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The magical properties and uses of flowers in magic.
The Wood Anemone, or medicinal English Pulsatilla, with its lovely pink white petals, and drooping blossoms, is one of our best known and most beautiful spring flowers. Herbalists do not distinguish it virtually from the silky-haired Anemone Pulsatilla, which medicinal variety is of highly valuable modern curative use as a Herbal Simple. The active chemical principles of each plant are "anemonin" and "anemonic acid."
The Anise Pimpinella, from "bipenella," because of its secondary, feather-like leaflets, belongs to the umbelliferous plants, and is cultivated in our gardens; but its aromatic seeds chiefly come from Germany. The careful housewife will do well always to have a supply of this most useful herbal simple closely bottled in her store cupboard.
The Bennet Herb, the Herba Benedicta, or Blessed Herb, or Avens (Geum Urbanum) is a very common plant of the Rose tribe, in our woods, hedges, and shady places.
It has an erect hairy stem, red at the base, with terminal bright yellow drooping flowers. The ordinary name Avens—or Avance, Anancia, Enancia—signifies an antidote, because it was formerly thought to ward off the Devil, and evil spirits, and venomous beasts.
Added Jun 13, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 6,703 Reads
The bluebell—the Agraphis mutans,—of the Lily tribe—is so abundant in English woods and pastures, whilst so widely known, and popular with young and old, as to need no description.
The Borage, with its gallant blue flower, is cultivated in our gardens as a pot herb, and is associated in our minds with bees and claret cup. It grows wild in abundance on open plains where the soil is favourable, and it has a long-established reputation for cheering the spirits.
The Buttercup generally is known in Wiltshire and the adjoining counties as Crazy, or Crazies, being reckoned by some as an insane plant calculated to produce madness; or as a corruption of Christseye (which was the medieval name of the Marigold).
The name Caraway comes from the Gaelic Caroh, a ship, because of the shape which the fruit takes. By cultivation the root becomes more succulent, and the fruit larger, whilst more oily, and therefore acquiring an increase of aromatic taste and odour.
Added Jun 17, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 4,365 Reads
The celandine flower is a conspicuous herald of spring, which is strikingly welcome to everyone living in the country throughout England, and a stranger to none. The Pilewort, or lesser Celandine, bespangles all our banks with its brilliant, glossy, golden stars, coming into blossom on or about March 7th, St. Perpetua's day.
Of all the bitter appetising herbs which grow in our fields and hedgerows, and which serve as excellent simple tonics, the Centaury, particularly its white flowered variety, belonging to the Gentian order of plants, is the most efficacious. Centaury shares in an abundant measure the restorative antiseptic virtues of the Field Gentian and the Buckbean
No Simple in the whole catalogue of herbal medicines is possessed of a quality more friendly and beneficial to the intestines than "Chamomile flowers." This herb was well known to the Greeks, who thought it had an odour like that of apples, and therefore they named it "Earth Apple," from two of their words, kamai—on the ground, and melon—an apple.
The Christmas Rose or Black Hellebore, a native of Southern Europe, and belonging to the Ranunculus order, is grown commonly in our gardens for the sake of its showy white flowers, conspicuous in winter, from December to February. The root has been famous since time immemorial as a remedy for insanity. From its abundant growth in the Grecian island of Anticyra arose the proverb: Naviget Anticyram—"Take a voyage to Anticyra," as applied by way of advice to a man who has lost his reason.
The word clover is a corruption of the Latin clava a club; and the "clubs" on our playing cards are representations of clover leaves; whilst in France the same black suit is called trefle.
The Coltsfoot, which grows abundantly throughout England in places of moist, heavy soil, especially along the sides of our raised railway banks, has been justly termed "nature's best herb for the lungs, and her most eminent thoracic."
Added Jul 3, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 5,934 Reads
The tiny people were then supposed to be fond of nestling in the drooping bells of Cowslips, and hence the flowers were called fairy cups; and, in accordance with the doctrine of signatures, they were thought effective for removing freckles from the face.
The ancients were acquainted with the power of Cumin to cause the human countenance to become pallid; and as a medicine the herb is well calculated to cure such pallor of the face when occurring as an illness.
Added Jul 3, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 4,753 Reads
The chemical principles of the Daffodil have not been investigated; but a yellow volatile oil of disagreeable odour, and a brown colouring matter, have been got from the flowers.
