botanical herb plant


A curious herbal containing five hundred cuts, of the most useful plants, which are now used in the practice of physick engraved on folio copper plates, 

By Blackwell, Elizabeth,
John Nourse.
Samuel Harding.
Publication info
London : Printed for Samuel Harding, 1737-1739.
BHL Collections:
Blog Features
Missouri Botanical Garden’s Materia Medica
Missouri Botanical Garden’s Rare Books Collections

Mormon Tea

Going with the botanical theme here for plants in the Mojave I present my second favorite, Mormon Tea. Ephedra Viridis is the latin name for it. It grows everywhere in the Mojave.

It’s a woody plant that has green segmented stems that grow like reeds do and then dry out and turn hard and woody and from that other stems grow. They generally get to be about six feet high at the tallest and a few feet around. 

The green shoots can be cut off and broken up then brewed into a nice tea that has a semi sweet flavor and taste herbal. If you like Herbal tea you’ll love this. The natural Ephedra in it acts a stimulant and that is how it got it’s name. When the Mormon settlers started coming into the Mojave they traded with the Paiutes and the Paiutes introduced them to this plant. By making tea with it the Mormons were able to work harder and longer and tons of it was harvested and sent north to Salt Lake City and distributed to the Mormons in the 1800′s. 

In the spring it flowers with pretty little yellow cluster flowers that are pollinated and produce tiny seeds that birds sometimes eat and distribute. 

I’ve drank a lot of this stuff over the years with no ill health effects. I’m sure there is a limit to how much you should consume every day but I haven’t hit it and I’ve had sometimes over a gallon of it a day. It makes great iced tea. 

Herbalist Life

Reading a collection of short murder mystery stories.

One of them has a feigned accident where leaves of a poisonous plant that I’m personally unfamiliar with were supposed to be mistaken for sage leaves.

Put book down, go to shelf, pick up herbal, check the leaves to see if they could be mistaken for sage. Grudgingly allow that they did say the cook was an elderly woman and not too bright.


(Artemisia vulgaris) Do not take if pregnant.

Folk Names: Artemis Herb, Artemisia, Felon Herb, Muggons, Naughty Man, Old Man, Old Uncle Henry, Sailor’s Tobacco, St. John’s Plant.
Gender: Feminine.
Planet: Venus.
Element: Earth.
Deities: Artemis, Diana.
Powers: Strength, Psychic Powers, Protection, Prophetic Dreams, Healing, Astral Projection.

Magical Uses: Place mugwort in the shoes to gain strength during long walks or runs. For this purpose pick mugwort before sunrise, saying:

Tollam te artemesia, ne lassus sim in via.

A pillow stuffed with mugwort and slept upon will produce prophetic dreams. Mugwort is also burned with sandalwood or wormwood during scrying rituals, and a mugwort infusion is drunk (sweetened with honey) before divination.
The infusion is also used to wash crystal balls and magic mirrors, and mugwort leaves are placed around the base of the ball (or beneath it) to aid in psychic workings.
When carrying mugwort you cannot be harmed by poison, wild beasts, or sunstroke, according to ancient tradition. In a building, mugwort prevents elves and “evil thynges” from entering, and bunches of mugwort are used in Japan by the Ainus to exorcise spirits of disease who are thought to hate the odor. In China, it is hung over doors to keep evil spirits from buildings.
Mugwort is also carried to increase lust and fertility, to prevent backache, and to cure disease and madness. Placed next to the bed, it aids in achieving astral projection.

(from Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham)


(Cannabis sativa) Safe to interact with.

Folk Names: Chanvre, Gallowgrass, Ganeb, Ganja, Grass, Hanf, Kif, Marijuana, Neckweede, Tekrouri, Weed.
Gender: Feminine.
Planet: Saturn.
Element: Water.
Powers: Healing, Love, Visions, Meditation.

Magical Uses: Marijuana, or hemp as it was commonly named, was once widely used in magic. Due to laws enacted during the 1930’s which restrict its use and sale, many of these practices are dying out. Here is a sampling of them.
Hemp has long been used in love spells and divinations, such as in the following infamous “Hempseed Spell.” Take a handful of hemp seeds to a church at midnight, preferably just as Midsummer begins. Walk around the church nine times, sprinkling the hemp seed as you walk, and repeat the following words:

Hempseed I sow, hempseed I sow,
Who will come after me and mow?
You will see a vision of your future husband or wife—and you may
also get the local church in trouble with the law!

Hemp was part of many vision and scrying incenses, the smoke of which opened the psychic senses. Mugwort and hemp were prescribed to be burned before a magic mirror to gain visions. It was also added to meditation incenses.
Scourges made of hemp were used in China as imitation snakes, which were beaten against the beds of the sick to drive out the malicious, illness-causing demons.

(from Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham)


Finally springtime is approaching and I’ve made some vernal drawings/watercolors celebrating the magic of nature with it’s cycle of growth, renewal and fertility.

These original artworks are available in the shop now, framed and ready to ship:


Run your fingers through the herb. Still strongly visualizing your need, send it into the herb. Feel your fingertips charging the herb with energy. If you find trouble holding the image in your mind chant simple words that match your need, such as:

Yarrow, yarrow, make love grow.

Chant this endlessly under your breath. As you run your fingers through the herb feel them infusing the plant with your need.

When the herb is tingling with power (or when you sense that the enchantment is complete) remove your hand. The plant has been enchanted.

If there are other plants to be used in a mixture, add them one at a time, re-enchanting the mixture with each addition.

If you wish to enchant herbs to be used separately, remove the enchanted herb from the bowl and wipe it clean with a dry towel. Replace the candles with colors appropriate to the new herb and repeat the procedure.

When making incense, infusions, sachets, poppets and the like powder or grind herbs (if needed) before enchanting.

If roots or branches are to be enchanted, simply hold in your power hand, visualizing and/or chanting, or lay it on top of the bowl between the candles. In earlier days to “enchant” meant to sing or chant to. Once you have sung your song of need to the herbs, they are ready for use.

Of course enchantment isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is a method of obtaining better results. The wise herbalist will never omit enchantments.

(from Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham)


Stachys officinalis is in the mint family Lamiaceae. Commonly known as betony, it is widespread in grasslands and meadows across Eurasia and North Africa, but is cultivated for use in the landscape across the world. Betony is an herbaceous perennial with brightly colored terminal clusters of flowers that bloom during the summer. There are hundreds of varieties available that have been cultivated to produce flowers ranging in shades of pinks and purples. Aside from its use as an ornamental, betony has a long history of medicinal use, with records dating back to the ancient Greeks. Betony was generally considered a cure-all and was used medicinally to treat ailments ranging from headaches and respiratory issues to heart palpitations and bad dreams.

Just found this drawing again while clearing up my studio. It’s part of a abandoned illustration series on magical herbs I did about a year ago. Maybe I’ll get back to work on this again some day…


(Lunaria spp.)

Folk Names: Lunary, Money Plant, Silver Dollar.
Gender: Feminine.
Planet: Moon.
Element: Earth.
Powers: Money, Repelling Monsters.

Magical Uses: Honesty, when carried or scattered about a place, will put all monsters to flight.
The honesty is used in money spells, since the seed pods resemble silver coins. Place one of these beneath a green candle and burn down to the socket, or place it in the purse or pocket to draw money.

(from Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham)