The Herbs, Roots, and Bark Library

Herbs beginning with the letter U

Unicorn Root-
True Unicorn Root a close up of the flowers
Unicorn Root (Aletris Farinosa, also known as Ague Root, Blazing Star, Stargrass, Crow Corn, Huskwort, Colicroot, Devil's-bit, and Starwort) was first used by Native Americans medicinally. It was listed as a therapeutic herb in the U.S. Pharmacopeia in the 19th century, and in The National Formulary until 1947. It is a member of the Lily family, and is often confused with False Unicorn Root, which is an entirely different plant family (Chamaelirium Luteum). This plant is seriously threatened in some areas with extinction.

Magickal Uses:

Unicorn Root is an herb of protection, and a visionary herb. (The fresh root of True Unicorn in large doses is somewhat narcotic, but when dried, these properties are lost) It can be added to a charm bag to dispel evil. Within the Wiccan tradition of Lothlorien they work with astral unicorns. Unicorn Root is used by those who wish to work with Unicorns as spiritual entities, and it is the patron herb of The Rowan Tree Church. Some use Unicorn Root in baby blessings and protective Magickal work for infants. It can be used in the home to keep evil out. Use Unicorn Root as an incense in hex breaking and uncrossing rituals.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Unicorn Root is an excellent herb for sluggish digestion, and it can help appetite loss. It aids in helping digestive colic, thus, one of its nicknames "Colic Root". Unicorn Root is used for dysmenorraghia, as a general fertility promoter, post-miscarriage, for morning sickness, and for impotence in males. It is an antispasmodic, sedative, tonic, and a strong uterine stimulant. Caution: Do NOT use during pregnancy, it can cause miscarriage. **WC** The rootstock should be collected in Autumn for best results. PS If anyone knows a supplier that commercially sells this seed or root please e-mail me at: [email protected], as I won't wildcraft it...sure would love to grow and repopulate it here!

Uva Ursi-
Uva Ursi A Close Up of the Berries
Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi, also called Bearberry, Universe Vine, Bear's Whortleberry, Mountain Box, Foxberry, Kinnikinnick, Bear's Grape, Crowberry, Mealberry, and Hog Cranberry) is found in colder, northern climates. It has red berries, which bears are said to be fond of, thus the nickname "Bearberry". The berries are nourishing, but its the Uva Ursi leaves that hold the medicinal value. The leaves of the Uva Ursi shrub have been used worldwide for urinary problems for at least 1,000 years, and probably longer in Native American use.

Magickal Uses:

Uva Ursi may be used to increase your intuitive and psychic abilities and skills. In "A Compendium of Herbal Magick" by Paul Beyerl it is recommended "that small daily amounts be taken as a spiritual tonic" to achieve this end. Some Native American peoples include Uva Ursi in their ritual pipe-smoking mixtures. Some tribes use Uva Ursi to train Shamans in the development of their skills in divination and prophecy.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Uva Ursi is commonly used as a diuretic. The glycoside "arbutin" is the active ingredient in Uva Ursi. It has been shown to kill bacteria in the urine. Before it can act, however, the sugar portion of arbutin and its attached small molecule (known as hydroquinone) must be broken apart. The urine must be alkaline for this to happen. Hydroquinone is a very powerful antimicrobial agent and is responsible for Uva Ursi’s ability to treat urinary tract infections. Uva ursi preparations should not be administered with any substances that cause acidic urine, since this reduces the antibacterial effect. Arbutin has also been shown to increase the anti-inflammatory effect of synthetic cortisone. **WC** This plant is rare and protected in some states. The leaves also contain a fair amount of tannin, and taken over time may irritate the stomach. Large amounts of hydroquinine can cause tinnitus, vomiting, seizures, and loss of consciousness. Do not use if you are pregnant or lactating. **GT** Hard as I tried, I've lost every Uva Ursi I've tried to grow, so I think its safe to assume it cannot tolerate real warm climates like Florida.

The Vs 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.