Arabians commended this oil to be applied for curing baldness, and for stimulating the sexual organs.
Added Jul 11, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 3,576 Reads
Daisies were said of old to be under the dominion of Venus, and later on they were dedicated to St. Margaret of Cortona. Therefore they were reputed good for the special-illnesses of females.
The medicinal tincture of Dandelion is made from the entire plant, gathered in summer, employing proof spirit which dissolves also the resinous parts not soluble in water. From ten to fifteen drops of this tincture may be taken with a spoonful of water three times in the day.
Elecampane is a tall, stout, downy plant, from three to five feet high, of the Composite order, with broad leaves, and bright, yellow flowers. Campania is the original source of the plant (Enula campana), which is called also Elf-wort, and Elf-dock.
Found in abundance in summer time on our heaths, and on mountains near the sea, this delicate little plant, the Euphrasia officinalis or eyebright, has been famous from earliest times for restoring and preserving the eyesight. The Greeks named the herb originally from the linnet, which first made use of the leaf for clearing its vision, and which passed on the knowledge to mankind. The Greek word, euphrosunee, signifies joy and gladness.
The herb Feverfew is strengthening to the stomach, preventing hysteria and promoting the monthly functions of women. It is much used by country mediciners, though insufficiently esteemed by the doctors of to-day.
Added Jul 11, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 2,509 Reads
The root of the Blue Flag, "Dragon Flower," or "Dagger Flower," contains chemically an "oleo-resin," which is purgative to the liver in material doses, and specially alleviative against bilious sickness when taken of much reduced strength by reason of its acting as a similar.
The Flax seeds ate very rich in linseed oil, after expressing which, the refuse is oil-cake, a well-known fattening food for cattle. The oil exists chiefly in the outer skins of the seeds, and is easily extracted by boiling water, as in the making a linseed poultice.
Added Jul 11, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 3,166 Reads
Chemically, the Foxglove contains a dangerous, active, medicinal principle digitalin, which acts powerfully on the heart, and on the kidneys, but this should never be given in any preparation of the plant except under medical guidance, and then only with much caution.
"These, the Henbane seeds, and the juice," says Gerard, "when taken internally, cause an unquiet sleep, like unto the sleep of drunkenness, which continueth long, and is deadly to the patient."
The cultivated Hyssop, now of frequent occurrence in the herb-bed, and a favourite plant there because of its fragrance, belongs to the labiate order,
Added Sep 9, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 2,975 Reads
The Lily of the Valley grows wild in many of our English woods, and possesses special curative virtues, which give it, according to modern knowledge, a just place among Herbal Simples of repute.
Added Sep 9, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 2,797 Reads
Allied to the Lentil as likewise a leguminous plant is the LUPINE, grown now only as an ornament to our flower beds, but formerly cultivated by the Romans as an article of food, and still capable of usefulness in this capacity for the invalid.
Added Sep 9, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 4,091 Reads
In the Grete Herball this plant was called Mary Gowles. Three varieties of the Marigold exercise medicinal virtues which constitute them Herbal Simples of a useful nature—the Corn Marigold (Chrysanthemum segetum), found in our cornfields; the cultivated garden Marigold (Calendula officinalis); and the Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris), growing in moist grass lands, and popularly known as "Mareblobs."
Added Sep 19, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 2,892 Reads
Flowers of Mullein in olive oil, when kept near the fire for several days in a corked bottle, form a remedy popular in Germany for frost-bites, bruises, and piles.
Added Sep 29, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 4,079 Reads
Our common English Orchids are the "Early Purple," which is abundant in our woods and pastures; the "Meadow Orchis"; and the "Spotted Orchis" of our heaths and commons. Less frequent are the "Bee Orchis," the "Butterfly Orchis," "Lady's Tresses," and the "Tway blade."
This periwinkle name has been derived either from pervincire, to bind closely, or from pervincere, to overcome. Lord Bacon observes that it was common in his time for persons to wear bands of green Periwinkle about the calf of the leg to prevent cramp.
In Germany this plant is the emblem of immortality.
The Pimpernel - "Poor Man's Weather Glass" or "Shepherd's Dial," is a very well-known and favourite little flower, of brilliant scarlet hue, expanding only in bright weather, and closing its petals at two o'clock in the day.
