In Herbalism, every herbalist has a record of herbs; recording what herbs have what properties helps us to better create helpful remedies to aid specific ailments.
This is my Materia Medica! I’ll be posting about specific plants every week! This will be a helpful record for myself to keep track online of every herb; and in turn it can be used as a useful guide for you!
If you are looking for a specific herb, or medicinal remedy, you can search for this on my search bar. If you are on a PC, the search bar is on the right side of this page. If you are on a mobile device, you can click on the menu bar above; there, you will find a search option.
The term cramp bark is related to the properties of the bark’s ability to reduce smooth muscle tightness. It is called cramp bark as relieving this type of muscle tightness is most often associated with relieving women’s menstrual (period) cramps. However, this can also be used during pregnancy for cramps or pain and general muscle cramping. It is also known to ease headaches, arthritis pains, back pain, and as a cardiovascular tonic.
Cramp bark comes from the small shrub, Viburnum opulus, which grows in the northern half of the United States. Multiple species are native throughout the northern hemisphere. The twigs can be harvested in the spring to make tinctures and teas. Topically, cramp bark oil can be used to help relax muscles and restore blood flow to injured joints and surrounding tissues.
Parts Used: Bark
Main Constituents: Bitter (viburnin), valeric acid, tannins, coumarins, saponins
Dosage: For a tincture, take 1tsp 3-5 times daily as a relax and for nervous or muscular tension, or for pains affecting the digestive or urinary tract. For decoctions or strong teas, take 1 cup every 3-4 hours for period pain or colic. Can be used with other remedies for excessive menstrual bleeding. Teas can also be used to help with back pains and for arthritis relief.
Magickal Properties: This feminine plant associates with Saturn and the element of water. Also associated with the astrological sign of Capricorn. There isn’t much folklore surrounding cramp bark, what few references there are refer to women’s magic and protection.
Naturalized in America and Australia, this plant was native to Europe. The plant was known as “honey stalk” for it’s sweet sap that children like to chew on. In the 1930s, red clover became popular for treating breast cancer. Today, it’s been used for coughs, skin problems and menopausal symptoms. Red clover is best harvested while dry – with no dew or droplets, as it tends to hold onto moisture even after harvest, and can become moldy while drying.
Dosage: For tinctures, take 3 times daily for skin conditions and sores or minor skin wounds that are slow to heal. For infusions/tea, take 1 cup 3 times daily for coughs, menopausal problems or skin issues. As a gargle/mouthwash, use 1 cup of infusion for coughs, mouth ulcers, or sore throats. For fresh flowers, crush and place directly on insect bites and stings.
Red Clover is an alterative, meaning it improves chronic conditions throughout the body over time by helping the body to assimilate nutrients to remove metabolic waste products. it’s often referred to as a blood cleanser due to its affinity for the lymphatic system and liver. As a diuretic, red clover keeps fluids moving through the lymphatic system and supports elimination of wastes via the urinary system. It also stimulates and nourishes the liver to keep blood well-filtered. Red clover is indicated for conditions that the result from buildup of metabolic waste in the body, such as cystic lumps, lymphatic swelling, infections, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Because of red clover ‘s gentle alterative nature, it is a premier herb for many skin conditions as well as chronic inflammatory conditions and degenerative diseases, including as a support in cancer, alongside conventional treatment.
Red clover is rich in phytoestrogen isoflavones, which may be helpful for normalizing hormone levels during the fertile years and in menopause. Some clinical trial shave shown positive effects on hot flashes, bone density, mood, and cardiovascular health in menopausal women.
Burn fresh or dried Red Clover, or light Red Clover incense. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your arms held loosely at your ides and your gaze focused gently forward.
Imagine a sting lifting you from the top of your head and two more pulling your feet toward the center of the Earth. This is yoga’s Mountain Pose, which teaches you the vitality of stillness.
Now, add breath, inhaling all the way down to your belly and exhaling fully. This is flow.
Finally, picture Red Clover, calling into your heart as you expand your energy
Abundance Water Meditation
This mediation can be done in the shower or in a bath. The point is to use water to help the body relax.
