Arborvitae (Yellow Cedar), Ash, Birch, Daisy,
Eldeiftower, Elecampane, Elm, Flax, Hawthorn, Holly, Iris, Maple, Milkweed, Mulberry, Lavender, Parsley, Rosemary, Unicorn Root
Arborvitae (Yellow Cedar), Thuja Occpentalis
Parts Used and Herbal Uses: A member of the cypress family, cedar is used by herbal-ists to treat bloody cough and heart weakness. Simmer two teaspoons per cup for twenty minutes and take it cold in one- tablespoon doses, three to six times a day. It is used internally and externally as an anti--fungal (the dry powder is excellent for athlete's foot).
Arborvitae, the "Tree of Life," is burned in baby blessing rituals and is used as a decoration to bring long life and
even immor-tality to the child.
Ash, Fraxinus Excelsior, F. Americana Parts Used: Bark and leaf.
The bark of the ash can be used as a substitute for quinine in intermittent fevers. It is reputed to clear obstructions from the spleen and liver. Simmer two tablespoons of bark for twenty minutes in one cup of water; take a quarter cup four tunes a day. The leaves are laxative and can be used as a substitute for senna (tree
leaves are always gathered before midsummer). Steep two tablespoons of the leaf in one cup of water for twenty minutes; take a quarter cup a day.
Homeopaths use Fraxinus americana for uterine tumors and fibroids. Fraxinus excelsior is used for gout and rheumatism.
Burying a newborn's first nail trimmings under an ash
ensures the child will grow up a good singer. Sick children are passed through a cleft in an ash sapling to effect a cure.
Birch, Betula Alba, B. Lutea, B. Lenta Parts Used: Leaf, bark, and twig.
The white birch makes a leaf tea that dissolves kidney
stones if taken over a long time. Steep two teaspoons of leaf per cup of water for twenty minutes. The dose is one to one and a half cups over a day. Birch twigs and leaves are simmered and added to bath water for itchy skin conditions and falling hair. Taken before bed, the tea is sedative. The young shoots and leaves make a tonic
laxative. The inner bark is simmered and used in fevers. Twigs and bark are simmered using two teaspoons of plant per cup of water for twenty minutes. The dose is one-fourth cup taken four times a day. The twigs of B. lutea (yellow birch) and B. lenta (black birch) are gathered in spring and simmered gently for twenty minutes to make a delicious beverage. Please note: the leaves must be used fresh, and not after Midsummer, as they will then contain natural insecticides. The white birch has no real flavor and does not make a good beverage tea.
Birch is a feminine tree and an embodiment of the Great
Mother. Cradles are often made of her wood as a protection for the child.
Daisy, Bellis Perennis Part Used: Above-ground portions of the herb.
This is not to be confused with the common American oxeye daisy, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum.
The English daisy as an herb is a gentle laxative. To
make a tea, steep one tablespoon of the herb per cup of water for twenty minutes. Take up to one cup a day in one-fourth cup doses. The fresh flowers are used in poultices for burns, injuries, and inflammations. Lung conditions, colds, sluggish digestion, gas, colic, and liver, kidney, and bladder problems benefit from it. The wild English daisy can be used internally and externally at the same time for maximum relief.
Homeopaths use Bellis perennis after surgery and for muscular soreness, lameness, mechanical injuries, sprains and bruises, trauma to the pelvic region, inability to walk during pregnancy, and boils.
Known as "bairnwort" in Scotland because children use
it to make daisy chains; daisy is an appropriate herb to decorate the cradle and the altar.
Elderflower, Sambucus Nigra Parts Used: Leaf, flower, and berry.
The black elder can be used as an insecticide in the
garden or to repel insects from the face and body. A simple infusion of the fresh leaf is made for this purpose. It can also be poured down mouse and mole holes. The berries are used for jam, wine, pies, and syrups. Medicinally, they help coughs, colic, diarrhea, sore
throats, asthma, and flu. A pinch of cinnamon makes the tea more warming. The leaves are added to salves for skin conditions. The flowers are infused for fevers, eruptive skin conditions such as measles, and severe bronchial and lung problems. A classic flu remedy
is a mixture of elderflower, yarrow, and peppermint teas. Keep the patient well covered, as the flowers promote sweating. Use two teaspoons of the herbs per cup of water, steep for twenty minutes, and take up to three cups a day.
Homeopathic Uses: Homeopaths use Sambucus nigra for conditions ac- companied by profuse perspiration and suffocative coughs that are worse around midnight.
To bring the blessings of the Eldermother, a bath for the rite is prepared of elderflower water. Elder is burned in her honor as incense.
