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The Witches Garden has the largest collection of Medical Plants in Australia & is dedicated to preserving their history and folklore.

Knowledgebase

Knowledgebase

Edible Plants (9)

Couch grass has long played an important role with herbalists. Pliny & Dioscorides both promoted it as improving urine flow and dissolving kidney stones. (couch grass decoction taken over several months will prevent further enlargement) Heated seeds used in hot, moist pack applied to abdomen to relieve peptic ulcers. Juice from the roots advocated for treating jaundice & liver complaints. Sick dogs eat it to induce vomiting. In times of famine the root has been roasted and ground as flour & as a coffee substitute.

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Cultivated for over 3,000 years. Italian gardeners developed the celery we know today. Used to treat rheumatic conditions & gout. Seeds are useful in arthritis, helping to detoxify the body & improve circulation of blood to the muscles & joints. Celery seeds are also beneficial for asthma & bronchitis & in combination with other herbs reduce blood pressure. The seeds are an effective treatment for cystitis helping to disinfect the bladder & urinary tubules.

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In cultivation since Egyptian times. Antibiotic, reduces blood pressure & blood sugar levels. Used to treat acne. Warmed juice can be dropped into the ear for ear ache. Useful in preventing oral infections & tooth decay. Baked onions used as a poultice to drain pus from sores. Long standing reputation as an aphrodisiac & used cosmetically to promote hair growth.

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Egyptian slaves building Cheops pyramid ate garlic daily to sustain strength, as did Roman soldiers. Antibacterial, weak fungicide. Gives some protection against common cold, amoeboid dysentery, typhoid & other infectious diseases. Prevents circulatory problems & strokes by keeping the blood thin. Garlic lowers cholesterol levels & blood pressure.

Parsley reduces aroma on the breath.

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Egyptians used dill as an ingredient in a pain killing mixture. Ancient Greeks covered their eyes in Dill fronds to induce sleep. Used as a charm in Middle Ages against witchcraft when it was burned to ward off thunder clouds. Chewing seeds improves bad breath. Used in Gripe water to settle the stomach. Dill increases milk production & when taken regularly by nursing mothers helps prevent colic in their babies.

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A decorative confectionary is made from the candied green stems. Angelica is an ingredient in the liqueur ‘Benedictine’. Protection against evil & the plague. Association with early Nordic magic. Used to improve poor circulation, long known as useful to improve the blood flow to peripheral parts of the body. Helps relieve indigestion, wind & colic. Angelica’s warming properties bring relief from bronchitis & conditions affecting the chest.

Do not take during pregnancy.

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Known to Dioscorides & early Arabian physicians, but never widely employed. Used to treat diarrhoea & biliousness. A decoction provides an excellent antiseptic wash. Fruit can be used in alcoholic drinks or preserves such as marmalade. The bark was once used in leather tanning. The wood provides good quality charcoal, & is suitable for turning & marquetry.

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Essential component in French cuisine. Latin name means ‘little dragon’ after coiled serpent like root & belief that it’s use cures snake bite. While Tarragon stimulates digestion, it is a mild sedative & aids sleep. With it’s mild menstruation inducing properties it is taken if periods are delayed. Do not take during pregnancy! The root has traditionally been applied to relieve toothache.

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Cultivated over 4,000 years ago by the Egyptians. It has long been known as a diuretic, useful in treatment of rheumatic conditions as it hastens the flushing of waste products accumulated in the joints out of the body in the urine. Greek physician Dioscorides recommended decoction of asparagus root to improve urine flow & to treat kidney problems. He also recommended holding the chewed root against aching teeth. Asparagus is also a mild laxative & sedative.

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Folk Uses (5)

 

 

Known to Dioscorides & early Arabian physicians, but never widely employed. Used to treat diarrhoea & biliousness. A decoction provides an excellent antiseptic wash. Fruit can be used in alcoholic drinks or preserves such as marmalade. The bark was once used in leather tanning. The wood provides good quality charcoal, & is suitable for turning & marquetry.