For a Bath, add red clover flowers into the water to float on the surface.
For a Shower, create a ‘tea bag’ of red clover flowers fresh or dry in a cloth bag that can be hung by a string directly under the shower head so that this ‘tea’ falls directly on your body.
Alternatively, light red clover incense or burn the herb in your bathroom while you bathe.
Relax the body, and close your eyes. Scan your body for any tension and release as you scan up and down your body.
Imagine a red glowing ball of light hovering just above your head. This light represents abundance. It gently lowers itself into your body and begins to enter your core and moves into your heart. This light, is now growing and shrinking in your chest to match your heartbeat.
Imagine that the light grows larger as you inhale, and shrinks as you exhale. Complete this breathing exercise until full relaxation is reached or until you feel ready to end meditation.
To end meditation, slowly bring your presence back to the calmness of the water. Normalize your breath and bring your attention back to the present. Remember that the light of abundance is always within you. You have the power to reach all of your goals and everything you need is within reach.
If you are looking for an all cure plant for cuts, scratches, bites, and small wounds on the skin, look no further! Known as the Fist Aid Plant for hikers, this wild plant is a life saver to many who are lacking band-aids or any wound care supplies.
Plantain was brought to the Americas by colonial travelers from Europe. There are more than 250 species of Plantain around the world and they are all said to be edible or safe for consumption. However, it may not be the most favorable flavor to many.
Parts Used: Leaves
Main Constituents: Flavanoids, iridoids, mucilage, tannins, minerals.
Dosage: For tinctures, take 3x per day for catarrhal conditions or digestive problems, including gastritis, and IBS symptoms; For infusions, drink 1 Cup 3x per day for digestion, and as a gargle for sore throats; As a poultice, mash the leaf with a bit of water into a pulp for slow-healing wounds. Alternatively, if you are in an emergency situation, and have no water, you can chew on the leaf and place that on your skin wounds for healing; For the juice, leaves can be juiced and taken in 2tsp doses 3x per day to soothe cystitis, diarrhea, and lung infections. The juice can also be applied to wounds and sores.
Plantain is a must-have for any herbal first aid kit for its use in bites, stings, cuts and scrapes, as well as to help to draw out slivers, splinters and stingers.
Plantain has been described by herbalists as a lance that penetrates and opens the wound to draw out the poison. It may also be used to soothe and cool the pain, itching or burning symptoms of poison ivy, nettle stings, and sunburn. In-the-field preparation of a “spit-poultice” for direct topical application for any of the previously mentioned ailments, is a super easy and quick way to begin the healing process, particularly when there are no other first aid supplies at hand.
Plantain leaves can also bne placed in a sock for hotspots, blisters or made into a wash, compress, infused oil, salve, or cream for a variety of skin conditions.
Plantain’s anti-inflammatory and astringent properties applicable to soothe chronic skin conditions while toning skin tissues in the case of eczema, rosacea, shingles, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids.
Plantain also exhibits antibacterial properties that contribute both to its use for wounds and for acne. Its antibacterial properties, however, are destroyed by heat.
Roses have long been known for love and harmony, but many don’t realize all of the wonderful benefits that lay beneath the sweet scent of the flower. The flowers vary in color; Rose oil is extracted by steam distillation and is said to be good for the skin and soul.
Rose water has been used for centuries to aid in clarifying and toning skin; Essential oil can be used to lift your mood; Teas made from the petals also help in calming you when tense, and can help with high cholesterol.
Parts Used: Flowers, Essential Oil, Hydrosol
Main Constituents: Geraniol, nerol, citronellol, geranic acid
Dosage: For Tincture; take 1 dose twice per day for nervous disorders, poor digestion, or to help lower cholesterol; For Essential Oil, add a few drops of rose oil to any lotion you use to help with dry or inflamed skin conditions, or add a few drops of Rose oil to a bath to ease depression, sorrows, or insomnia; Brew a tea, let it cool, and spray onto your face for a light skin toner; Drink the tea to help lower cholesterol when you can’t take the tincture, the tea also helps clarify your skin and aids in digestion.