Elecampane (Elewort, Scabwort), Inum Helenium
Part Used: Root.
The autumn-dug root is excellent for coughs and has been used by Native American healers to cure tuberculosis. All chronic lung conditions such as bronchitis and asthma are helped by it. It is
generally mixed with other lung herbs. Elecampane produces an ac-tive principle called helenin, which is antiseptic and antibacterial, making the root useful in salves and surgical dressings.
Homeopaths use Inula for diabetes, bronchial
infections, and "bearing down" sensations in the pelvic region with labor- like pains.
Elecampane is burned as incense to bring joy and is worn to attract love.
Elm, Ulmus Campestris, U. Fulva Parts Used: Bark and leaf.
The dried inner bark of Ulmus campestris (common elm)
has been used both internally and externally for ringworm. The bark of young branches is made into a tea for herpes, itch, scurf, and other skin ailments. To make the tea, simmer two teaspoons of bark or twigs per cup of water for twenty minutes. Take one-fourth cup four
times a day. The bark and leaf are tinctured in vinegar to make a skin wash. U. flilva, the slippery elm, has a soothing, mucilaginous inner bark that is used externally in poultices for wounds and inflammations (simply add water to the dried and powdered bark until it has a pie-dough consistency, and apply). As a tea, it is used for
sore throats, bronchitis, diarrhea, urinary problems, and dysentery. It is incorporated into suppositories, enemas, and douches because of its soothing nature. Experience has taught me that only very small amounts of the powdered bark can be added to a douche or a tea. It
gels quickly into a mass, so be watchful and put in only a teaspoon at a time.CAUTION: Elm trees have been much depleted by Dutch elm disease. Use only the bark of outer twigs to avoid harming the tree.
Slippery elm is hung around a child's neck to ensure
speaking skills in later life.
Flax (Linseed), Linum Usitatissimum Part Used: Seed.
A teaspoon of the seed is placed in a quart of water and
gently simmered down to one-half quart. The resulting liquid is given for constipation, for ulcerated sore throat, and as an expecto-rant for bronchitis in one-fourth cup doses throughout the day. To pass a gallstone, take one and a half to two tablespoons of linseed oil and lie on your left side for a half hour. The whole seeds (about two
tablespoons) can be taken with plenty of water to relieve
constipation. Follow with stewed prunes or prune juice. The cooked seeds are added to fresh grated carrots, and the mix is warmed to make a poul- tice for rheumatism and swellings.
Homeopaths use Linum usitatissimum as a poultice
for asthma and hives. As a decoction it treats cystitis, asthma, hay fever, nettle rash, and paralysis of the tongue.
The child who runs or dances in a flax field at the age
of seven is assured of growing up to be attractive. Newborn babies are placed in a flax field to sleep for similar reasons.
Hawthorn, Crategus Parts Used: Berry and flower.
The berry is a superior heart tonic, useful for almost
any heart condition. Cholesterol problems and valvular diseases are benefited. The berries also strengthen the appetite and digestion. Extended use lowers blood pressure. Hawthorn berry is a good remedy for the nerves and for insomnia. The berries are simmered or
tinctured. Simmer two teaspoons of berries per cup of water for twenty minutes. The dose is a quarter cup four times a day. Take ten to twenty drops four times a day. The flowers are taken as tea to benefit the heart. Steep two teaspoons of flowers per cup of water for twenty minutes; the dose is a quarter cup four times a day.
Homeopaths use hawthorn as a heart tonic for irregular heartbeat, myocarditis, insomnia, edema, arteriosclerosis,
and juvenile diabetes.
Hawthorn is placed in a child's cradle to shield it
from evil spells.
Holly, Ilex Aqwfolium Part Used: Leaf.
The leaf is dried and used as tea for fevers, bronchitis, bladder problems, and gout. Steep a half ounce of the
chopped leaf in boiled water for twenty minutes; take up to one cup a day. The juice of the fresh leaf is helpful in jaundice; take one tablespoon per day. This is the familiar holly of Christmas decorations. CAUTION: The berries are poisonous.
Holly can be used as a substitute for quinine. Homeopaths use Ilex aquifolium for intermittent fevers, spleen pain, and eye symptoms, especially when the symptoms are better in winter.
An infusion of holly is sprinkled on the newborn child
as an herb of protection.
Iris, Iris Parts Used: Root and leaf.
