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Herbalism: Traditions and Folklore

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Through the ages have been many myths, legends, traditions, and beliefs about all sorts of herbs and plants. The most notable ones are the following:

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Angelica

During the mediaeval times, people believed that this planned blooms on May the 8th, because this was the day of Archangel Michael. This is how it got its name “Angelica” as it was believed that it was the favourite plant of the Angels. According to tradition, this plant must be harvested when the Moon is in Leo.

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Basil

In Greece there is always a small part of Basil next to the main door of all traditional houses, as it is believed that this would guarantee good luck for the household. In Italy, there is this tradition of placing a small pot of basil on the balcony or next to the main door of the house in order to indicate that one of the young women of the household is ready for marriage. For the Hindu people, basil is the sacred plant of God Vishnu, and when someone dies, people place a small stem of basil insider clothes in order to guarantee a good and safe passage to the world of the dead.

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Cinnamon

it is one of the most commonly mentioned plans in the Bible. In ancient Egypt it was used for the mummification of the dead, while in the eastern religions it was used for the purification of their temples.

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Clove

Cloves came to Europe from Asia during the 4th century A.D. It is believed that a pot of cloves in the house drives away all disease that could be brought by supernatural means.

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Coriander

it has been a main ingredient of perfumes and cosmetics for over 3000 years. In magical traditions it is an important ingredient for love potions while in the trainings traditions it is used religiously, as it is believed that can guarantee the immortality of the soul.

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Fennel

The Chinese used to believe that this was an antidote against snake venom. In Europe, even to this day, according to magical traditions, it is believed that placing some fennel in the keyhole of the bedroom’s door can drive away demons. It is also one of the nine sacred herbs that are used in the elixir that can cure nine causes of disease.

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Garlic

It came to Europe from Asia, where it was used by priests and mystics for power, and protection in the rituals. In ancient Greece it was used a lot in medicine where in Sweden, during to this day, and make small necklaces out of garlic flowers and the place them around the neck of their animals in order to protect them from trolls.

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Ginger

In the ancient Egyptian religion, believers were offered bread made of flour and ginger during communion. The Chinese still use this plant is a powerful medicine against the flu while it is believed that having whole ginger root in your handbag guarantees prosperity.

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Olive

For the Greeks, the olive is a symbol of wisdom, and for the Romans, it is a symbol of peace. During war, the one holding an olive branch was the one signalling that they were coming to either negotiate or surrender.

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Pomegranate

In ancient Egypt, its spiritual importance made it so valuable that at some point it was used as a currency. According to many mystical traditions, pomegranate juice is an ideal base substance for ink that can be used for spells and rituals.

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Rosemary

The Romans always held a small Rosemary branch during rituals and religious festivals, as it was believed that this would guarantee a peaceful and happy afterlife. For Christians, it is considered a sacred planned and it is used during cleansing ceremonies.

You can find a large variety of herbs for your practice here:

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