According to myth, the first roses did not have thorns. While Venus’ son Cupid smelled a rose, a bee came out and stung him on the lip. Venus then strung his bow with bees. She removed their stingers and placed them on the stems of the roses.
Myth also says that every rose was white until Venus punctured her foot on a thorny briar and some of the white petals were dyed red with her blood. Roses are also said to attract fairies to the garden.
In ancient Greece, the Rose was affiliated with the goddess Aphrodite. It is said that Rose bushes grew from the ground through Aphrodite’s tears and the blood of her dead lover, Adonis.
Meditation Ritual for a Sad Heart
This Meditation Ritual is something to do when your heart is aching. I did this one while I was grieving for my mother, and have used it often when I have lost a loved one; can be done when simply missing someone you haven’t seen in a while. I noticed when I did this, I saw my mother in dreams more often.
This meditation is best in a bath with rose petals and essential oil added; if you do not have a bath (like me) you can place in front of you, fresh rose petals in a bowl of water with a few drops of essential oil.
Light Rose incense; or, in a fire-proof bowl, burn a dried rose flower or petals.
Close your eyes and envision yourself sitting in a field of roses. Breathe in and out steadily, each time taking in the scent.
Imagine your loved one sitting in front of you. Their entire body glowing with a bright pink light. With each deep breath imagine that you are inhaling their light and as you exhale, you are returning it to them. Picture them smiling at you as you complete your breaths. They are happy, and here for you in every breath you take.
Be here with your loved one, as long as you deem necessary.
Slowly start to bring your awareness back and open your eyes.
You can collect any Rose petals you used, and bury them as an offering to your lost loved one.
Also known as Mary Thistle, Milk Thistle is native to the Mediterranean. It is mostly known for its liver-protecting qualities. It can be eaten as a vegetable for weight loss due to its high fiber content. Although safe for humans to eat, it is toxic to livestock, and might affect small pets.
As a garden plant, it can be aggressively invasive (as most medicinal plats are). Plant in pots and keep on concrete to avoid a Milk Thistle garden takeover! Check with your state laws to see if Milk Thistle is safe and legal to grow in your area.
Milk thistle contains Silymarin, a chemical known to improve liver health, crowning this plant with the ‘Liver Tonic’ title.
Parts Used: Seeds, Laves, Flower Heads
Main Constituents: Flavolignans, Silymarin, Bitters, Polyacetylenes
Dosage: For tinctures, take full dropper 3 times daily for liver and gall bladder problems or to stimulate digestion; For Infusions/teas, Drink 1-2 Cups Daily to stimulate milk production while breastfeeding (unless your doctor advises against it), or to help stimulate sluggish digestion.
MagickalProperties: Meditation, Healing, Purification, Cleansing, Happiness, Protection, Vitality, Used to Fight Negative Energies, Blessings, Calling Spirits, Dispel Evil Influences.
Folk Tales & Mythology
Milk Thistle, also known as Saint Mary’s Thistle or Our Lady’s thistle. This herb is a plant of legend. Stories from long ago suggest that the leaves of the milk thistle plant came to have white veins running through them when the milk from the breast of Mary, The Virgin Mother splashed onto the plant. To some, these white veins symbolize breast milk, and it’s believed that when a breastfeeding mother uses this herb, it will lead to an increase in her breast milk supply.
Milk Thistle can be burned with sage for purification and cleansing your home, yourself, and any items.
Burning milk thistle also helps improve concentration while meditation.
Rid yourself of bad thoughts with Milk Thistle: Write down all the words you can think of that trigger you negatively on a piece of paper. Take and place a small pinch of milk thistle seeds on the paper. Fold the paper in half and write: I no longer attract these hurtful feelings into my life. Fold the paper in half one last time and write: I see only love, I attract only love, I am only love.
Whenever the bad or negative thought arise again, look at the messages you wrote to yourself and meditate on it. This is a form of visual manifestation to help you bring about positive thoughts in a time of self hate or low self esteem.
