Wahoo - (Euonymus atropurpuraea) PoisonFolk Names: Burning Bush, Indian Arrow Wood, Spindle Tree|
Magickal Uses: An herb of strength and courage. It brings success when carried. To break hexes and curses, make an infusion of the bark. When cooled, anoint the forehead while chanting the word “wahoo” seven times.
Walnut - (Juglans regia) Folk Names: Carya, Caucasian Walnut, English Walnut, Tree of Evil, Walnoot
In Italy, dancing beneath the walnut was said to be part of secret rites.
Magickal Uses: The nut from this tree is used for magickal operations. They are carried to help ease rheumatism and to strengthen the heart. Worn in a hat they relieve headaches and prevent sunstroke. They are also said to attract lightning. Your wishes will all come to pass if someone gives you a bag of walnuts. Legend has it, that if a bride wishes to remain childless for a time after the wedding she should place walnuts in her bodice. One for each year.
Watercress - ( Nasturtium officinale)
Native Americans used to keep track of patches of watercress, and in the winter, when the ice covered the streams, they would break through to get the fresh, green plants. This was a way to get fresh greens and vitamins in the deepest winter.
Magickal Uses: A Moon ruled herb.
Water Horehound - (Lycopus europaeus) Folk Names: Gypsyweed
A plant that was once used to dye wool black, water horehound flowers by stream banks throughout Europe from July to September. It attains a height of about two feet and has pointed, toothed leaves and small, pinkish flowers that grow in the axils of the higher leaves.
Herbal Uses: This plant was used as an astringent and as a sedative. Because little information is available regarding it use, it may be best understood through an examination of a related plant, Lycopus virginicus, which is common in the United States. Known as bugleweed, it has a perennial, creeping root, a quadrangular square stem, and attains a height of up to twenty-four inches. It bears opposite leaves, which are lanceolate and toothed, the lower leaves being more wedge-shaped. The flowers grow in the leaf axils with four lobed purplish corollas. As a sedative, astringent, and mild narcotic, bugleweed has been used to soothe coughs and bleeding from the lungs (as from tuberculosis). It is best when used fresh or freshly tinctured in alcohol, not dried. The fresh herb is steeped using two teaspoons of herb per cup of water for twenty minutes. For the tincture, the dose is ten to thirty drops, three or four times a day. A Chinese species (L. lucidus) also grows in marshy and damp environments and is used for menstrual and urinary problems (it is emmenagogic and diuretic). It is used externally in liniments for cardiac problems but should be avoided in pregnancy. In vivo research (live animal studies) in 1985 have shown that water horehound, bugleweed, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), and stoneseed (Lithospermum officinalis) exhibit antithyrotropic activity and inhibit the biological activity of Grave’s disease, a condition that involves an enlarged thyroid, rapid pulse, and increased metabolism. Traditional herbalists, treating hyperthyroidism, have used these plants for untold generations.
Homeopathic Uses: Homeopaths use Lycopus virginicus to lower blood pressure and for valvular heart disease, heart palpitations, passive hemorrhages, and toxic goiter. Urinary symptoms for which it is beneficial include a profuse quantity of watery urine, the sensation of a distended bladder even when empty, and testicular pain. It has been found useful in diabetes. Indications include wakefulness and “morbid vigilance” that prevents sleep.
Magickal Uses: The flowers and leaves of both water horehound and bugleweed are offered to deities in the form of incense and garlands.
Water Pimpernel - See Brooklime
Wax Plant - (Hoya carnosa) Folk Names: Pentagram Flowers, Pentagram Plant
Magickal Uses: This is an herb of protection. Use the star-shaped dried flowers as amulets. To give an extra boost to spells keep some on the altar.
Wheat - (Triticum spp.)
Magickal Uses: Wheat is a symbol of prosperity, fertility, and fruitfulness. The sheaves attract money and the grains, when used in sachets bring prosperity. Incorporate into spells for fertility and conception.
Wild Basil - (Calamintha clinopodium) See also Basil
This wild variety of basil is common in England and Scotland and rare in Ireland. The plant attains a height of about a foot and has opposite egg-shaped leaves on a square stem. The stem and leaves are slightly hairy. The flowers are pink and spring from the bases of the leaf stalks. Wild basil favors dry edges in higher elevations.
Herbal Uses: According to Grieve, wild basil is rich in aromatic oils and resembles thyme and calamint in its action. As information on the ancient uses of wild basil is scarce, an overview of calamint, thyme and basil thyme will be given here as an aid to understanding the action of wild basil.
Homeopathic Uses: Homeopaths use hymus seryllum in tincture for children’s chest complaints, asthma of the nervous type, and whooping cough with ringing ears and a burning sore throat.
Magickal Uses: Basil is a traditional herb of protection under the domination of Mars. it is soaked in water for three days and sprinkled in entrance ways to repel thieves. It will attract customers to a place of business. Basil leaves left exposed in a room will dispel melancholy and bring joy. It is rubbed on the skin or carried for protection in crowds. Basil is a classic herb for couples, as it tends to mend quarrels. Add it to power bundles and love spells. Sprinkle it over a sleeping loved one to ensure their fidelity. Use basil in the ritual bath and in incense for purification. It brings courage and eases transitions in rites of initiation. Basil is a holy herb of the Hindu tradition, sacred to Vishnu.
