Claimed Magical Powers of Familiar Edible Herbs

Posted on 09 Nov 2012 16:34

Some herbs that we eat are very nutritious.

The humble parsley for instance, is a micro-nutrient power house that is particularly high in Vitamin C.

Some edible herbs even have physiological effects beyond their nutritional content.

For instance, the dandelion green (yes, very good to eat) is a fairly good diuretic.

There are some people, both ancient and modern, however, that believe herbs have magical powers and can be used to cast spells.

You know, like potions class at Hogwarts.

Have you ever wondered about the supposed magical powers of familiar culinary herbs? Here are some of them.

Alfalfa: Alfalfa helps bring on prosperity to protect you from hunger and provide wealth.

Keep some around the house for those purposes. Or, use a "money spell" to…do I have to tell you what a money spell is?

Allspice: Allspice can be used to attract money as well, or luck.

You burn it as an incense or you can put it in a money or luck potion. It also promotes healing, but in a magical way, not a medical way.

alfalfa plant and flower

image by JMR64 via flickr

alfalfa plant and flower

image by JMR64 via flickr

Anise: Okay, so technically anise is a spice, since it is the seeds we use. Are you really going to hold me to semantics in a post about magic? Anise provides protection against nightmares if you put it in your pillowcase. And, you can put it in special incenses for "protection" as well. I'm not sure what it protects you from but I'm guessing it is evil spirits. It also helps to call forth spirits. And if you put it on your bedpost it will make you young again. I'm not sure what happens if you put in on your bedpost and in your pillowcase.

Basil: Basil helps if you're having an argument with your spouse. It causes "sympathy" between two people. Good for love incense and sachets. I'm burning some right now plus I've got a sachet in my pocket and I'm all about the love. Basil is good for wealth as well if you carry it in your pocket, and um, also, witches drink some basil juice before they fly off. That was left out of Harry Potter but it doesn't mean it's not true! There is all sorts of other stuff about basil but I'm bored with it so let's move on.

basil plant

image by The Marmot via flickr

basil plant

image by The Marmot via flickr

Bay: You know, like bay leaves. Placing bay beneath your pillow brings on prophetic dreams. It also, as an amulet, is very protective against negativity and evil (especially in the form of giant villainous moth-men) and this property makes it good for exorcism. Apparently, if you place it in a window it protects against lightning. Never mind that the chances of lightning striking you through a window are so remote that…no, it's the bay. It works! It also prevents poltergeists from any shenanigans they may get up to.

Beet: Again, we're getting out of herbal territory since we are talking about the beet root. Eating from the same beet root will make a man and woman fall in love. Sorry to any gay person…I am just quoting the magic books, but it may work for you as well. And, you'll like this: Beet juice is a blood substitute. So if you have any potions that call for blood I think that means you can use beet juice instead. I know I'm about to get a flood of Google traffic after this one.

Blackberry: The leaves are used in magic, as well as the berries and vines, so it qualifies as an herb. But we don't actually eat the blackberry plant so I am cheating a little bit on the subject of the post. But it's one of my favorites! If you can find a blackberry bramble that grows in a natural arch, you can crawl through the arch backwards and forwards three times, preferably in an east to west orientation. This is like Proactive for pimples, and also gets rid of boils, rheumatism, and whooping cough. Never mind the scratches from the thorns. You can cure that by crawling through a hornet's nest three times. Well, I admit that this will not cure the scratches but it will definitely get your mind off them.

closeup photo of blackberries with blackberry leaves


closeup photo of blackberries with blackberry leaves


Cabbage: If you get married, plant some cabbage in your garden as soon as possible so you want end up in divorce. Wait a minute, is this a good idea? Anyway, it also brings good luck in your garden, except not in the form of magic bean stalks.

Cactus: Some are edible. But all of them can be used for magic. I include this because I find the instructions a bit funny. To protect your house, you are supposed to have a cactus plant facing each direction. How in the world do you know which direction a cactus is facing?