Iris root is found in the swamps of North America. Just
as iris purifies the mud of boggy areas, so does it clean the human bowel. Chronic liver problems and digestive problems will benefit from this plant, as will nonmalignant enlargements of the thyroid. Stomach-centered migraine headaches and chronic sinus congestion are helped by it Iris is taken in tincture, ten to twenty-five drops in water, three times a day. The fresh leaf is used in poultices for
burns and injuries. The root is gathered in the fall and taken as a decoction for colds. Simmer one teaspoon per pint of water for twenty minutes; take three tablespoons six times a day, cold. CAUTION: The fresh root causes skin irritation in some individuals.
Homeopaths use Iris versicolor for frontal headaches with nausea, constipation, ringing in the ears, psoriasis,
eczema, and rheumatism. The pancreas and astrointestinal tract are a strong focus for this remedy, especially when symptoms worsen after sun-down or after resting.
Iris brings wisdom, faith, courage, and joy. Plant some
on the day of the baby blessing as a gift for the newborn as she or he grows.
Lavender, Lavandula Vera L. Officinalis Parts Used: Leaf and flower.
The oil is used for intestinal gas, migraine, and dizziness. Being antiseptic, lavender is added to healing salves. A
tea of the leaf allays nausea and vomiting. Use two teaspoons per cup of water and steep for twenty minutes. The dose is one-fourth cup four times a day. Steep lavender blossoms in white wine (add rose petals, if you like) for two weeks and strain to make a natural
antidepressant beverage. Laven-der and rose petal vinegar is applied to the temples and brow to ease headache. Lavender oil is added to foot baths, eases toothaches and sprains, and is used as a rub for
hysteria and palsy.
Lavender is burned during childbirth and labor as an
herb of peace and tranquility. The joyful scent of lavender is welcome at baby blessing rituals.
Maple, Acer Spp. Parts Used: Bark, sap, and leaves.
Calcium, necessary for bones, teeth, blood-clotting,
healthy muscles and nerves, enzymatic processes, and fluid secretions, is found in abundance in maple syrup. Iron to build red blood cells is found in smaller but significant amounts. Maple syrup is a good sugar substitute, being less sweet and having more yang quali-
ties. The bark of Acer rubrum, the red maple, is simmered to make an eyewash. To make the tea, simmer two teaspoons of bark per cup of water and strain carefully through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to pro-tect the eyes. The immature leaves of maple are edible in the early spring. Two tablespoons of maple syrup, the juice of a half lemon, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, taken with eight ounces of water several times a day, makes a good fasting beverage to clear the body of toxins.
To help a child achieve a long life, pass it ritually
through the branches of a maple tree.
Milkweed, Asclepias Syriaca Parts Used: Flower bud, sap, root.
The root is said to produce temporary sterility if taken
as tea. The fresh, milky juice can be dropped onto warts to make them disappear. The young green flower buds can be eaten steamed or sautéed; they taste a little like broccoli. The powder of the root and the infusion of it have been used to relieve cough and pain in cases of asthma and typhus and are also used for scrofula
(tuberculosis inflammation and ulceration of the lymph nodes). Mix equal parts of the root with marshmallow root (aithea), steep one teaspoon per cup of water, and take one-quarter cup four times a day. CAUTION: This plant is poisonous if overused.
Homeopaths use Asclepias syriaca cornuti (silkweed
or milkweed) for afflictions of the nerves and the urinary tract and for pressing down uterine pains. Asciepias tuberosa (pleurisy root) is used for bronchitis, the pain of pleurisy, and mucus-ridden dysentery with rheumatic pain over the whole body. It has a special affinity for the chest muscles.
The juice of milkweed bestows health, long life, and
immortality. Use a few drops to anoint a new baby. CAUTION: The juice is not to be taken internally!
Mulberry, Morus Rubraq M. Alba, M. Nigra Parts Used: Root, twig, leaf, and berry.
Morus rubra, the red mulberry, is an American tree. The bark of the root is a remedy for tapeworms and a gentle laxative. Half a teaspoon of the powdered root can be taken with water for laxative effects, or two teaspoons of the bark can be simmered in one cup of water for twenty minutes and taken in quarter-cup doses as needed, up to one cup a day. The juice of the leaf was used by Native
Amen-cans to treat ringworm on the scalp. M. nigra, the black mulberry, a European tree, is used similarly. The bark of the root of M. nigra is used for tapeworm. Mulberries are made into drinks or fed whole to persons with fever. M. alba is a Chinese variety grown as an
ornamen-tal in the United States. The small branches of this tree are made into a decoction for rheumatic and arthritic pains. Simmer two teaspoons of the twigs per cup of water for twenty minutes and take quarter-cup doses, up to one cup a day. The fruit of M. alba is a
blood tonic for anemia, debilitating diseases, vertigo, premature graying of the hair, and sleeplessness. It helps with constipation in the aged. The leaf of M. alba treats colds, fevers, and influenza when taken as tea. Steep two teaspoons of leaf in one cup of water and take one-fourth cup four times a day. The bark of the root is antiinflammatory to the lungs in cases of asthma, bronchitis, and wheezing and is especially useful when there is fever, thirst, and swelling of the extremities. Simmer two teaspoons of root bark in one cup of water for twenty minutes and take one-fourth cup four times a
day. CAUTION: Avoid this plant if diarrhea or digestive weakness is present.
