The Herbal Encyclopedia
MEDICINAL: An infusion of the leaves is used to treat jaundice and other liver ailments, and as a diuretic. It is also used in treating ulcers, diarrhea, and skin problems. Externally, a fomentation is used for athlete's foot, sores, slow-healing wounds, and insect bites.
RELIGIOUS: Agrimony is used in protection spells, and is used to banish negative energies and spirits. It is also used to reverse spells and send them back to the sender. It was believed that placing Agrimony under the head of a sleeping person will cause a deep sleep that will remain until it is removed.
GROWING: Agrimony is grown throughout much of the United States and southern Canada. It is a perennial that reaches 2 to 3 feet tall, prefers full sun and average soils. Agrimony tolerates dry spells well.
MEDICINAL: Eliminates retained water, relieves urinary and bowel problems, helps in treating recuperation of narcotic and alcohol addiction. Used in treating anemia, fatigue, kidneys, peptic ulcers, pituitary problems, and for building general health.
RELIGIOUS: Placed in a small jar and kept in a pantry or cabinet, it protects the home from poverty and hunger. Burn alfalfa and scatter the ashes around the property to protect it.
GROWING: Alfalfa is cultivated in many regions of the world. It is not picky as to soils, prefers full sun, and regular waterings, although it will tolerate dry spells. It is a perennial that grows to 1 to 3 feet tall, depending upon growing conditions.
MEDICINAL: Allspice is used as a paste to soothe and relieve toothache, and as a mouthwash to freshen the breath.
RELIGIOUS: Allspice encourages healing, and is used in mixtures to ask for money and good fortune.
GROWING: Allspice comes from a tree that grows in Central and South America and the Caribbean, and prefers those climates.
Aloe vera, Aloe spp.
MEDICINAL: The gel of the inner part of an aloe leaf is used to treat burns, skin rashes, and insect bites, as well as chafed nipples from breastfeeding, when applied to the affected area externally. Internally it can be used to keep the bowels functioning smoothly, or when there is an impaction, although it can cause intestinal cramping when taken internally, and there are other herbs that do this job better. It aids in healing wounds by drawing out infection, and preventing infection from starting. The fresh gel is best to use, rather than "stabilized" gels found in the stores. The fresh gel was used by Cleopatra to keep her skin soft and young.
RELIGIOUS: Growing an aloe vera plant in the kitchen will help prevent burns and mishaps while cooking. It will also prevent household accidents, and guard against evil. It is reported that aloe was used to embalm the body of Christ.
GROWING: Best grown indoors in pots. Those living in the deep South, as in southern Texas or southern Florida, can grow aloe outdoors. Remember that Aloe is a succulent, not a cactus, so it needs water to keep the leaves fleshy and juicy.
See the article about Aloe Vera in the Articles section of this site.
MEDICINAL: Angelica is a good herbal tea to take for colic, gas, indigestion, hepatitis, and heartburn. It is useful to add in remedies for afflictions of the respiratory system, as well as liver problems and digestive difficulties. Promotes circulation and energy in the body. It is often used to stimulate the circulation in the pelvic region and to stimulate suppressed menstruation. Angelica should not be used by pregnant women or diabetics.
RELIGIOUS: Grow it in your garden as a protection for garden and home. The root is often used as a protective amulet, and has been used to banish evil by burning the leaves. It is also used to lengthen life, and is used in protection against diseases, as well as to ward off evil spirits. Adding it to a ritual bath will break spells and hexes. It has often been used to ward off evil spirits in the home.
GROWING: Angelica needs rich, moist garden soil in partial shade. It prefers wet bottomlands and swamps, and prefers the cooler northern regions to grow best. It is a perennial that can reach up to 6 feet tall.
MEDICINAL: Another good herb for colic, gas, and indigestion. It can also be used in herbal remedies for coughing, as it aids in loosening phlegm. It is the mildest of the herbs used for these purposes.
RELIGIOUS: Anise mixed with bay leaves provides an excellent bath additive prior to ritual. Using anise in potpourri around the house wards off evil, and anise in your sleeping pillow at night will chase away the nightmares. The essential oil is used in ritual baths prior to any divination attempts. It is believed that hanging an anise seed head on your bedpost will restore lost youth.
GROWING: Anise likes warm, sunny areas with well-drained, rich sandy soils. It is suitable for all areas of North America. It is an annual, and grows 1-2 feet high. It needs 120 days to produce fully ripened seed heads.
MEDICINAL: Apples are used to treat constipation. The pectin in fresh apples can help to lower cholesterol levels, an aid in treating heart disease. Crushed apple leaves can be rubbed on a fresh wound to prevent infection.
RELIGIOUS: Apple blossoms are used in love and healing incenses. An apple should be given to a lover as a present - you should eat one half, the lover the other. It is given as an offering on Samhain to the dead, since it is a symbol of immortality. Apple wood is used to make magickal wands. Pouring apple cider on the ground in your garden before you plant gives the earth life.
GROWING: Apple trees grow over most of North America. They need a cool winter period, making them unsuitable for low desert or tropical regions. Check with your local nursery for varieties best suited to your area and growing conditions.
MEDICINAL: Astragalus strengthens metabolism and digestion, raises metabolism, aids in strengthening the immune system, and is used in the healing of wounds and injuries. It is often cooked with broths, rice, or beans for a boost to the healing energies during those illnesses that prevent one from eating normally.
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