The Shamanic Herbal: Other Herbs


(Agrimonia eupatoria)

Names: Church Steeples, Cocklebur, Garclive, Philanthropos, Sticklewort, Stickwort
Medicinal Uses: Taken in tea for diarrhea, bronchitis, and UTIs. Eyewash is good for conjunctivitis. Gargle is used for sore throats. May inhibit tuberculosis bacterium.
Household Uses: Plant has an apricot scent and is added to sachets and potpourri. Flowers were once added to mead.
Traditional Magical Uses: Protection and exorcism.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Agrimony is an important herb used in banishing unwanted spirits, including those that might be taking up residence in someone against much of their will. It can be drunk in tea or burned and the smoke blown at them. It is also used in incense for a protective circle against unwanted astral intruders.


[Betony] (Stachys officinalis)

Names: Bishopwort, Lousewort
Medicinal Uses: Diuretic, stimulates and cleanses the system.
Traditional Magical Uses: Purification and protection - of the soul, not the body. Betony was carried to keep one safe against demons, and was thrown onto Midsummer bonfires so that people could jump through the purifying smoke. It was said to shield one against evil visions and dreams, which suggests that it can be consumed by those who are troubled by unwanted out-of-body nocturnal experiences, or plagued by dream visitations.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Betony is a protector of the astral body. Before journeying or pathwalking, wash in an infusion of Betony, and drink some of it. Sprinkle it on the bed before laying down if you are journeying; carry it if you are pathwalking.


[Chicory] (Cichorium intybus)

Names: Succory, Clock Flower
Medicinal Uses: Poultice leaves for inflammation.
Household Uses: Flowers are a salad garnish; root is roasted for a coffee substitute.
Traditional Magical Uses: Chicory is carried to remove obstacles that crop up in your life.
Shamanic Magical Uses: As it is a "clock" flower, meaning that its blossoms open and close with the sun's hours, it can be used in spells to speed up or slow down time during pathwalking, but be careful with this sort of thing. The safest "time shifting" use for it is to sprinkle it as part of a spell as you move from one world to another, willing the time gap on the two worlds to line up together. This may help the time distortion problem when the other world is strongly different from ours time-wise. (Niflheim is the biggest culprit of the lot when it comes to radically different time- measurements.)


(Taraxacum officinale)

Names: Fairy Clock, Blowball, Cankerwort, Lion's Tooth, Wet-The-Bed, Piss-The-Bed, Priest's Crown, Puffball, Swine Snout
Medicinal Uses: A powerful diuretic, Dandelion leaves are good for UTIs and water retention, as they don't deplete natural potassium levels like chemical diuretics. The root is a blood purifier.
Household Uses: The flowers are made into wine, the buds are pickled, the leaves are eaten in salads, and the roots yield a magenta dye.
Traditional Magical Uses: The seedheads of dandelions, blown at the wind, can carry messages to absent loved ones, or bring the winds.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Dandelions are sacred to Sunna, and can be used as offerings to her. The root, ground and made into a tea, is said to draw spirits with its steam. Drinking it can aid in taking the spirits into you. Supposedly they will stay until you piss, which considering the effect of Dandelion, won't be long.


(Anethum graveolens)

Names: Dylle, Tille, Dulla, Anete
Medicinal Uses: Dill tea helps any kind of stomach disturbance, and promotes milk production in nursing mothers.
Household Uses: Seeds are put into pickles and potato salad; weed is good in almost any savory dish whether fish, meat, or vegetable.
Traditional Magical Uses: Stuffed in pillows for sleep, especially for children - the word "dill" is cognate to "dull", or sleepy. Dill is one of the traditional herbs gathered on the eve of the summer solstice in England, although it may be a bit early for it in more northerly climes.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Dill seeds, tossed onto burning coals and the smoke blown around, calm and pacify spirits that are agitated and angry. It won't stop homicidal ones who are determined to kill you, but it can make the general atmosphere less tense and adversarial.


(Rumex crispus)

Names: Docce, Yellow Dock
Medicinal Uses: The roots stimulate liver bile, clear toxins, and are used for chronic skin disorders. The leaves soothe nettle stings.
Household Uses: The ground seeds can be made into cakes or gruel. The root yields a yellow dye. The iron-rich leaves can be cooked in one change of water and eaten.
Traditional Magical Uses: Seeds are used in money spells.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Sprinkle dock seed on or around the area before doing a reading about someone's financial situation. Feed them some of it as part of a money spell.


