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The Chinese, the Egyptians, and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine
The Greeks
The East and the West
The Physiomedicalists and the Eclectics
The Lore
Astrological Botany


Always surrounding the historical facts are the myths and fantasies put forth by certain herbalists through the centuries. Most notably were the follies of Nicholas Culpeper, as mentioned above, with his notions of astrological botany. As early as 1600, witchcraft popularized herbal potions, and spells to conjure up as well as spells to keep spirits away were performed ritually. Not to perpetuate the myths nor to belittle the importance and real healing qualities of herbs and their legitimate uses today, I offer you a little bit of this "other worldly" lore:

To Enable One To See The Fairies
Take 1 pint of virgin olive oil and wash it with rose water and marigold water until it is white. The roses and the marigolds are to be gathered towards the east and the water thereof to be made of pure spring water. Put the washed oil into a vial glass and add hollyhock buds, marigold flowers, wild thyme tops and flowers, young hazel buds, and the grass of a fairy throne*. The thyme must be gathered near the side of a hill where fairies used to be. Set the glass in the sun for three days so that the ingredients can become incorporated. Then put it away for use.
—formula dated 1600 and also seen in Eleanour Rohde's A Garden of Herbs

*When field mushrooms grow they generally release their spores on the ground just outside the diameter of their cap. These spores take root and eventually exhaust the nutrients of the soil. Thus, the mushrooms grow outward in ever-widening circles leaving a bare central area where the original mushrooms were located. (This bare area is thought by some to be caused by the dancing of elves.) In time, grass begins to grow and fill in the area. The center of the circle where the original mushroom grew, and where now only grass remains, is the fairy throne.

For Riding On A Broomstick And Flying
Make an ointment from the leaves of belladonna, stramonium, monkshood, and celery seeds. Add to it one toad and boil until the toad's flesh has fallen off the bones. Strain and rub the ointment on the body, under the armpits, on the forehead, and on your broom. (Eat celery seeds so that you won't get dizzy when flying about on your broom.)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> —a 1600's formula

To Stop Dogs From Barking At You
Carry the leaves of the hound's tongue and put them under your feet.

Incense To Keep The Incubus Away
Brew the following in 3 quarts good French brandy and spring water: sweet flag, cubeb seed, aristolochia root, great and small cardamom, ginger, long pepper, clove-pink, cinnamon, clove, mace nutmegs, resin, benzoin, aloe wood and root, and santal.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>— Sinistrari from The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by R.H. Robbins

Heliotrope Amulet
If one gathers the heliotrope in August and wraps it in a bay leaf with the incisor tooth from a wolf, no one can speak an angry word to the wearer. If you have been robbed, put it under your pillow and it will bring a vision before your eyes of the robber and all the items stolen. If set up in a house of Worship, no woman who has committed adultery will be able to leave the place until it is removed.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>—Albertus Maximus

To Summon Minor Devils
Burn incense made of parsley root, coriander, nightshade, hemlock, black poppy juice, sandalwood, and henbane.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>— a sixteenth-century formula

Success Incense
Mix together thoroughly: 35% frankincense, 30% sandalwood, 10% cinnamon, 10% myrrh, 7% patchouli leaves, 5% orris root, and 3% potassium nitrate.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Legends of Incense, Herbs & Oil Magic by Lewis de Claremont .