Added Oct 29, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 2,721 Reads
The Clove Pink, or Carnation of our gardens, though found apparently wild on old castle walls in England, is a naturalised flower in this country. It is, botanically, the Dianthus Caryophyllus, being so named as anthos, the flower, dios, of Jupiter: whilst redolent of Caryophylli, Cloves.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 3,818 Reads
The Scarlet Poppy of our cornfields (Papaver Rhoeas) is one of the most brilliant and familiar of English wild flowers, being strikingly conspicuous as a weed by its blossoms rich in scarlet petals, which are black at the base. The title Papaver has been derived from pap, a soft food given to young infants, in which it was at one time customary to boil Poppy seeds for the purpose of inducing sleep.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 3,550 Reads
Medicinally the primrose possesses similar curative attributes, though in a lesser degree, to those of the Cowslip. Both the root and the flowers contain a volatile oil, and "primulin" which is identical with mannite: whilst the acrid principle is "saponin." Alfred Austin, Poet Laureate, teaches to "make healing salve with early Primroses."
The term Ragwort, or Ragweed, is a corruption of Ragewort, as expressing its supposed stimulating effects on the sexual organs. For the same reason the pommes d'amour (Love Apples, or Tomatoes) are sometimes called Rage apples.
Certain curative properties are possessed both by the Briar Rose, or wild Dog Rose of our country hedges, and by the cultivated varieties of this queen of flowers in our Roseries. The word Rose means red, from the Greek rodon, connected also with rota, a wheel, which resembles the outline of a Rose.
This herb was further termed of old "Herb of Grace" as well as "Serving men's joy," because of the multiplicity of common ailments which it was warranted to cure. Rue constituted a chief ingredient of the famous antidote of Mithridates to poisons, the formula of which was found by Pompey in the satchel of the conquered King.
The fabled origin of the Saffron plant ran thus. A certain young man named Crocus went to play at quoits in a field with Mercurie, when the quoit of his companion happened by misfortune to hit him on the head, whereby, before long, he died, to the great sorrow of his friends. Finally, in the place where he had bled, Saffron was found to be growing: whereupon, the people, seeing the colour of the chine as it stood, adjusted it to come of the blood of Crocus, and therefore they gave it his name.
Several Herbal Simples go by the name of Selfheal among our wild hedge plants, more especially the Sanicle, the common Prunella, and the Bugle.
The small Shepherd's Purse (Bursa Capsella Pastoris) is one of the most common of wayside English weeds. The name Capsella signifies a little box, in allusion to the seed pods. It is a Cruciferous plant, made familiar by the diminutive pouches, or flattened pods at the end of its branching stems.
Country folk often call it Cramp Weed: but it is more generally known as Goose Tansy, or Goose Gray, because it is a spurious Tansy, fit only for a goose; or, perhaps, because eaten by geese. Other names for the herb are Silvery Cinquefoil, and Moorgrass. It occurs especially on clay soils, being recognised by its pinnate white silvery leaves, and its conspicuous golden flowers.
A useful medicinal tincture (H.) is made from the Skullcap (Scutellaria), which is a Labiate plant of frequent growth on the banks of our rivers and ponds, having bright blue flowers, with a tube longer than the calyx.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 4,052 Reads
Snake Root, Echinacea or Purple Coneflower is a North American perennial that is indigenous to the central plains where it grows on road banks, prairies, fields and in dry, open woods; it belongs to the Aster, or Daisy family. It is called snake root because it grows from a thick black root that Indians used to treat snake bites.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 3,509 Reads
The Soapworth root has a sweetish bitter taste, but no odour. It contains resin and mucilage, in addition to saponin, which is its leading principle, and by virtue of which decoctions of the root produce a soapy froth. A similar soapy quality is also observed in the leaves, so much so that they have been used by mendicant monks as a substitute for soap in washing their clothes.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 3,644 Reads
The Arabs understand by Solomon's Seal the figure of a six-pointed star, formed by two equilateral triangles intersecting each other, as frequently mentioned in Oriental tales. Gerard maintains that the name, Sigillum Solomunis, was given to the root "partly because it bears marks something like the stamp of a seal, but still more because of the virtue the root hath in sealing or healing up green wounds, broken bones, and such like, being stamp't and laid thereon."