Basil is one of the most popular herbs used in the kitchen. But this leafy herbaceous plant represents so much more than flavor! Basil is not only used as a food flavoring, but also in perfumery, incense, and herbal holistic remedies. Recent scientific studies have established that compounds the essential oil of basil plants possess potent antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
Basil is used as an uplifting nervine for stress, low mood, anxiety, and poor memory and concentration. As with many nervines, Basil positively impacts the digestive system; it helps improve digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also eases indigestion, nausea, and intestinal spams, making this the perfect tea to drink after desserts or any heavy meals. It’s also used for respiratory conditions and is specifically indicated for excess mucus in the head and chest. Taken in a tea, this is helpful for colds, flu, and other respiratory infections.
Plant basil near the threshold of your home to repel negative entities and welcome friendly spirits. Plant just after a New Moon so that the Basil has time to absorb all the positive moon energy throughout the phases for strong roots.
Repel an unwanted love interest: Let a piece of Basil wilt under your bed to encourage their feelings for you to fade.
Burning Basil incense with a charged emerald crystal can encourage abundance and prosperity. No Incense? just burn dried basil in a fireproof bowl.
Add dried basil to a drawstring bag with some pennies to draw luck to your money or business matters.
History of Basil
There are now up to 150 different types of Basil, each with it’s own distinct flavor. While Basil has been around for about 5,000 years, the origin of the plant is up for debate. The most widespread belief is that it originated in either India or Asia and spread to the Mediterranean through the ancient spice trading routes.
Sweet basil, along with other basil and mint plants, belongs to the genus Ocimum which is derived from the Greek meaning “to be fragrant.” This is exceptionally true of the basil plant, which is often described as being very fragrant. The word basil itself, however, comes from the Greek word for “king,” thus associating it with wealth and royalty. Basil can be carried in your pockets to attract wealth or kept in cash registers or grown by the door to attract business. However, basil is more commonly associated with love than wealth and royalty.
Holy Basil, which is highly revered in India, is a sacred Hindu herb and is believed to be a manifestation of the Goddess Tulasi. According to legend, the god Vishnu disguised himself as Tulasi’s husband to seduce her. When Tulasi realized she had been unfaithful to her husband she killed herself. In some stories, Tulsai was a mortal named Vrinda who threw herself onto a funeral pyre after her husband’s death. In both cases, her burnt hair turned into Holy Basil (Tulsi). In both stories, Vishnu ultimately defied Tulasi’s wishes to die and declared she be worshiped by wives and would prevent said wives from becoming widows. As such, Holy Basil is the symbol of love, fidelity, eternal life, purification, and protection. Often times people swear over basil bushes to ensure they will tell the truth during court hearings.
The myth of Isabetta is one of importance when reading up on Basil. Isabetta was a young woman from a wealthy family who fell in love with a lower class man named Lorenzo. When Isabetta’s brothers discovered her secret, they lured Lorenzo into the woods where they killed and buried him. Lorenzo visited Isabetta in her dreams, informing her of her brothers’ deceit and asked that she give him a proper burial. Isabetta dug up his body, but didn’t have the strength to carry him back, so she cut off his head and took it home, and buried it inside a pot of Basil, watering it with her tears of grief. When her brothers discovered this, they took the pot and destroyed the evidence, assumingly by burning it. Isabetta dies of a broken heart shortly after. Click link here for full poem: https://www.bartleby.com/126/38.html
Chamomile is one of the most well-known herbs to tea drinkers. There are two types of Chamomile; German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. As far as my studies have shown, both types of chamomiles have very similar properties and can be interchanged. It is known in Spain for having a ‘fruity, apple-like’ scent. Therefore, in Spanish, it is called, Manzanilla, meaning ‘little apple’.
Chamomile is an annual plant, which means it typically dies after one season, and won’t re-emerge the next season like a perennial would. They naturally re-seed themselves so it may appear to re-emerge every season like a perennial.
Chamomile can be taken internally or applied topically, to help with acne and eczema. It has also been known to help with sunburns and other skin conditions, such as poison ivy rashes.