Willow - (Salix alba) Folk Names: Osier, Pussy Willow, Saille, Salicyn Willow, Saugh Tree, Tree of Enchantment, White Willow, Witches’ Aspirin, With, Withy
Willows are commonly found near ancient Celtic burial sites which where often lined with willow. The willow is a guardian tree, said to protect from evil influences. The willow tree has a healing aura that blesses all it touches.
Herbal Uses: Balck willow (S. nigra) bark is used to treat gonorrhea and ovarian pain. The white willow (S. alba) contains salicin, the active constituent from which aspirin was first synthesized. White willow bark is used for rheumatic complaints, arthritis, and headaches as well as diarrhea and dysentery. Fevers, edema, and the aftereffects of worms are treated with willow bark. To make the tea, steep three teaspoons of the bark in one cup of cold water for two to five hours, boil for one minute, and strain. Willow is also available as a powder. The dose is one teaspoon, three times a day in tea or capsules. The tincture can be taken in ten- to twenty-drop doses four times a day.
Homeopathic Uses: Homeopaths use Salix nigra for gonorrhea, ovarian pain, bleeding uterine fibroids, painful testicles, blocked menstruation, and back pain. The remedy is also useful in mental conditions: hysteria, nervousness, and excessive sexual passion.
Magickal Uses: The old phrase “knock on wood” comes from the custom of knocking on the wood of the willow to advert evil. All parts of the tree may be used as a protectant against evil. The wood is also used for wands that are dedicated to Moon magick. The besom is traditionally bound with willow branches. The leaves and bark are used in spells designed for love, healing and necromancy. Carry the leaves or add to love mixtures to attract love. Mix crushed willow bark and sandalwood and burn under the waning Moon for necromancy rites. It is said that to know whether you will be married within the new year, the willow tree can tell you. On New Years Eve throw your shoe into the tree (you have nine throws total). If it gets caught on any of those nine throws then you will be married within the next twelve months.
Wintergreen - (Gaultheria procumbens) Folk Names: Checkerberry, Mountain Tea, Teaberry
Magickal Uses: Wintergreen is a healing and protective herb. Mixed with mint and sprinkled around the home it breaks hexes and curses. To protect children, place some in their pillows. It will also bring them good fortune all their lives. Add to healing spells and use on the altar to bring forth good spirits to aid in your operations.
Winter’s Bark - (Drimys winteri) Folk Names: True Winter’s Bark,
…...….....…...…...(Wintera aromatica) Folk Names: Winter’s Cinnamon
Magickal Uses: This herb ensures success when carried or burned.
Witch Grass - (Agropyron repens) Folk Names: Couch Grass, Dog Grass, Quick Grass, Witches Grass
Magickal Uses: This herb can be an important ingredient in all types of uncrossing rituals. Use the infusion to dispel negative entities or depression. The plant itself may be carried or sprinkled under the bed to draw new lovers.
Witch Hazel - (Hamamelis virginica) Folk Names: Snapping Hazelnut, Spotted Alder, Winterbloom
Magickal Uses: The traditional wood of the divining rod. A protective herb and when carried it is said to help in the mending of a broken heart and will cool passion.
Woad - (Isatis tinctoria) From southern and western Europe to Sweden and west Asia, woad (from the Anglo-Saxon Wad) was once commonly used as a dye. Julius Caesar records that the Celts used it to paint their bodies blue when they went naked to their rituals. The plant grows to about three feet in height and has long, bluish-green leaves that branch out, small yellow flowers, and black seeds. It flowers from June to September and produces a single white root.
Herbal Uses: According to Culpeper, woad was used to poultice the area of the spleen when there was pain in that region. A poultice is generally made by mashing the green herb or soaking the dried herb in hot water until soft and adding slippery elm powder or buckwheat flower to make a paste. Woad was simmered into salves for weeping ulcers and to stop bleeding. The leaf produces a blue color in wool that has been mordanted with alum and potassium carbonate. Now, why would my ancestors paint themselves blue? This custom may have been merely symbolic or of religious significance—or perhaps it had a more practical application. I am inclined to believe that several thousand years ago people were about as intelligent as they are today (or perhaps more so) and that they tend to nurture customs that had survival value. According to one scientific study, tryptanthrin—an anti-microbial substance that is effective against dermatophytes (funguses that cause skin diseases such as ringworm)—has been isolated from Polygonum tinctorium, a Japanese variety of indigo, and from Isatis tinctoria, woad. Japanese indigo is a plant used to dye cloth blue, and it is anti-fungal. It has traditionally been used to cure T. mentagrophytes, athletes’ foot. Woad also tests positive for anti-fungal activity against T. mentagrophytes. While there is no record or evidence of its use as an anti-fungal, it could easily have been used as one. Imagine what life was like in the damp, misty isles of northern Europe, and you can see how useful this practice of painting the body with woad would have been.