[Elcampane](Inula helenium)

Names: Eolone, Elfdock, Elfwort, Horseheal, Scabwort, Wild Sunflower
Medicinal Uses: Root is used as a tonic for weakness, an aid for diabetes (it contains inulin), and a treatment for stubborn phlegm from respiratory infections. Use in cough syrup.
Household Uses: Root can be cooked as a root vegetable or crystallized as a sweet.
Traditional Magical Uses: Attracts love when carried; aids in psychic powers when burned.
Shamanic Magical Uses: This plant is beloved of the Alfar, as shown by its folk name Elfdock. It can be used as a offering to them (especially candied), and carrying it will make them both better disposed toward you, and turn away some of their lesser spells. Carve the rune Wunjo/Wyn into the root as a talisman; it is associated with Ljossalfheim, and works well with Elecampane's Latin name, which means Light.


(Tanacetum parthenium)

Names: Featherfew, Febrifuge Plant
Medicinal Uses: The migraine plant. Eating feverfew, or taking a few drops of a strong tincture, every day on a prophylactic basis has been known to drastically reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
Household Uses: Use dried in sachets to deter moths.
Traditional Magical Uses: Protection against sudden accidents.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Opens the head energy centers, if they are constricted, allowing better energy flow. Blow smoke around the individual's head, or if they are sensitive to smoke, use an oil infusion as a massage or even compresses of hot tea.


(Abies spp.)

Names: Various, depending on species.
Medicinal Uses: The liquid resin taken from bark incisions is a good gargle for sore throats, and poulticed for sinus congestion and arthritis.
Household Uses: The resin can be made into fine lacquer or distilled for turpentine, and the gum is chewed. The buds and leaves are distilled for oil in cough drops and asthma inhalations. Cones and needles are used in potpourri.
Traditional Magical Uses: Decorated sacred trees on the winter solstice.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Fir is the traditional Yule tree, and is sacred to the Mothers, as Yule is Modraniht. It is also one of the sacred smudging herbs for Siberian shamans, along with Juniper. It brings the blessing of the Earth with its scent, and can be used as recaning or asperger for Nerthus, Jord, or any land-wight, or the element of Earth in general.


(Digitalis purpurea)

Names: Cowflop, Deadmen's Bells, Digitalis, Dog's Finger, Fairy Fingers, Fairy Petticoats, Fairy Thimbles, Fairy Weed, Floppydock, Floptop, Folk's Gloves, Fox Bells, Foxes Glofa, Lion's Mouth, Lusmore, Witches' Gloves, Witches' Thimbles
Medicinal Uses: Heart medications are extracted from the plant, but it is poisonous and should not be used by untrained people.
Traditional Magical Uses: Protection of the home from evil faeries.
Shamanic Magical Uses: While all the Alfar and Fey Folk like foxgloves, and may turn mischief aside from a house that grows them, they are especially favored by the Svartalfar, to whom they are not poisonous as they are to us. Foxglove is loved and valued by them, and can be used as an offering or a trade item.`

Good King Henry

(Chenopodum bonus-henricus)

Names: Fragrant Tiger Bones
Medicinal Uses: Eat raw or cooked as a vitamin-packed tonic for invalids. Root is used as a veterinary cough remedy for sheep.
Household Uses: Use as a salad green or a cooked green.
Traditional Magical Uses: General good luck charm.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Helps with leadership charisma. Eat some before you must lead a group, and carry some of the seeds with you if possible. However, if you dishonor your followers or students, even without their knowledge, the charm will cease to work.


[Horseradish](Armoracia rusticana)

Names: Red Cole
Medicinal Uses: Grated root can be taken in a syrup for bronchitis and coughs, used as a mild antibiotic for colds, or poulticed and applied to arthritic joints.
Household Uses: Leaves yield a yellow dye. Grow near other plants for insect repellent. Root infusion can be sprayed on apple trees against brown rot. Make into horseradish sauce for real German cookery.
Traditional Magical Uses: Grated horseradish root is sprinkled around homes for protection.
Shamanic Magical Uses: This plant is highly valued by the fire jotuns of Muspellheim, and can be used to propitiate them. While you carry it, they are unlikely to attack you, especially if you share some. Carve the rune Cweorth into it to make an offering of it.

Icelandic Moss

(Cetraria Islandica)
Medicinal Uses: Used to fight tuberculosis. Expectorant, soothes nausea, antibiotic.
Household Uses: Yields a brown dye. Used as an emergency food in desolate circumstances.
Traditional Magical Uses: Survival in very cold weather.
Shamanic Magical Uses: As this was brought back from Iceland, it may be a good travel charm, especially when crossing water. It is also useful for traveling in very cold places. Take it with you to Niflheim.