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Once considered an aphrodisiac (hence it’s name) Used to protect clothes from moths. Up until the 1800’s a bunch of Southernwood & Rue was placed next to the prisoner in the dock as a preventative of contagion of ‘jail fever’. Employed in nosegays by court room & jail officials for this purpose. Once used as a powder mixed with treacle to treat worms in children. Used in aromatic baths & poultices for skin conditions. Stems yield a yellow dye.

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Named after the Greek Goddess Artemis who gave this family of plants to mankind as a gift. Although one of the bitterest herbs known it has for centuries been a major ingredient in aperitifs & herb wines. (Absinthe & Vermouth) This herb contains several substances which may adversely affect the body if taken in excess (including the hallucinogen, santonin) & for this reason produces some of the most dangerous & strongest alcoholic drinks. Has been used as a Malaria preventative. Can be used as a tea and has been used for stuffing geese.

 

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An ancient magical plant used to repel demons. Used to flavour drinks especially beer, name derived from Old Saxon muggia wort meaning ‘midge plant’ after it’s ability to repel insects. Leaves may be used in tobacco. Romans placed it in their sandals believing it beneficial to the soles of their feet. Known in ancient times as bringing about the on set of labour, in the 13th century the Welsh Herbal recommended binding a sprig of mug wort to a woman’s left thigh to induce child birth but removing it immediately the child is born lest the mother should haemorrhage.

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Believed since ancient times to be an aphrodisiac, for this reason large quantities of the tubers were sold in 18th & 19th century. (when flowering the erect spadix has obvious sexual symbolism) Sometimes called Starchwort as the starch obtained from the root was used to starch ruffs in the 16th century, even though the practice caused blisters on the hands of those who used it. All parts of the fresh plant are POISONOUS, although the well baked tubers are edible, nutritious & harmless. The bruised fresh leaves were once applied externally to relieve rheumatism.

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Herbalist (4)

Once called the ‘Carpenter’s herb’ for it’s use in staunching bleeding. Nicholas Culpeper in 1652 praised the herb when taken as a decoction of leaves & flowers as an internal wound healer. Mrs. Grieve, a herbalist in 1931 said it lowered the pulse rate & equalised the circulation.

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Couch grass has long played an important role with herbalists. Pliny & Dioscorides both promoted it as improving urine flow and dissolving kidney stones. (couch grass decoction taken over several months will prevent further enlargement) Heated seeds used in hot, moist pack applied to abdomen to relieve peptic ulcers. Juice from the roots advocated for treating jaundice & liver complaints. Sick dogs eat it to induce vomiting. In times of famine the root has been roasted and ground as flour & as a coffee substitute.

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Known to Dioscorides & early Arabian physicians, but never widely employed. Used to treat diarrhoea & biliousness. A decoction provides an excellent antiseptic wash. Fruit can be used in alcoholic drinks or preserves such as marmalade. The bark was once used in leather tanning. The wood provides good quality charcoal, & is suitable for turning & marquetry.

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Cultivated over 4,000 years ago by the Egyptians. It has long been known as a diuretic, useful in treatment of rheumatic conditions as it hastens the flushing of waste products accumulated in the joints out of the body in the urine. Greek physician Dioscorides recommended decoction of asparagus root to improve urine flow & to treat kidney problems. He also recommended holding the chewed root against aching teeth. Asparagus is also a mild laxative & sedative.

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Magical Properties (4)

Alchemists believed the morning dew collected from the funnel shaped leaves had ‘magical’ properties. (‘Alchemilla’ means ‘little magical one’) The name ‘Lady’s Mantle’ is derived from the plants astringent properties & it’s 16th century use as a means of restoring a women’s virginity. Long used to regulate menstrual cycles, relieve cramps and menstrual flow, once used to facilitate childbirth. Do not use during pregnancy.

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Egyptians used dill as an ingredient in a pain killing mixture. Ancient Greeks covered their eyes in Dill fronds to induce sleep. Used as a charm in Middle Ages against witchcraft when it was burned to ward off thunder clouds. Chewing seeds improves bad breath. Used in Gripe water to settle the stomach. Dill increases milk production & when taken regularly by nursing mothers helps prevent colic in their babies.

