Monday, October 25, 2010

Herbs and Halloween~Beware !

It hasn't been that long ago when superstition was a main thread in common, ever day life.
Witches , or those believed to be witches, were burned at the stake  in 1692 in Salem Mass., by high ranking, educated, and supposedly christian men and women.
Marie Laveau was a famous Voodoo Queen in New Orleans who produced 15 children  and left a very long history of what fear and superstition can do and cause.
Many herbs, plants, and weeds that we now take for granted to be on the side of goodness, has roots in Ancient history as defenders of evil.

I've included the uses that these same plants are known for today.

Mugwort-was, in the Middle Ages thought to be a magic herb to defend against witches, and even the Devil himself. Long stems of this herb, which can grow to be five feet tall, would be hung in doorways and from ceiling rafters.....Today Mugwort is used in medicinal ways or as a tea for better digestion and bloating.
It is also known that if not used with care it can bring on very vivid dreams.

Mullein- is a familiar herb in unattended places,  old railways, vacant lots, and overgrown farmland. Its soft, grey leaves were once thought by the Romans to be a powerful repellent to demons. In the Middle Ages mullein was called “hag taper” –but not because the dried flowering stems were used as torches (which they were), but because it was thought that witches used it in incantations and in their brews. ....Today Mullein is used to flavor liqueurs and to relieve respiratory discomfort from mucus. In homeopathic medicine it is used to treat migraine's and earache's.  All parts except the flower are mildly toxic...
Rue- has also been used since ancient times as a weapon against evil. Medieval folk used rue as a defense against witches, and against the plague, to the modern mind a much more real threat. Witches used rue in their enchantments too. “Double, double toil and trouble,” said the witches in Macbeth as the cauldron of magical herbs roiled and boiled......Today Rue is a popular plant in the garden for many uses. In culinary it can be used to infuse marinades, cream cheese, egg, and fish recipes.
Medicinally it is used to treat wounds and for arthritis . It is very irritating to the bare skin, handle with gloves.

Birch- the silvery-barked tree that we cherish in our landscape, was the witches’ choice for their broomsticks.....Today, birch leaf tea may be used as a mild sleep inducer....Today Birch is thought of as strictly a landscape plant/tree...but, the sap is used in wine and vinegar and beer from the bark. Tea from the leaves, and oil extracted from the bark is used to treat leather, and in medicated soaps for eczema.

Angelica, a Strong Defence Against Witches

In a class by itself is the Halloween herb whose name says it all. Thought to be the strongest defense against witches and the plague, angelica was revered as the best herb in the medicinal plant arsenal. An angel revealed the secrets of this plant to a monk while he dreamed and from then on no witch dared to use angelica in any brews or spells. Medieval monks continued to use this imposing plant’s roots in their wines and liqueurs, free from witch-like ties.......Today Angelica is still used to flavor gin, vermouth, and chartreuse.
The leaf is also used in teas to treat colds and  cooked with acidic fruits to reduce sugar requirements.
The leaf is also used for relaxing baths.

If angelica was the most potent anti-witch herb, then mandrake, the super strong, all-purpose herb for working every spell, invoking every curse, was the witch’s most desired plant. European mandrake, also known as Satan’s apple, is a narcotic root of human like appearance, long known as a mystical plant. When a face was carved into the root, the resulting manikin became a potent weapon, capable of great evil....

Mandrake, the Witch’s Ally

Mandrake has history in the book of Genesis-30:14

Today it is used in some alternative medicine for a non harsh relief of constipation issues.

Mandrake has some safety issues...Do Not Use Without A Doctors Supervision.

Isn't history the most exciting place to poke around~

Bea Kunz...share your Halloween frights with us, please...

Art from Tacuinum Sanitatis -1474...a Medieval handbook on wellness.

1 comment:

Jane Carroll said...

So interesting...I don't have a single one of them growing in my garden...maybe next year!