Caraway: This one is cool, because it involves Lilith. You know who Lilith is? Well there are lots of stories about her, but it is said, by some, that she was the first wife of Adam, and was expelled from Eden, and hooked up with a demon. It is also said she can "lie with men" and kill children (the bitch). The word "lullaby" comes from Lilith, having derived from Arabic words meaning "beware of Lilith." So, when you are singing the Lullaby song, you are basically saying to your child, "beware of Lilith while you sleep." Nice. Anyway, she is one evil bitch but Caraway protects against her, as well as other evil spirits. Also, if you place caraway seeds into an object, it makes it theft-proof.

Cardamon: Use cardamon seeds to make a lust potion. Now, who would ever make a love potion when you can make a lust potion?
Carrot: The seeds help women become pregnant. Carrots themselves do not. They do, however, promote lust and cure impotence. Right now, cardamon and carrots are looking pretty good.

Cashew: Prosperity and money spells. How boring, money can't buy you love; or lust. Use cardamon and carrots.
Cherry: The Japanese said that tying a single strand of your hair to a blossoming cherry tree will attract love. I'm thinking you'll need a close friend to try that. It can't be easy to tie one single strand of hair to a tree. There is also a very complicated thing you can do which involved collecting cherry pits and drilling holes in one a nigh during a New Moon, then waiting for a new New moon and string them to tie around your left knee. I like this next one better: To find out how old you will live to be, run about a cherry tree full of ripe cherries and then shake it so that cherries fall off. The number of cherries that fall is the number of years you have left. I'd say put your shoulder into it. It's also a blood substitute, like beet juice, I guess.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is so darned awesome it makes you wonder why you need any other magical plants at all. Burned as incense it aids healing, brings money, increases psychic powers and brings on good vibrations. Also, the clincher, it helps preserve mummies.

cutting from cinnamon tree showing foliage and flowers

Cinnamon Cutting

cutting from cinnamon tree showing foliage and flowers

Cinnamon Cutting

Cloves: Cloves are kind of similar to cinnamon. Is it me, or are most of these herbs doing pretty much the same kind of stuff? There seems to be a distinct lack of imagination here. We haven't produced even one zombie.

Coriander: Love sachets, love spells. Boring. If pregnant women eat coriander, they will have genius children! That's more like it.

Corn: Not really an herb. But I've got to tell you this one. If you reach into a bin of corn and pull out any ear, and count the grains, it will tell you your age. You have to allow twelve grains for each year. I cannot imagine why anyone would have ever needed an ear of corn to tell them how old they were. But I'll bet you someone who reads this will check to see if it works. Also, an ear of corn placed in your baby's cradle will protect baby from negative forces. Like your mother in law.

Cuckoo-Flower: I just wanted to type cuckoo-flower.

Dandelion: Dandelion is a doozy when it comes to the little puffy seed pods and much of it is negative. For instance, children used to blow on a Dandelion globe three times, and if all the seed pods blew off, it was a sign their mother did not want them. And this one I do not recommend. To find our how old you will live to be, blow off the fluffy seed pods from a Dandelion head. As many puffs as it takes to blow off all the seed heads, will be your final age. If you do try this one, blow veeeeeeery gently. It's used to tell time and predict the weather, as well.

Dill: Put a handful of dill foods into your bathwater before a date? Apparently it makes you Don Juan, or Cleopatra. And pickly. I take showers before dates though. Oh, and I'm married. I'd think this would be even more useful for married people, except I'm not sure it works for them.

Endive: Lust and love. Serve it in a salad if you want to have an orgy. But, beware that hte best time to gather it is June 27 or July 25, and it must be dug up with a piece of gold or a stag's horn. I dare you to go up to your product guy and ask him if he has any endive that was dug up on June 27 with a stag's horn.

Fennel: Protection, Healing, Purification. It's beginning to seem like greens are good for you.