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A decorative confectionary is made from the candied green stems. Angelica is an ingredient in the liqueur ‘Benedictine’. Protection against evil & the plague. Association with early Nordic magic. Used to improve poor circulation, long known as useful to improve the blood flow to peripheral parts of the body. Helps relieve indigestion, wind & colic. Angelica’s warming properties bring relief from bronchitis & conditions affecting the chest.

Do not take during pregnancy.

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An ancient magical plant used to repel demons. Used to flavour drinks especially beer, name derived from Old Saxon muggia wort meaning ‘midge plant’ after it’s ability to repel insects. Leaves may be used in tobacco. Romans placed it in their sandals believing it beneficial to the soles of their feet. Known in ancient times as bringing about the on set of labour, in the 13th century the Welsh Herbal recommended binding a sprig of mug wort to a woman’s left thigh to induce child birth but removing it immediately the child is born lest the mother should haemorrhage.

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Medicinal Plants (20)

Leaves immortalised as decorations on Corinthian Greek columns in 5th century B.C.

A plaster of the roots wrapped around dislocated joints relaxes & tightens & encourages the joint back into place. Crushed leaves to treat burns. The plants emollient properties treat irritated mucous membranes within the digestive & urinary tracts. Once used to relieve wind.

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Used by ancient Chinese as arrow tip poison & in medieval times to poison wolves. Never to be taken internally. Aconite preparations are applied externally as pain killers and sedatives to treat sciatica, neuralgia & rheumatic pain.

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Long used by herbalists to staunch blood flow and encourage clot formation. Mild astringent. Used for acute sore throats, chronic catarrh, diarrhoea in children, cystitis & urinary incontinence. Also used for kidney stones, rheumatism & arthritis & externally as a lotion for wounds. The whole plant yields a yellow dye.

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Once called the ‘Carpenter’s herb’ for it’s use in staunching bleeding. Nicholas Culpeper in 1652 praised the herb when taken as a decoction of leaves & flowers as an internal wound healer. Mrs. Grieve, a herbalist in 1931 said it lowered the pulse rate & equalised the circulation.

Please log in to rate this.
people found this helpful.Permalink


Couch grass has long played an important role with herbalists. Pliny & Dioscorides both promoted it as improving urine flow and dissolving kidney stones. (couch grass decoction taken over several months will prevent further enlargement) Heated seeds used in hot, moist pack applied to abdomen to relieve peptic ulcers. Juice from the roots advocated for treating jaundice & liver complaints. Sick dogs eat it to induce vomiting. In times of famine the root has been roasted and ground as flour & as a coffee substitute.

Please log in to rate this.
people found this helpful.Permalink


Alchemists believed the morning dew collected from the funnel shaped leaves had ‘magical’ properties. (‘Alchemilla’ means ‘little magical one’) The name ‘Lady’s Mantle’ is derived from the plants astringent properties & it’s 16th century use as a means of restoring a women’s virginity. Long used to regulate menstrual cycles, relieve cramps and menstrual flow, once used to facilitate childbirth. Do not use during pregnancy.

Please log in to rate this.
1 person found this helpful.Permalink


 

Cultivated for over 3,000 years. Italian gardeners developed the celery we know today. Used to treat rheumatic conditions & gout. Seeds are useful in arthritis, helping to detoxify the body & improve circulation of blood to the muscles & joints. Celery seeds are also beneficial for asthma & bronchitis & in combination with other herbs reduce blood pressure. The seeds are an effective treatment for cystitis helping to disinfect the bladder & urinary tubules.

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In cultivation since Egyptian times. Antibiotic, reduces blood pressure & blood sugar levels. Used to treat acne. Warmed juice can be dropped into the ear for ear ache. Useful in preventing oral infections & tooth decay. Baked onions used as a poultice to drain pus from sores. Long standing reputation as an aphrodisiac & used cosmetically to promote hair growth.