Dosage: For Infusions, add 1 cup boiling water over 2 tsps of dried flowers and leaves for mild digestive problems or insomnia. Teas could be used as a face wash for inflammation of the skin, and other skin conditions. For tinctures, take 2tsps 3 times per day to ease irritable bowel syndrome symptoms or for nervous tension.
Safety: Those who typically suffer from allergies from plants in the daisy family may be sensitive to chamomile.
Chamomile Through History
In 2012, chamomile and yarrow scrapings were found on the teeth of a 50,000 year old Neanderthal! We have been using this herb for a very, very long time!
een associated with deities of the sun in many ancient religions. In ancient Egypt, chamomile was sacred to the sun god Ra and was highly revered over all other herbs. Chamomile flowers are found depicted in many ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back to over 2,000 years. Chamomile was valued not only as an herb that could heal any ailments, but Egyptian nobility also used it in their beauty regiments.
Ancient Greek physicians, like Dioscorides, made frequent mention of prescribing the herb chamomile for a variety of ailments. Medieval herbalists bred double-flowering varieties of chamomile to increase the plant’s healing parts, as it is the plant’s flowers that are used for herbal remedies.
Chamomile is used to attract money and a hand wash of the infusion is sometimes used by gamblers to ensure winnings. It is used in sleep and meditation incenses, and the infusion is also added to the bath to attract love.
f you’re getting ready to do a banishing ritual (banishing negativity or smudging), some recommend you steep chamomile flowers in hot water, and then use it to sprinkle around the house. You can also wash up with it, after the water has cooled, and this is believed to keep negative energies away from you.
Also, plant chamomile near doors and windows, to prevent negativity from entering your home, or blend it into a sachet to carry with you when you think you might be in physical or magical danger.
Burn dry chamomile in a fireproof bowl or use chamomile incense to bring about relaxation and meditation. Chamomile is useful when trying to get centered and calm. It can be blended with lavender and burned for restful sleep and calming dreams.
Known to many as a pesky unwanted weed, the Dandelion actually has so many benefits, you’ll wish your yard was full of them! Nature has an amazing way of providing for us. This little plant is so vigorous, it can often be found in the crack of concrete, near busy roads… it’ll get stepped on and still, it will thrive and seem almost un-killable. Rather than an unwanted weed, it really should be seen as a superfood! In fact, many fine dining restaurants will include dandelion leaves in their salads. You may have already eaten some without realizing it!
Parts Used: Leaf, Flower; Root
Main Constituents: Sesquiterpene lactones, Vitamins A, B, C, D; choline, minerals including potassium.
Dosage: For a decoction, put 3tps of Dandelion Root into 1 Cup of water and boil, simmer for 15 minutes; Drink 1 Cup 3 times daily for any condition where liver stimulation and detoxification may help, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatism, acne, and psoriasis. * For infusion, make a tea with 2tsps dry leaves over 1 cup boiling water. Drink 1 cup 3 times per day to encourage urination in conditions such as cystitis, fluid retention, or high blood pressure. * For Tinctures, take 1 tsp. of combined root and leaf tincture 3 times daily to stimulate bile flow, act as a very mild laxative, or help dissolve small gallstones.
Magickal Properties: Divination, Wishes, Calling spirits, Sending Messages, Enhancing psychic energies, Dandelions are associated with Aphrodite because of her connection with bees
Dandelion Through History
Dandelion has been used for thousands of years, by ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. The root and leaves were used as a tonic to remove toxins from the bloodstream, acting as a gentle diuretic to improve the function of the digestive system. Ancient physicians realized dandelion helped with a host of health issues including kidney, stomach, and liver disorders, skin irritations gall bladder problems, heartburn, fevers, toothaches, constipation, anemia, arthritis, diabetes, and even helps with dandruff!
Botanists say that some species of dandelion are native to North America, but historians believe early European settlers introduced it to natives. However it got here, it spread quickly and was known early on as one of the most powerful plant medicines.
Dandelion Meditation Ritual
Here’s a little something you can try at home! Many children make wishes as they blow seeds off of a dandelion head. This has been associated with dandelions for centuries, making wishes and hoping for positive things to come your way.