Garlic: If you hang a string of garlic around your neck it makes you irresistible to the opposite sex. Alright, bad joke. It protects you from evil and negativity. Vampires are both of those things. Evil and oh, so negative. It also keeps people from being jealous of you. Which makes sense since no one would be jealous of someone whose house smelled like garlic all the time.

Horseradish: Protects your home from negativity and repels negative hexes. I still really do not know what all this negativity stuff is. Burglars would be a negative thing, I suppose, so if you place horseradish over your door it may protect you from burglars. But remember that placing caraway seeds in an object makes it theft proof so I you have caraway seeds in your house nobody will be able to steal it. But burglarize it they can, yes. By the way, there is a myth that horseradish was so named because it was once used to cure horses of colds. There is probably nothing to this. Horse is used in the names of several plants and/or their fruits, simply to say that they are large, strong, or course, as compared to their relatives. For instance, there is a horse cucumber, horse plum and horse mint.

Juniper: Protects your home if you hand it over hte door and keeps negativity away, again! I am beginning to think that protection from negativity is a fallback for whenever they couldn't think of anything interesting. Also, if you wear it in an amulet it prevents accidents and attracts love. Juniper is, by the way, one of the plants that the disciples brought to Jesus in preparation for their baptisms. Maybe to protect them from being drowned.

Leek: The leek protects you from malevolent forces of any kind and it also protects the physical body from illness. It has long been thought to have healing properties, like others of the alliums, but in magical lore such as that of the ancient Saxons there is not really a distinction between healing through medicinal properties and healing through magic. The familiar trick of hanging it over your doorway wil protect you from psychic attacks. It's getting to where I can't see open my door anymore for all the plants hanging over it.

Marjoram: Brings joy and happiness, attracts love, helps with grief. Marjoram just has some all around good mojo. It is good for feeling mellow, and we all can dig that.

Nutmeg: Wards off disease when worn as an amulet. European men used to wear amulets made of wood, silver, or ivory to promote virility and to get chicks. Connecticut is sometimes called the Nutmeg state, by the way, supposedly because salesmen used to sell wooden carvings of nutmegs as charms to protect against evil. It also is said to promote psychic powers, and like, it sends out good vibrations when you keep some in your pocket. It also absorbs negative vibrations.

Oregano: Sprinkle oregano around the perimeter of your home to get some joy and lightheartedness into your life. It brings peace and helps build stable relationships, and tomato sauce.

Parsley: Wards off evil. It also used to be left as a tribute after an animal was killed for food, which is why it came to be used as a garnish. It draws money, and it protects and attracts. And I made the garnish thing up, silly, but not the animal tribute thing. It is an "herb of air" and due to my new-found knowledge I know that means it is good for flying spells. So take off, man.

Vanilla: Vanilla beans will make you more attractive. And men, supposedly find the scent of vanilla to be sexually arousing. Well, not supposedly. I used to date a girl who wore this vanilla lotion stuff all the time, and well, you know, it drove me crazy.

1. Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1985.
2. Gregg, Susan. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds, 2008.
3. Albert, Susan Wittig. China Bayles' Book of Days: 365 Celebrations of the Mystery, Myth, and Magic of Herbs from the World of Pecan Springs. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2006.
4. Albertsson, Alaric. Wyrdworking: The Path of a Saxon Sorcerer. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2011.
5. Zak, Victoria. The Magic Teaspoon: Transform Your Meals with the Power of Healing Herbs and Spices. New York: Berkley, 2006.
6. Olsen, Judy Ann. A Witch's Grimoire: Create Your Own Book of Shadows. Avon, MA: Provenance, 2005.
7. Ravensky, Kimi, and Harmonia Saille. Crusty Crones Get out and About. O Books, John Hunt, 2011.

This article contains one or more Amazon affiliate links. See full disclosure.

Follow or Subscribe

© 2018 by Eric Troy and CulinaryLore. All Rights Reserved. Please contact for permissions.