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The Secret Names of Magical Herbs and Plants

Updated on January 13, 2015
Nature offers us an abundance of magical plants.
Nature offers us an abundance of magical plants. | Source

People have used herbs and other plants in magic for thousands of years. Plant magic was used for a variety of purposes in many countries. These included spells and rituals, healing teas, creams and other items and self-empowerment and success. The ancient Greeks and Romans used herbs for many purposes such as medicines, cosmetics and talismans. A text dating from around 2800 B.C was found in China that detailed the names and uses of over 360 different plants.

Many plants and herbs are still in common use today as herbal remedies, herbal teas, beauty products and cooking ingredients. Although we live many thousands of years later than the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and in an entirely different society, the healing and magical properties of plants and herbs has not changed and never will. These can still be used in magical ways such as spells and rituals, natural medicines and for protection, good luck or removing negative habits from our lives just as people have being doing throughout time.

Plant and herbal magic have been in use since ancient times.
Plant and herbal magic have been in use since ancient times. | Source

Using Plants in Magic

Many of the plants and herbs that are used in herbal magic are the same as those commonly used in cooking and so will be familiar to most people. Plants such as basil, rosemary, ginger, thyme and allspice can all be used in magic, for example. Common plants such as dandelion and lavender are also useful additions to magical working and healing. These can be grown yourself at home in a herb or vegetable garden as well as in pots, window boxes or other containers or can be purchased in either fresh or dried forms. Several herbs can also be grown indoors along with other plants such as spider plants, cacti and aloe which are all useful in plant magic.

Each plant has its own unique set of properties and strengths that can be used in correspondence with the desires of the work being carried out. Herbs and plants can be used on their own as single ingredients or combined with others. They can also be combined with other items such as candles or crystals or used in teas, bath teas and incense. Magical plants can be left in bowls around the home and other buildings in order to take advantage of their magical properties or if edible can be used in cooking. Anyone eating the foods prepared using these herbs can benefit from their magical properties as well as the flavours and medicinal benefits they possess. One common practice from years gone by that is still in use today, is too carry and small sachet or piece of cloth tied up with string or a ribbon. This is filled with herbs and other items, if you wish that have magical properties that attract or repel certain things from the person. These can be used to attract love or good luck for example or used to protect someone from negative energy.

Other forms of magic, such as candle magic can also be enhanced using plants. This can be done in several ways depending on what you have available and how comfortable you feel with each practice. Corresponding herbs and other plant matter can be sprinkled onto or around the candle you are using in a ritual or spell for example. They can also be used to create your own incense blends that can be burnt to enhance your work. Dried flowers, leaves, whole anise or cinnamon sticks can be added to the outside of candles as well by pressing them into the wax, or by melting it a little so they will stick. This should only be done with larger candles so that there is no risk of the burning flame coming into contact with these additions. If you make your own candles essential oils extracted from herbs can be added to the melted wax. However it is considered to be potentially dangerous to add dried flowers and other plant matter to the wax before setting. Although this looks very pretty there is a risk that the plants could catch alight and present a fire hazard. This is because they are very light and so are likely to float to the top of the wax as the candle burns.

To keep their magic secret witches began using code words to refer to plants.
To keep their magic secret witches began using code words to refer to plants. | Source

A Witches Secret Code

In the past and even today many people do not understand or are fearful of witches and magic. Misunderstandings and misrepresentation have led to much persecution of those who believing in and practice magic. Witches may also have the concern that someone may steal their spells, correspondences lists and other magical ideas and use them for less positive purposes and intents. Because of this witches began to use a code to refer to the ingredients they used. This enabled them to protect their magic. Today some of these code names, such as eye of newt and bat’s wings may be familiar to many people from fairy tales and films. Generally films, stories and video games interpret these items literally and the character are portrayed as having large jars of various strange items and substances or as searching for rare and unusual plants and other ingredients.

In fact these names are only code for simple plants and herbs and not frequently unpleasant ingredients at all. You will not need to be gathering any eyes, blood or wings to perform good and useful herb and plant magic. Below is a list of many of the secret names used by witches along with the plants more common name.

Fairy smoke – Indian pipe

Fairy’s finger – Foxglove

Felon herb – Mugwort

From the foot – Houseleek

From the loins – Chamomile

Holy rope – Common Agrimony

Hundred eyes – Periwinkle

Joy of the mountain – Marjoram

Lion’s hairs – Turnip leaves

Little dragon - Tarragon

Mother’s heart – Shepherd’s purse

Mouse’s tail – Common stonecrop

Priest’s crown – Dandelion

Rabbit’s foot – Field clover

Semen of Hermes – Dill

Squirrel’s ear – White plantain

Star flower - Borage

Toad – Toadflax

Witches wood – Rowan

Wolf’s bane - Arnica

A man’s bile – Turnip sap

Bat’s wings – Holly

Bear’s foot – Lady’s mantle

Blood of Kronos – Cedar

Blood of a Titan – Wild lettuce

Blood from a head – Lupin

Bloody finger – Foxglove

Blood – Elder sap

Bloodwort – Yarrow

Bone of an Ibis – Buckthorn

Bread and cheese - Hawthorn

Bull’s foot – Coltsfoot

Calf’s snout – Snapdragon

Candewick plan – Mullein

Cat’s paw – Ground ivy

Crow’s foot – Geranium

Dew of the sea – Rosemary

Enchanter’s plant – Vervain

Everlasting friendship – Goosegrass

Eye of newt – Mustard seed

Eye of the day – Common daisy

Eyes – Daisy

© 2015 Claire

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    • Karine Gordineer profile image

      Karine Gordineer 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very interesting Hub Claire. I also work with plants primarily medicinally but also magically. Often people don't realize how the two really go together. Some herbalists feel that to truly be an herbalist you need to also know and understand the energetics or "magic" of a plant and I agree. Coming from differing lineages, Native American, Ukrainian, Celtic I see this on different levels. Love working with magical herbalism and teaching! So glad you mentioned about the persecution of witches...so true. Ironically those that would fear and kill them are certainly more violent themselves. Again, thank you for a great hub. Enjoyed your writing style as well.

    • Elderberry Arts profile image
      Author

      Claire 2 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed reading. I totally agree, those who persecute others are often more of a threat themselves but people cannot see it. I am hoping to grow more of my own herbs this year so that I can be around, work with and preserve them for later use.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I am so relieved to find that we do not have to remove Newt Gingrich's eyes to do magic!

      You just got voted up for divulging the most unique information I suspect I will hear all day.

    • Elderberry Arts profile image
      Author

      Claire 2 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      Yes, definitely a relief! Thank you. Hope you have a good day.

    • cherrycrime26 profile image

      January Moon 4 weeks ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      Wonderful Hub, I've been practicing a while now and never knew the secret names, thank you!

    • profile image

      Arnay Rumens 11 days ago

      Claire it was great to read someone who is informed for a change.. I have always known the truth and various names..

      I agree on point regarding persecution of witches, typical though. Great piece of writing and thank you )o( :)

    • Elderberry Arts profile image
      Author

      Claire 9 days ago from Surrey, Uk

      Thank you. Happy to help.

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