Valerian - (Valeriana officinalis) Folk Names: All-Heal, Amantilla, Bloody Butcher, Capon’s Trailer, Cat’s Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, Phu, Red Valerian, St. George’s Herb, Sete Wale, Set Well, Vandal Root|
One of natures most effective herbal tranquilizers. The roots are used for nervous tension, anxiety and insomnia. Attractive to cats and rats. According to legend, the Pied Piper of Hamelin coaxed the rats to follow him not with his magick pipe, but by placing dried roots of valerian in his pockets. Powdered valerian may be used as a substitute for graveyard dust to repel unwanted presences.
Herbal Uses: A powerful root for the nerves, valerian should not be taken for longer than a few weeks, as it can become addictive. It helps cure depression when taken once or twice. Caution: Valerian produces depression when taken over a longer period. It is a good sedative for such conditions as neuralgia, hypochondria, insomnia, and nervous tension. The tea is strengthening to the eyesight, especially when problems are due to weakness in the optic nerve. Valerian has been used as an anticonvulsant in epilepsy. It slightly slows the heart and thus is a good remedy for palpitations. Simmer two teaspoons of the root in a pint of water for twenty minutes, and take one-fourth cup, cold, four times a day. The tincture may be taken twenty drops in water, three times a day. The root is simmered with licorice, raisins, and anise seeds to make a cough sedative. The scent is very attractive to rats and is used to bait traps. Valerian is a warm and spicy herb that has a stimulating effect on the brain as well as being a sedative. If a person has a hot constitution it will be especially stimulating and may negate the calming and sedative quality. A hot constitution is one that is prone to constipation, dryness, redness in the eyes and skin and a warm body temperature (a cold constitution has the opposite qualities). Caution: Valerian is best suited to individuals with cold, nervous conditions. Those with heated conditions can experience opposite (stimulant) effects.
Homeopathic Uses: Homeopath use valerian for hysteria, hysterical spasms, hysterical flatulence, hallucinations at night, earache from exposure to cold, sciatica, jerking of the extremities, and long-lasting fevers, and also for children’s afflictions, such as the vomiting of curdled milk, diarrhea with lumps of coagulated milk, and much screaming.
Magickal Uses: Valerian is added to the chalice as an herb of peace. It is used to aspurge the ritual space and in incense for purification. Even though this is a rather foul smelling herb it is hung in the home as protection from lightning and the Greeks used sprigs of it at windows to keep evil out. Being an herb of peace, place some in the vicinity of a quarreling couple. Add it to love sachets and it is said if a woman wears a sprig of it, it will cause men to “follow her like children.” It will also help insomnia by placing it in the pillow.
Vanilla - (Vanilla aromatica or V. planifolia)
Magickal Uses: This herb is a type of fermented orchid. Both the scent and taste are considered lust inducing, so add it to love sachets. To infuse sugar with the loving vibrations of vanilla, place a bean in a bowl of sugar. Then use the sugar to sweeten your beloved’s food. Wearing the oil will bring love. Carried, the bean gives energy and enhances the mind.
Venus’ Flytrap - (Dionaea muscipula)
Magickal Uses: An interesting herb of Venus. It is used for both its protective and love attracting qualities.
Vervain - (Verbena officinalis, V. hastata) Folk Names: Brittanica, Enchanter’s Plant, Herba Sacra, Herb of Enchantment, Herb of Grace, Herb of the Cross, Holy Herb, Juno’s Tears, Pigeon’s Grass, Pigeonwood, Simpler’s Joy, Van-Van, Verbena, Vervan
A very historic herb. Vervain was revered in Celtic and Germanic cultures, used by the Druids in the lustral water, and held sacred by the Romans. Vervain has long been associated with sorcerers and witches, bestowing them magickal powers, and is also called “Herb of the Cross”, or Herba Sacra, for it is thought to have been used to heal Christ’s wounds. Reputed to be an aphrodisiac and to “heal holes in the aura.” A perennial herb found in Europe, North Africa, China, and Japan. (Verbena hastate, the blue vervain, is a native of the Americas.) The plant has opposite leaves with toothed lobes; a stiff, quadrangular stem; and white or lilac flowers that appear June to October. The flowers grow on slender spikes and are without scent.
Herbal Uses: “Vervain” is a derivative of the Celtic fer (to drive away) and faen (stone), given to it because of its ability to purge calculi (gravel) from the bladder. A tea of the herb helps to increase breast milk and is helpful in lowering fever, especially of the intermittent type. It will benefit eczema and other skin eruptions, as it is a kidney and liver cleanser. Jaundice, whooping cough, edema, mastitis, and headaches fall under its sphere. To make the tea, steep one teaspoon of the herb per cup of water for twenty minutes. A tincture may also be used; the dose is twenty to forty drops in water as needed. Externally, vervain is used in poultices for ear infections, rheumatism, and wounds. Vervain is an emmenagogue (brings down the menses) and soothes the nerves. It is reputed to have aphrodisiac properties. It is a powerful lymphatic detoxifier and has a cleansing effect on the female organs. Blue vervain (V. hastate), the American variety, is a natural tranquilizer and is helpful with colds and fevers, especially when the upper respiratory tract is involved. It will eliminate intestinal worms and is used externally for wounds. It is distinguished from the European vervain by its deeper blue flowers and denser, bristly flower spikes. Blue vervain is also prepared in a standard infusion or tincture in alcohol.