Magickal Uses: Woad belongs to Mars and Jupiter. The ancient Celts and Picts cut (tattoo) magickal designs into their bodies and rubbed in the blue coloring. You may simply prefer to paint it on for ceremonial purposes.
Wolf’s Bane - (Aconitum napellus) Poison Folk Names: Aconite, Cupid’s Car, Dumbledore’s Delight, Leopard’s Bane, Monkshood, Storm Hat, Thor’s Hat, Wolf’s Hat, Badgersbane
Herbal Uses: See Aconite
Homeopathic Uses: See Aconite
Magickal Uses: This herb brings protection from werewolves and vampires. A classic component of flying ointments, which generally also contained henbane, belladonna, hemlock, and soot. Wrapping the seed in lizard skin and carrying it with you obtained invisibility. Without the blessings of the angel of death, no new life would be possible, and so we honor death and the dead by burning wolf’s bane as funeral incense and by planting it on a loved one’s grave. Do not eat or rub any part of this plant on the skin; it is violently poisonous.
A Saturn herb and a classic of garden witchcraft. Sacred to Hekate.
Wolf's Bane is sometimes associated with Mars because of the helmet-like shape of its flowers, although Cornelius Agrippa said that the Mars association came from the fact that it poisons by reason of too much heat (which is a Mars characteristic).
Wolf’s Bane apparently can be used to reverse shape-shifting spells and has a folk tradition of protecting homes against werewolves. There was also the belief that witches dipped flints in the juice of Wolf’s Bane (a very dangerous endeavor in itself) and then threw them at an enemy; such flints were called elf-bolts. One scratch was enough to kill, and that is not folklore.
One of the baneful herbs, Wolf’s Bane grows naturally in damp woods in the Alps, where it is a threatened species, and produces sulfur-yellow flowers between June and August. The higher the elevation, the more flowers this plant will get and the longer they will last. It got the name " Wolf’s Bane " because ancient Germans used it to poison wolves. Bumblebees like this plant because the flower's shape and color says, "come on in!" to them.
Woodbine - See Honeysuckle
Wood Rose - (Ipomoea tuberosa) Folk Names: Ceylon Morning Glory, Frozen Roses, Spanish Arbor Vine
Magickal Uses: The “roses’ bring luck when kept in the home or carried.
Woodruff - (Galium odoratum, Asperula odorata) Folk Names: Herb Walter, Master of the Woods, Sweet Woodruff, Wood Rove, Wuderove
Herbal Uses: The fresh leaf is used in poultices for wounds and skin irritations. The tea of the fresh herb is soothing to the stomach, cleans the liver, and is said to purge gravel and stones from the bladder. The fresh or dried herb has been used to treat migraine headaches and to calm hysteria and insomnia. Steep two teaspoons per cup of water for twenty minutes; take up to one cup a day in quarter-cup doses. Steep the herb in white wine to lift the spirits; this is the classic herb for May wine. The dried herb is placed in drawers and closets to repel moths. Caution: Overdoe symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Magickal Uses: Woodruff attracts wealth and brings victory to athletes and warriors. When carried in a leather pouch it protects from all harm. In ancient times, rose petals, lavender, box, and woodruff were strewn on the floors and made into decoration on holy days.
Wood Sorrel - See Sorrel
Wormwood - (Artemisia absinthium) Poison Folk Names: Absinthe, Old Woman, Crown for a King
A pretty plant with deeply cut silver foliage, good in a moonlight garden. Wormwood enjoys a somewhat checkered past. Most infamous for being the source for the liqueur Absinthe, a highly addictive narcotic banned in the U.S. and France in the 1910’s. The leaves contain thujone, a highly dangerous but effective vermifuge (expels worms), hence the name. Wormwood is one of the oldest known remedies for intestinal worms. Wormwood is still used today to flavor vermouth, however the thujone is removed. Warning: Wormwood should not be taken internally, except under the guidance of a professional.
Herbal Uses: The leaves and flowers are used in a light infusion to help digestion, flatulence, and heartburn. Wormwood improves circulation and stimulates the liver. The tea is said to help relieve labor pains. Use one teaspoon per cup and steep for twenty minutes; take a quarter cup up to four times a day; or use as a tincture, eight to ten drops in water up to three times a day. A fomentation of the leaves and flowers soothes bruises and sprains. The oil relieves arthritis. Caution: The oil is for external use only. Prolonged use of wormwood can lead to nerve damage.
Homeopathic Uses: Homeopaths use wormwood for epilepsy, insomnia, tremors, and vertigo, especially when accompanied by nausea and bloating.
Magickal Uses: The scent of wormwood is said to increase psychic powers. Burned with sandalwood in the graveyard, it is used to summon the spirits of the departed. Wormwood was once made into a very addictive liqueur called Absinthe. It is now banned in most countries because of its addictive and dangerous qualities. It is most likely from this that wormwood gained the reputation of being used in love infusions. Ancient tradition also tells of it being used as an antidote for poisoning by hemlock and toadstools. Carried it protects from bewitchment and supposedly sea serpents.