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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: herb

DEFINITIONS

herb: An “herb” can be a cactus, a flower, a seaweed, a moss, a mushroom, a grass, a vine, shrub, bush or tree. “Spices” are also classified as herbs. The parts of plants used in herbalism include seeds, flowers, fruits, leaves, barks and roots.

The word “herb” implies that the plant has a specific use. Such uses may be medicinal (goldenseal); culinary (spearmint); cosmetic (almond); aesthetic (rose) or magical (sandalwood). Many herbs enjoy a rich variety of uses.
source: The Truth About Herb Magic, Scott Cunningham


ARTICLES

The Renaissance of Herb Magic
Fortunately, the herbs didn’t die out, and neither did much of the information. The great herbals by Theophrastus, Dioscorides, "Apuleius," Gerard, Coles and others preserved much herb magic, as did the works of Pliny, Agrippa, Porta and other early ...
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Origins of Herb Magic
Herb magic began in the distant past, when humans first began experimenting with the plants that they found growing around them. Color, form, scent and taste attracted humans to certain plants. Our ancestors eventually dis-covered many uses for ...
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Growing Herbs
Growing herbs is a delightful past time. Not only can we enjoy the curious fragrances and often beautiful leaves and flowers of the plants themselves, but we’re also assured of a steady supply of herbs for use in magic. Most herb magicians grow at ...
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Obtaining Herbs
Herbs can be found almost anywhere. They grow in our front yards; along country roads; beside streams; in deserts; on mountaintops; in drowsy forests; on disturbed ground. Many are nourished in gardens, both culinary and magical. Some herbalists ...
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Baneful Herbs and Flying Ointments
One of the darkest chapters in the history of herbs has been in the traditional usages of "baneful" (poisonous) herbs. Such herbs, including henbane, hemlock, hellebore, mandrake and datura, were popular in Renaissance magic for inducing visions, ...
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Herbal Codes — Or, You Don't Need to Kill a Black Cat
Many grimoires and books of magic use animals and their parts as codes for herbs and other materials. Here are a number of them, some from the Greek Magical Papyri (see PGM XII:401-44), a work composed between 200BC and 500AD. Others come from Galen ...
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Herb Magic’s Darkest Hours
It isn’t until Christianity began to stamp out all remaining traces of pre-Christian practices that herb magic began to suffer a decline. Centuries-old practices were suddenly condemned by a Church that had grown frightened of persons with power. ...
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What Is an Herb?
Even botanists haven’t been able to agree on this. In magic, we avoid these arcane arguments by simply stating that an herb is any plant or any part of a plant that’s used in magic. An "herb" can be a cactus, a flower, a seaweed, a moss, a mushroom, ...
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The Work of the Medsen Fey - the Leaf Doctors of Haiti
Loulou Prince is the medsen fey (leaf doctor/herbalist and shaman) for a Haitian community of around 1,500 people who live in the vicinity of Jacmel, a small town close to the border with the Dominican Republic. In his daily practice, he deals with ...
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Guidelines for Performing Herb Magic
- The magician should be alone during spellcasting. The presence of others will only hurt the magician’s efforts. Some wait until the others in the house are asleep before casting their spells. (Many people temporarily turn off the phones and ...
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When I was doing research for my new book, Ghosts of Lincoln, I found a particularly delightful tale in several collections. The story goes that when Winston Churchill was staying at the White House, it was said that Churchill was staying in one of Lincoln's old rooms and emerged from the bathtub, dripping wet and completely naked, to find the... read this article
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