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Egyptian slaves building Cheops pyramid ate garlic daily to sustain strength, as did Roman soldiers. Antibacterial, weak fungicide. Gives some protection against common cold, amoeboid dysentery, typhoid & other infectious diseases. Prevents circulatory problems & strokes by keeping the blood thin. Garlic lowers cholesterol levels & blood pressure.

Parsley reduces aroma on the breath.

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Used as an antiseptic, astringent & weak sedative. The root is used in homoeopathy to treat nervous conditions & externally for the treatment of ulcers. Seeds are POISONOUS with similar effect to Monkshood ‘Aconitum’

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Egyptians used dill as an ingredient in a pain killing mixture. Ancient Greeks covered their eyes in Dill fronds to induce sleep. Used as a charm in Middle Ages against witchcraft when it was burned to ward off thunder clouds. Chewing seeds improves bad breath. Used in Gripe water to settle the stomach. Dill increases milk production & when taken regularly by nursing mothers helps prevent colic in their babies.

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people found this helpful.Permalink


A decorative confectionary is made from the candied green stems. Angelica is an ingredient in the liqueur ‘Benedictine’. Protection against evil & the plague. Association with early Nordic magic. Used to improve poor circulation, long known as useful to improve the blood flow to peripheral parts of the body. Helps relieve indigestion, wind & colic. Angelica’s warming properties bring relief from bronchitis & conditions affecting the chest.

Do not take during pregnancy.

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1 person found this helpful.Permalink


 

 

Known to Dioscorides & early Arabian physicians, but never widely employed. Used to treat diarrhoea & biliousness. A decoction provides an excellent antiseptic wash. Fruit can be used in alcoholic drinks or preserves such as marmalade. The bark was once used in leather tanning. The wood provides good quality charcoal, & is suitable for turning & marquetry.

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Once used in the treatment of obesity. Used to treat certain nervous disorders & urinary infections. Antibiotic properties, but not to be used as an antiseptic poultice as it may cause dermatitis.

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Once considered an aphrodisiac (hence it’s name) Used to protect clothes from moths. Up until the 1800’s a bunch of Southernwood & Rue was placed next to the prisoner in the dock as a preventative of contagion of ‘jail fever’. Employed in nosegays by court room & jail officials for this purpose. Once used as a powder mixed with treacle to treat worms in children. Used in aromatic baths & poultices for skin conditions. Stems yield a yellow dye.

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Named after the Greek Goddess Artemis who gave this family of plants to mankind as a gift. Although one of the bitterest herbs known it has for centuries been a major ingredient in aperitifs & herb wines. (Absinthe & Vermouth) This herb contains several substances which may adversely affect the body if taken in excess (including the hallucinogen, santonin) & for this reason produces some of the most dangerous & strongest alcoholic drinks. Has been used as a Malaria preventative. Can be used as a tea and has been used for stuffing geese.

 

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people found this helpful.Permalink


 

Essential component in French cuisine. Latin name means ‘little dragon’ after coiled serpent like root & belief that it’s use cures snake bite. While Tarragon stimulates digestion, it is a mild sedative & aids sleep. With it’s mild menstruation inducing properties it is taken if periods are delayed. Do not take during pregnancy! The root has traditionally been applied to relieve toothache.

Please log in to rate this.
people found this helpful.Permalink


An ancient magical plant used to repel demons. Used to flavour drinks especially beer, name derived from Old Saxon muggia wort meaning ‘midge plant’ after it’s ability to repel insects. Leaves may be used in tobacco. Romans placed it in their sandals believing it beneficial to the soles of their feet. Known in ancient times as bringing about the on set of labour, in the 13th century the Welsh Herbal recommended binding a sprig of mug wort to a woman’s left thigh to induce child birth but removing it immediately the child is born lest the mother should haemorrhage.

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people found this helpful.Permalink


Cultivated over 4,000 years ago by the Egyptians. It has long been known as a diuretic, useful in treatment of rheumatic conditions as it hastens the flushing of waste products accumulated in the joints out of the body in the urine. Greek physician Dioscorides recommended decoction of asparagus root to improve urine flow & to treat kidney problems. He also recommended holding the chewed root against aching teeth. Asparagus is also a mild laxative & sedative.

