siver Variety of Thymus Vulgaris in Bloom
Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris, also known as Common Thyme or Garden Thyme) is an ancient herb. The Sumerians used Thyme medicinally as far back as 3000 B.C. The Ancient Greeks planted Thyme as ground cover in Mediterranean orchards to lure Bees into pollinating their fruit trees, and they burned it for purification and cleansing. Thyme was among the herbs and spices used in Ancient Egypt during mummification to keep the deceased fresh for the afterlife. Romans associated Thyme with courage and vigor, bathing in waters scented with Thyme to prepare themselves for battle. Medieval knights wore scarves embroidered with a sprig of Thyme as a symbol of courage. As late as World War I the Thyme oil derivative "thymol" was used as an antiseptic on the battlefield. Thyme was carried by settlers wherever they ventured because Thyme acted as a preservative to battle bacteria in foodstuffs. It is uncertain whether its name is derived from its use by the Greeks as an incense or from the Greek word for courage. More than three hundred species of Thyme and many hybrids, varieties, and ecotypes exist. In "A Modern Herbal" Grieve wrote that "It was looked upon as one of the fairies' flowers, tufts of Thyme forming one of their favorite playgrounds."

Magickal Uses:

Thyme is a Greene Herbe, an herb of love, and an herb of protection ruled by Venus. Thyme is a very friendly herb for your garden Devas and may be used to call upon the Fae. Practitioners can work with Thyme to increase their courage, giving them power to meet whatever confronts them. It can also be used to keep a light heart when working hard to achieve one's goals. Thyme can also be used to enhance the Magick of Pearls. Thyme is gathered with Marigolds, Marjoram and Wormwood for love divination on Saint Luke's Day. Thyme is often used as a protective herb by hanging bunches of it in the home, or carry Thyme in your sachet. In olden times Thyme was burned and offered during rituals of passage such as death. Thyme is a healing herb that is often included in dream pillows to ensure a restful nights sleep.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Everyone knows Thyme as a useful cooking herb, but did you know that Thyme has antioxidant properties? Thyme has traditionally been considered an anthelmintic, antispasmodic, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, rubefactient, sedative, stimulant, and a tonic. The plant has been used as a folk medicine against asthma, arteriosclerosis, colic, bronchitis, coughs, diarrhea, and rheumatism. Some Thymus species have been used as a folk remedy against cancer. Thyme has also been used to promote perspiration. Thymol (Oil) is a powerful antiseptic, considered to be quite toxic if misused. The oil is used in the flavoring of toothpaste, mouthwashes, and cough medicines. The oil is also used in the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetics. **WC** The plant and essential oil can cause contact dermatitis and may affect lipid metabolism. Warning: Do not use when pregnant or if you have high blood pressure. Ingesting too much Thyme while pregnant may cause problems, and avoid Thymol all together. **GT** Thyme is an excellent Bee attractor for your garden to increase pollination.

Trillium Erectum in Bloom A Close Up of the Flower Bud
Trillium (Trillium Species, also called Bethroot, Toad Shade, Ground Lily, Bumblebee Root, Bathflower, Indian Shamrock, Truelove, Wake-Robin, and Birthroot) It's nickname "Birthroot" resulted from pioneers using this herb to stop bleeding after childbirth. The name "Tri-llium" refers to the 3-parted flowers. (Before they were placed in their own family Trilliums were included in the Lily family) Trilliums have a strange natural occurrence, some white varieties change the color of their flower petals after pollination has occurred. The petals change from white to pink, perhaps as a signal to pollinating insects to search for food elsewhere? The changing color of the Trillium flower has inspired poetry by William Shakespeare in "Midsummer Night's Dream" he wrote:

"Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell

It fell upon a little western flower,

Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound..."

Magickal Uses:
Trillium Grandiflorum Bloom

Trillium is an aphrodidiacal herb ruled by Pluto. Trillium represents the Spring season and, depending upon your climate, may be used to symbolize the Spring Equinox. Trilliums are oftentimes symbols of initiation. They are sacred to women giving birth, offering them calm and hope. Trilliums are patron flowers for bards.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Trillium is used as an antiseptic, astringent, emmenagogue, and expectorant. Trillium has been used in folklore medicine for menorrhagia, hematuria, heart palpitations, leukorrhea (douche), varicose veins and other ulcers (topically), bronchial catarrh, kidney hypersecretion, capillary bleeding, venous congestion, and poor lymphatic drainage. Trillium Sessile: The young edible unfolded leaves are an excellent addition to salad tasting somewhat like sunflower seeds. The leaves can also be cooked as a pot herb. **WC** Please check listings in your local area before gathering wild Trillium, some types are endangered Ex: Relict Trillium). Gather the young edible leaves before the flowers appear and the roots in spring and summer. Caution: Trillium can irritate mucous membranes. Avoid Trillium if you are pregnant. **GT** Trilliums prefer moist to wet rich soils and semi-shade.

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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.