(Juniperus communis)

Names: Enebro, Lady Geneva, Gin Berry, Ginepro, Gemeiner Wacholder
Medicinal Uses: Ripe berries are good for UTIs and digestive problems, and they clear acids from the system, which is useful in arthritis. Juniper is a uterine stimulant, so the tincture can be used for stalled labor. The oil is used for an external arthritis rub.
Household Uses: Ripe berries are used to flavor spirits, especially gin, and also in game marinades and stuffings.
Traditional Magical Uses: An all-around purifying, exorcising, and protective herb.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Juniper is the sacred smudging herb of the Siberian shamans, used in much the same way as Mugwort, and for the same reasons. It can be substituted for Mugwort in any shamanic ritual. It was also one of the earliest-known incense plants in ancient Greece.


(Chenopodium album)

Names: Fat Hen
Medicinal Uses: Eat raw or cooked as a vitamin-packed tonic for invalids.
Household Uses: Salad green, when young. Roots yield a mild soap. Used to fatten livestock. Seeds can be ground into a nutritious flour and made into gruel.
Traditional Magical Uses: None that we know of.
Shamanic Magical Uses: This innocuous plant, like Plantain, has been around since Neolithic times. Its seeds were found in the stomach of the preserved Iron Age Tollund Man. It can be used to call on the ancestors. To do so, you do have to eat it, raw, cooked, or dried.

Lily Of The Valley

(Convallaria majalis)

Names: Mayflower, May Lily, Jacob's Ladder, Ladder to Heaven
Medicinal Uses: The distilled flower water of this very poisonous plant is used by experienced herbalists to make a face wash called aqua aurea, which whitens the skin.
Household Uses: Essential oil used in perfumes, but is very difficult to extract.
Traditional Magical Uses: Used to improve the memory.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Supposedly the lily of the valley was created when the goddess Freya first came to Asgard as a hostage. After the lush flora of Vanaheim, she found the bleak winters and lack of spring flowers to be depressing, and when she wept her tears fell to the earth and created the Mayflower. These little flowers are strongly tied to land-wights, and it is considered unlucky to transplant them. If you have a good relationship with your own land-wight, carry some in a pouch to keep the bond strong while traveling.


[Lupine](Lupinus polyphyllus)

Names: Elehtre, Wolf Plant
Medicinal Uses: Powdered seeds are poulticed for oily skin, scabs, and blemishes. As they absorb radiation well, they are planted around radioactive accident sites such as Chernobyl.
Household Uses: Good green manure crop. Companion planting with vegetables deters rabbits.
Traditional Magical Uses: Protection.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Lupine, or Wolf Plant, as the name suggests, is a Jotunheim plant that is especially bound to the magically-radioactive werewolf-inhabited Iron Wood area of Jotunheim. There is even a possibility that it came from that world to this one. It can also be used to absorb psychic and magical "radiation" as well as physical gamma rays, and as such is good for cleaning up serious psychic "messes". Powder the leaves, root, and especially the seeds for this task. Do not feed it to anyone, as it is mildly poisonous.


(Rhodiola rosea)
Names: Rose Sedum, Midsummer Men, Golden Root
Medicinal Uses: In Siberia, where they call it Golden Root, it is infused to treat coughs and ease pain. It does cause mild euphoria and a hangover the next morning if you take too much.
Household Uses: Root was made into a tonic called "poor man's rosewater" for perfume. The leaves were eaten by the Saami for salads.
Traditional Magical Uses: This is one of the sacred plants of the Saami and the Siberians, as it will grow on tundra conditions and stay green and succulent in terrible weather, and the root does smell faintly of roses.
Shamanic Magical Uses: Carried as a carved talisman or eaten, Roseroot gives stamina in the face of physical endurance. This is good both for clients and for the shaman, especially for rigorous journeying or all-night rituals or climbing mountains or whatever other ridiculous effort the spirits put you through.


[Valerian] (Valeriana officinalis)

Names: Amantilla, Bloody Butcher, Capon's Trailer, Cat's Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, St. George's Herb, Sete Wale, Vandal Root
Medicinal Uses: Excellent sedative for insomnia.
Household Uses: Boosts growth of nearby plants.
Traditional Magical Uses: Protection, usually hung above doors and windows.
Shamanic Magical Uses: This is traditionally referred to as "Wayland's Wort", and can be used to call on the power of Wayland/Volund the Ghost Smith. In olden times, when a horse had thrown a shoe and the owner didn't have the money to replace it, they would take it to a particular hill where the ghost of Wayland the Smith had his smithy, and leave the horse overnight with three coins; it would be shod the next morning. While most of us don't need this service, it might be a good thing to carry some Valerian root in your car and ask Wayland to help out with emergency mechanical problems.