Mulberry is a magical tree of protection. Place the wood or a leaf somewhere near baby's cradle.
Parsley, Carum Petroselinum, Petroselinum Sativum Parts Used: Root, leaf, and seed.
The second-year roots, the leaf, and the seed are used.
Parsley is diuretic and helpful for gravel and stone as well as for edema, jaundice, and kidney problems. The root is the most powerful part. The oil of the seed (five to fifteen drops) has been used to bring on menstruation. The seed, when decocted, has been used for intermittent fevers. Steep one teaspoon of leaf per cup for twenty
minutes or simmer one teaspoon of the root or seed for twenty minutes. The dose is one-fourth cup, four times a day. Parsley leaves (with violet leaf and figwort herb when possible) are used in poultices for cancer. A pars-ley poultice will help insect bites, stings, and sore eyes. Parsley tea is used for asthma and coughs. CAUTION: Persons with weak kidneys should avoid this herb.
Homeopaths use Petroselinum for very itchy hemorrhoids, as well as for urinary complaints such as a deep itch in the uri-nary tract, and gonorrhea with a sudden urge to urinate and a milky discharge. Expectant mothers should eat parsley and watercress during the pregnancy to keep the liver and kidneys strong. A bath in
parsley tea is recommended before labor (and before rituals in general).
Parsley is used in decorations for baby blessing rites.
Rosemary, Mosemarinus Parts Used: Leaf and flower.
The leaf and flowers are stimulating to the liver and
the digestion. For this reason, rosemary is a classic herb for migraine headache when associated with liver or stomach torpidity. Rosemary increases the circulation and slightly raises blood pressure. To make the tea, steep two teaspoons of the dried flowering tops in one cup of water for twenty minutes. Take one-fourth cup four
times a day. Use rosemary in salves for eczema, wounds, and sores. The tea makes a mouthwash for bad breath. The oil benefits stomach and nerves. Steep the herb in white wine for a week and strain. Rub the rosemary wine into gouty or paralyzed limbs. Taken internally, the wine quiets the heart and stimulates the kidneys, brain, and
nervous system. Rosemary tea re-lieves depression. Rosemary and coltsfoot are smoked as herbal tobacco to relieve asthma and lung conditions. CAUTION: When rosemary is used as a tea, the dose should not exceed one cup per day. Overdose can cause fatal poisoning.
Homeopaths use Rosemarinus for conditions of
premature menstruation, violent pains followed by uterine hemorrhage, a feeling of heaviness and drowsiness in the head, chills, icy coldness in the lower extremities, and thirstlessness followed by heat.
As an herb of consecration and of purification from
disease, rosemary is a good choice for incense at a baby blessing.
Unicorn Root, Chamaelirium Luteum, Helonms Diocia, Aletris Famnosa Part Used: Root.
Chamaelirium luteum, the "false unicorn root," is used
to enhance fertility. Many female problems are addressed by it, especially when there is a sensation of dragging in the abdomen, irregular menstruation, miscarriage, and morning sickness. It is tonic to the liver, kidney, and genitourinary tract. Digestive problems, back pains, and impotence are helped by it. Simmer two teaspoons of root in one cup of water for twenty minutes and take one-
fourth cup four times a day. The tincture can be made and taken in doses of five to fifteen drops with water, four times a day. Taken internally or applied externally in salves, false uni-corn root removes worms and parasites. Aletris farinosa, the "true unicorn root," is dried to make a stomach tonic for gas, colic, and indigestion and also a gen-eral tonic for the female reproductive tract. It also prevents miscar-riage. Simmer two teaspoons of root
per cup of water for twenty min-utes and take one-fourth cup four times a day.
Homeopaths use Aletrisfarinosa (stargrass, true uni-
corn root) for anemia, exhaustion, premature and painful menstruation, prolapse of the uterus, and morning sickness. Helonias Chamaelirium (unicorn root) is used for pelvic weakness with a dragging sensation and exhaustion, for "melancholy," lower back pain with kidney involvement, and suppressed menstruation. All symptoms are better when mental diversion is offered.
Unicorn root is an herb of protection for baby and mother. It is worn as an amulet or carried in power bundles for this purpose.
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