Added Dec 15, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 4,429 Reads
This little plant, with its exquisite flowers of celestial blue, grows most familiarly in our hedgerows throughout the Spring, and early Summer. Its brilliant, gemlike blossoms show a border of pale purple, or delicate violet, marked with deeper veins or streaks. But the lovely circlet of petals is most fragile, and falls off at a touch; whence are derived the names Speedwell, Farewell, Good-bye, and Forget-me-not.
The name Hypericum is derived from the two Greek words, huper eikon, "over an apparition," because of its supposed power to exorcise evil spirits, or influences; whence it was also formerly called Fuga doemoniorum, "the Devil's Scourge," "the Grace of God," "the Lord God's Wonder Plant." and some other names of a like import, probably too, because found to be of curative use against insanity.
Added Dec 16, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 3,199 Reads
The Wild Succory (Cichorium intybus) is a common roadside English plant, white or blue, belonging to the Composite order, and called also Turnsole, because it always turns its flowers towards the sun.
Added Dec 16, 2010 | Healing Flowers | 3,446 Reads
Golden Sunflowers are introduced at Rheims into the stained glass of an Apse window in the church of St. Remi, with the Virgin and St. John on either side of the Cross, the head of each being encircled with an aureole having a Sunflower inserted in its outer circle. The flowers are turned towards the Saviour on the Cross as towards their true Sun.
Added Jan 9, 2011 | Healing Flowers | 3,314 Reads
The name Tansy is probably derived from the Greek word Athanasia which signifies immortality, either because it lasts so long in flower, or because it is so capital for preserving dead bodies from corruption. Tansy was said to have been given to Ganymede to make him immortal.
Added Jan 9, 2011 | Healing Flowers | 5,018 Reads
As a class Thistles have been held sacred to Thor, because, say the old authors, receiving their bright colours from the lightning, and because protecting those who cultivate them from its destructive effects.
When used externally an infusion of Toadflax acts as an anodyne to subdue irritation of the skin, and it may be taken as a medicine to modify skin diseases. The fresh juice is attractive to flies, but at the same time it serves to poison them: so if it be mixed with milk, and placed where flies resort they will drink it and perish at the first sip.
A decoction of Tormentil makes a capital gargle, and will heal ulcers of the mouth if used as a wash. If a piece of lint soaked therein be kept applied to warts, they will wither and disappear.
The Druids gathered Verbena with as much reverence as they paid to the Mistletoe. It was dedicated to Isis, the goddess of birth, and formed a famous ingredient in love philtres. Pliny saith: "They report that if the dining chamber be sprinkled with water in which the herb Verbena has been steeped, the guests will be the merrier."
Added Mar 5, 2011 | Healing Flowers | 4,566 Reads
Also, the Sweet Violet is thought to possess admirable virtues as a cosmetic. Lightfoot gives a translation from a Highland recipe in Gaelic, for its use in this capacity, rendered thus: "Anoint thy face with goat's milk in which violets have been infused, and there is not a young prince upon earth who will not be charmed with thy beauty."
The Viper's Bugloss is called botanically Echium, having been formerly considered antidotal to the bite of (Echis) a viper: and its seed was thought to resemble the reptile's head:
Added Mar 5, 2011 | Healing Flowers | 2,762 Reads
There are two varieties of the cultivated Wallflower, the Yellow and the Red; those of a deep colour growing on old rockeries and similar places, are often termed Bloody Warriors, and Bleeding Heart. The double Wallflower has been produced for more than two centuries. If the flowers are steeped in oil for some weeks, they contribute thereto a stimulating warming property useful for friction to limbs which are rheumatic, or neuralgic.
In olden days the Monks named this pretty little woodland plant Alleluia, because it blossoms between Easter and Whitsuntide, when the Psalms--from the 113th to the 117th, inclusive--which end with the aspiration, "Hallelujah!" were sung.
Its terminal syllable, "ruff," is derived from rofe, a wheel,--with the diminutive rouelle, a little wheel or rowel, like that of an ancient spur,--which the verticillate leaves of this Woodruff herb closely resemble. They serve to remind us also of good Queen Bess, and of the high, starched, old-fashioned ruff which she is shown to wear in her portraits.
Elspeth Reoch, in 1616, when tried for witchcraft, acknowledged to having employed the Yarrow in her incantations. She "plucked one herbe sitting on her right knee, and pulling it betwixt the mid-finger and thumbe, and saying: In nominee Patris, Filii, et Spiritus Sancti."
By the yarrow plant so gathered, she was enabled to cure distempers, and to impart the faculty of prediction.
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