The Herbs, Roots, and Bark Library

Herbs beginning with the letter W

Walnut- a Black Walnut a close up of the bloom and leaves

Walnut (Juglans Species, also known as Jupiter's Nut, Butternut, White Walnut, Black Walnut, English Walnut, Carpathian Walnut) has a large family containing many varieties. Mythology describes a Golden Age when acorns were the food of humans and the Gods lived upon Walnuts, and hence the name of Juglens, Jovis glans, or Jupiter came about. The careless attitude toward the beautiful Black Walnut tree led it to be all but wiped out at the turn of the century in the U.S. A sad fact when you consider they can live to be 200 to 250 years old. They are now grown commercially for the highly sought after wood.

Magickal Uses:
a close up of the nuts
Walnuts provide us with access to divine energy. The extracted Walnut Oil is excellent for conditioning a wooden wand or for treating any natural wood of one's temple or altar. The invocatory for walnut is Jupiter or Zeus. Use Walnut for healing and protection. Walnuts can also be added to feast cakes, or ground and used as a meat substitute in vegetarian chili at a ritual feast.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

"Immature" Black Walnut hulls are used to fight parasites and skin problems, and are effective in eliminating parasites from the colon. External applications have been known to kill ringworm. The brown stain found in the green hull contains organic iodine which has antiseptic and healing properties. Rubbed on the skin, Black Walnut extract is reputed to be beneficial for eczema, herpes, psoriasis, poison oak, and skin parasites. It is said to exhibit anti-cancer properties as well. Taken internally, Black Walnut helps relieve constipation. (Walnuts have an outer "hull" most consumers never see, the shell of the nut is the inner section) Walnut wood is used for fine wood to make musicial instruments, gun stocks (Black Walnut is famous as the "gunsmiths' wood"), furniture, crafts, cabinets, and lumber. And last, but not least, Walnuts are a nutritional, tasty food often used in baking and candy making. **GT** Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra) is extremely toxic to some plants, so if you intend on growing one you'd better read up on what it can affect. Some plants cannot even be grown in the same yard with them, they are that toxic (I know tomatoes & peppers will die). The mature tree produces a mysterious substance called juglone in its roots. Neighboring trees, especially Apple trees, often die from this toxin. I even knew of some rednecks that used the outer hulls of Black Walnuts to poison fish in a pond. There have been reports of its foliage killing horses also. **WC** Use gloves if you intend on hand harvesting Black Walnuts that are still in their dried outer hull, it stains the skin like crazy and even bleach won't remove it.

Willow- A Young Willow A Close Up of the Bloom

Willow (Salix Species, also called Tree of Enchantment) has been used for thousands of years as a healing medicine. Willows are a wetland tree, preferring river banks, ponds, ditches, and other moist soil areas. Aspirin is "acetylsalicylic acid", and the "salic" refers to "Salix", which is the Latin name for Willow (which is a natural pain killer). The most well known Willows are the Weeping Willow (Salix Babylonica) and the Pussy Willow (Salix Discolor). World-wide there are about 300 species of Willow with about 70 in North America. The Native Americans have used Willow for centuries as both a medicinal plant and to weave baskets and other usable items. The Druids used the Pussy Willow for charms and protection. In olden days a branch of the Willow was used to seek or "dowse for water". The old phrase "knock on wood" evolved from "knock on Willow" due to the lore of protection associated with the Willow.

Magickal Uses:

Willow is an herb of protection, immortality, and a funeral herb ruled by the Moon, Saturn, or Neptune. Its invocatory can be Aino, Artemis, Circe, Diana, Hecate, Hera, Hermes, Orpheus, or Persephone. Many believe a branch of the Pussy Willow to be the most excellent of all ritual wands. Pussy Willow cuttings are often included as altar decorations at Candlemas or Eostara, depending on the climate. Willow is a wonderful herb for bards. Those who do any public speaking might use Willow to appeal to Orpheus or Persephone in order to be granted eloquence. Willow is believed to be an herb to assist a safe journey to the Otherworld. As a funeral herb, planting a Willow during your lifetime is said to protect you when taking final leave of your body. (The Willow must be thriving at the time of your death). Willow is an excellent herb to use with Rock Crystal to charge the stone and give it protective and healing virtues. Willow brings out the feminine qualities of both men and women. Willow is most excellent to use to bring the blessings of the Moon into one's life.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