Homeopathic Uses: Homeopaths use Verbena (blue vervain) for conditions involving the skin and the nervous system. The tincture has been used as a remedy for poison oak. Epilepsy, insomnia, constipation, and mental exhaustion are helped by it. In cases involving epilepsy, the tincture should be taken for prolonged periods of time.
Magickal Uses: Vervain is a profoundly magickal herb belonging to the sphere of Venus. White vervain is the most magickal. A powerful herb of blessing and consecration when used to ritually “sweep” the altar or burned as incense. Roman priests and priestess used it as an altar plant—it was tied in bundles and used to ritually “sweep” and purify the altar. Druids place it in water that is sprinkled on worshipers as a blessing. Vervain is carried or worn to bring love and protection. It is used in the ritual bath and is scattered to bring peace and calm the emotions. Anoint your body with its juice to aid in wish manifestations of all kinds. Place some in the chalice. Any part of the plant may be carried as an amulet. Vervain is traditionally gathered at Midsummer or at the rising of the Dog Star when neither sun nor moon is in the sky, just before flowering. It is taken from the earth with the sacred sickle and raised aloft in the left hand. After prayers of thanksgiving are spoken, the Druid or Druidess leaves a gift of honey to recompense the earth for her loss. It is a sacred herb of purification an d exorcism. Vervain was once infused in wine and worn on the body to ward off the stings of insects and serpents. It is used in the bath as a protection from enchantments and to make dreams come true. Wearing or bathing in vervain places one under the influence of Diana. After washing your hands in the infusion, it will be possible to engender love in the one you touch and to turn enemies into friends. To dispel fears, light a candle daily and surround it with vervain. Speak aloud a prayer to the Gods and Goddesses asking for release from your fear. Do this as long as necessary. On the night of the full moon, go outside with a chalice filled with water, vervain, and salt. Take also a candle and a piece of petrified wood. Dip the stone into the water mixture and then pass it through the candle flame. Touch the stone to your feet, hands, shoulders, and head. As you do this ask for the blessings of youth and beauty. Repeat the process seven times. Vervain is worn as a crown during Druidic initiatory rites and as a protection for those who are working magick. It is sprinkled throughout the home or ritual area and burned as incense as a protection and to bring peace. Keep some in the bedroom to bring tranquil dreams. Keep it in the home to attract wealth and to keep plants healthy. Sprinkle some on the garden as an offering to the elementals and other nature spirits. Drinking the juice of fresh vervain is said to cut sexual desire. Ancient instructions instruct that to remain chaste for seven years, rise before the sun on the first day of the New Moon and gather the vervain until the sun rises. Then press out its juice and drink. Burn it to banish the pangs of unrequited love. Vervain is worn to recover stolen articles. Tucked into a child’s cradle, the plant brings joy and a lively intellect.
Vetch, Giant - (Vicia spp.)
Magickal Uses: Use vetch in love spells such as this one. To keep you on the mind of your beloved, rub the root one your body, then wrap it in a white cloth and place it in your pillow.
Vetivert - (Vetiveria zizanioides) Folk Names: Khus-Khus, Vetiver
Magickal Uses: Vetivert is used for spells to break hexes, bring love, luck, money and as protection from thieves. Use it as incense to overcome evil, prevent theft, and to bring love. Add it to love powders and sachets, use the sachet in the bath to attract love. Add also to mixtures designed to draw money and place in the cash draw to increase business.
Vick’s Plant - (Plectranthus purpuratus)
Aptly named, the round, thick, succulent leaves smell just like the chest cold remedy, and is used for the same purpose. Mexicans know it as Menthilato, and use it externally for colds and congestion.
Violet - (Viola odorata) Folk Names: Blue Violet, Sweet Violet
The violet of song and story. The delightfully sweet scented, purple flowers of Sweet Violet are an old garden favorite. Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare mentioned sweet violets frequently. The candied blooms are a delicacy, and an elegant addition to a salad. The blooms are an important ingredient of May Wine, and are often frozen inside ice cubes as a charming addition to a summer drink. The leaves of sweet violets, rich in vitamin C, make a healthy addition to a salad.
Herbal Uses: The whole plant is used, fresh or dried. The leaves can be eaten as a type of wild spinach, and the flowers are used in salads and desserts. High in iron, the fresh leaf is used internally and externally for cancer, especially of the colon, throat, and tongue. For this purpose, the fresh leaves should be infused daily and taken as tea; using one teaspoon of plant parts to a half a cup of water, steep and take a quarter cup four times a day. The tea can be applied externally as a fomentation. The flowers are laxative; the roots and stems are emetic and purgative. The fresh leaves are used in salves and poultices.
Homeopathic Uses: Homeopaths use Viola odorata for right-sided complaints, especially burning of the forehead, tension of the scalp and ears, headache across the forehead, discharge from the ears, labored breathing during pregnancy, milky urine, and pressing pain in the joints of the wrist and hand.
Magickal Uses: Violets are an herb of love and protection. Violet crowns (chaplets) are said to cure headaches, dizziness, bring sleep, and calm anger. Violets are mixed with lavender, apple blossoms, yarrow and roses in love potions. The leaf is protective from all evil. Violets and periwinkle are used to decorate the graves and corpses of children. Custom says that if you pick the first violet of spring your dearest wish will be granted.