This is a tea meditation. I always say, you must make teas with intention. Set time aside and really focus on your tea and charge it with your love, intention, and gratitude. A cup of tea must never be rushed. It must be enjoyed, bringing all of your attention to it. It must slowly be charged with your energy.
For this ritual, we will need dried dandelion root, leaves and flowers. Bring water to a boil on the stove and then lower it to a simmer for 15 minutes. Standing over the simmering tea, breathe in the steam and visualize something positive you need in your life. Not anything material, rather think of courage, strength, becoming more vocal, love, prosperity. Take the time to think about what you could do to achieve those passions and feelings and make a mental note of it as you breathe in the aroma of the tea. Keep these intentions in your mind as you pour yourself a cup of tea; imagine that the tea has the power to make your wish a reality. Enjoy and sip your tea.
Also knows as Catmint, this herb got its name due to the love and affection received by cats! Why do cats love this so much? When the leaves/flowers are bruised, it gives off a scent that is very similar to the pheromones exuded by a cat in heat. So, if you’re growing this at home, make sure to protect it from any cats that may …umm… attack it and ruin the leaves. Native to Mediterranean and European regions, it is now naturalized in many parts of the world.
Catnip is used for Digestive Disorders or feverish chills.
Parts Used: Aerial parts; Flowers, leaves
Main Constituents: Volatile Oils, Glycosides; Warming energetics
Dosage: For Infusions or teas, drink one cup three times per day for colds, flu, stomach issues/indigestion; For Tinctures, take up to 1tsp. three times daily with infusion/teas for headaches associated with digestive disturbance; alternatively, use 1-2 tsp. of tincture externally as a rub for arthritis
Catnip relaxes muscle spasms, especially in the smooth muscles of the intestines. It opens the pores of the skin, promoting peripheral circulation, and stimulates sweating, which can be helpful in managing a fever.
Catnip also helps dissolve mucous, soothes inflammation of the mucous membranes, and it can be helpful in sinus or respiratory infections, and is especially helpful with the cold and flu.
Catnip is used to represent love and friendship. Grow near your home or hang over a door to attract good spirits and luck.
Historically known to give soldiers courage when chewed prior to battle.
Catnip can be burned with incense to help get rid of bad habits.
Catnip in History
It is said that the Egyptians grew this and gave it to their cats as a form of affection. (cat-birthday gift?)
The Romans regarded catnip highly and used it as a culinary herb and for medicines.
Catnip was introduced to America in the 18th century. Settlers took plant cuttings with them for food and medicinal purposes when they traveled to the New World and there is a recipe from Massachusetts 1712 that includes catnip in the list of ingredients. Native Americans also began to use catnip in their medicines and recipes when they came accross it.
As the name entails, this herb is for the ladies; it helps with menstrual cramps, calms the uterine walls, and helps restore fullness to breasts after breastfeeding.
Its scientific name, Alchemilla vulgaris expresses how much this herb was revered by alchemists at the time of its discovery. Many alchemists and priests would collect juices from the leaves for healing properties.
Create an infusion by adding dried leaves to boiling water and straining. Drink 1 cup of tea up to 5 times per day for acute diarrhea or gastroenteritis, or to ease heavy menstrual bleeding period pains. This infusion could also be gargled to ease sore throats, laryngitis or as a mouthwash
Take 1-2ml of Tincture 3 times daily to regulate menstrual cycle, or take with St. John’s Wort to ease period pains.
Lady’s Mantle Through History
Lady’s Mantle is a perennial herb found in Europe, North America, and Asia that has been used medicinally since the Middle Ages. The word Alchemilla is a derivative of the Arab word Alkemelych, which means alchemy, and was named for the plant’s magical healing powers. An astringent that affects the production rate of enzymes in the pancreas, lady’s mantle is commonly recommended for treating diarrhea and stomach ailments. In folk medicine, lady’s mantle was also used to soothe infections of the mucous membranes of mouth and throat. The tea and extracts were also used as a bath additive to treat skin irritations and wounds. The leaf tea and dewdrops from the leaves of the living plant are most commonly employed to help female conditions such as menorrhagia, menopause, and painful periods.