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Achilles reputedly used yarrow to heal his warriors. Used for centuries as a herb to staunch blood flow. Helps regulate menstrual flow, reduces bleeding & relieves period pain. Fresh leaves alleviate toothache. Combine with Elder flowers & Peppermint to relieve colds. Fresh herb for salads. Can substitute Hops in brewing. Cosmetic cleanser for greasy skin. Dried leaves used in snuff & as tobacco substitute. Said to relieve hay fever & lower blood pressure. Dried sticks used by Chinese as ‘I Ching’ sticks for divination.

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Myths & Legends (3)

 

Named after the Greek Goddess Artemis who gave this family of plants to mankind as a gift. Although one of the bitterest herbs known it has for centuries been a major ingredient in aperitifs & herb wines. (Absinthe & Vermouth) This herb contains several substances which may adversely affect the body if taken in excess (including the hallucinogen, santonin) & for this reason produces some of the most dangerous & strongest alcoholic drinks. Has been used as a Malaria preventative. Can be used as a tea and has been used for stuffing geese.

 

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Essential component in French cuisine. Latin name means ‘little dragon’ after coiled serpent like root & belief that it’s use cures snake bite. While Tarragon stimulates digestion, it is a mild sedative & aids sleep. With it’s mild menstruation inducing properties it is taken if periods are delayed. Do not take during pregnancy! The root has traditionally been applied to relieve toothache.

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people found this helpful.Permalink


An ancient magical plant used to repel demons. Used to flavour drinks especially beer, name derived from Old Saxon muggia wort meaning ‘midge plant’ after it’s ability to repel insects. Leaves may be used in tobacco. Romans placed it in their sandals believing it beneficial to the soles of their feet. Known in ancient times as bringing about the on set of labour, in the 13th century the Welsh Herbal recommended binding a sprig of mug wort to a woman’s left thigh to induce child birth but removing it immediately the child is born lest the mother should haemorrhage.

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Perfume (1)

Once considered an aphrodisiac (hence it’s name) Used to protect clothes from moths. Up until the 1800’s a bunch of Southernwood & Rue was placed next to the prisoner in the dock as a preventative of contagion of ‘jail fever’. Employed in nosegays by court room & jail officials for this purpose. Once used as a powder mixed with treacle to treat worms in children. Used in aromatic baths & poultices for skin conditions. Stems yield a yellow dye.

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Plant Dye (2)

Long used by herbalists to staunch blood flow and encourage clot formation. Mild astringent. Used for acute sore throats, chronic catarrh, diarrhoea in children, cystitis & urinary incontinence. Also used for kidney stones, rheumatism & arthritis & externally as a lotion for wounds. The whole plant yields a yellow dye.

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Once considered an aphrodisiac (hence it’s name) Used to protect clothes from moths. Up until the 1800’s a bunch of Southernwood & Rue was placed next to the prisoner in the dock as a preventative of contagion of ‘jail fever’. Employed in nosegays by court room & jail officials for this purpose. Once used as a powder mixed with treacle to treat worms in children. Used in aromatic baths & poultices for skin conditions. Stems yield a yellow dye.

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Poisons (2)

Used as an antiseptic, astringent & weak sedative. The root is used in homoeopathy to treat nervous conditions & externally for the treatment of ulcers. Seeds are POISONOUS with similar effect to Monkshood ‘Aconitum’

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Believed since ancient times to be an aphrodisiac, for this reason large quantities of the tubers were sold in 18th & 19th century. (when flowering the erect spadix has obvious sexual symbolism) Sometimes called Starchwort as the starch obtained from the root was used to starch ruffs in the 16th century, even though the practice caused blisters on the hands of those who used it. All parts of the fresh plant are POISONOUS, although the well baked tubers are edible, nutritious & harmless. The bruised fresh leaves were once applied externally to relieve rheumatism.

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