The main types of Willow bark used medicinally are the White Willow, the Sallow (Goat Willow), the Black Willow, and the Purple Willow. Willow's medicinal component is called "Salicin", which is what is converted to "Salicylic Acid" when taken internally. Willow is used internally for fevers, rheumatic pains, headaches, gout, and digestive problems. Externally Willow is used as a disinfectant and astringent on cuts and sores. Young, pliable shoots and branches are excellent for weaving baskets and wicker furniture. **WC** Avoid Willow usage medicinally if you are pregnant or on blood thinners. **GT** Willow is an attractor for several species of Butterflies including the Lepidoptera Nymphalis antiopa or "Mourning Cloak" Butterfly, and the Lepidoptera Limenitis archippus or "Viceroy" Butterfly because their caterpillers feed on it's leaves. Willow is easily started by rooting a young branch, and it makes a graceful, hardy landscape tree.

Wormwood- Wormwood A Close Up of the Leaves

Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium, also known as Artemisia, Absinthe, Mingwort, Old Woman, Warmot, Absinthium, Madderwort, and Green Ginger) is probably best known for its use in the French liqueur "Absinthe", which was outlawed or made illegal in the U.S. around 1912 when it was discovered how addictive it was and that it could lead to psychosis. Hippocrates sipped Wormwood steeped in wine. Absinthe was once popular among artists and writers such as Van Gogh, Baudelaire, and many more. Absinthe is still available in Spain and reportedly in Denmark and Portugal as well. The web site states that "Domestic Ouzo is aged in Wormwood; it can give you hallucinations". The genus is named Artemisia for "Artemis", the Greek name for Diana, a goddess of the Moon. The name "Absinthium" means "without sweetness". Wormwood is a derivation of the German "wermut" or the Anglo-Saxon "wermod". Medicinally it was used to treat worm infestation, especially roundworm and pinworm, thus again the name "Wormwood". It was also used in storage to repel moths and other insects from valuable materials and furs. In "A Modern Herbal" Grieve writes: "According to the Ancients, Wormwood counteracted the effects of poisoning by hemlock, toadstools and the biting of the seadragon. The plant was of some importance among the Mexicans, who celebrated their great festival of the Goddess of Salt by a ceremonial dance of women, who wore on their heads garlands of Wormwood".

Magickal Uses:

Wormwood is an herb of love and a visionary herb ruled by Mars and Pluto. Wormwood is said to enhance prophecy and divination. Wormwood is a good herb to use to remove anger or inhibit enemies. Wormwood was once burned in all incenses designed to raise spirits, and now is used as incense in exorcisim and protection blends. It is associated with the Lovers card in the Tarot, and also serves as a patron plant of herbalists.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Wormwood contains "thujone" which causes mind-altering changes and can lead to psychosis. It depresses the central nervous system. Some use Wormwood to treat anxiety, for it acts as a mild sedative. It is also used to stimulate the appetite. Wormwood has been used as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages, such as Vermouth, bitters, and liqueurs. The essential oil was in great demand for the manufacture of the French liqueur "Absinthe" until it was found to be addictive. In olden days it was traditionally used as an anthelmintic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, to improve blood circulation, as a cardiac stimulant, as a pain reliever for women during labor, as an agent against tumors and cancers, for colds, rheumatism, fevers, jaundice, diabetes, and arthritis. **WC** The tops and leaves should be gathered and dried in July and August, when the plant is still in flower. Do not take if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Wormwood can be habit-forming, and overuse of Wormwood can initiate nervousness, stupor, convulsions, and death. **GT** Wormwood grows well in poor, dry sandy soils in a sunny location. Some say its toxic to other plants growing near it, but I haven't encountered this problem to date.

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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.