Herbs & Oils
YARROW: (Achillea millefolium) Also known
as Seven Year's Love, Milfoil, and Woundwort. The flowering tops
are a digestive and cleaning tonic and a diuretic and are used to
reduce high blood pressure. Fresh leaves arrest bleeding and are
applied as a poultice to wounds or are placed on shaving cuts. One
of the true treasures of the earth, Yarrow essential oil is
naturally blue and possesses an incredible scent. The oil treats
colds , flu, and inflamed joints.
This is a
classic herb for flu, especially the intestinal variety. Try a
mixture of elderflower, peppermint, and yarrow to bring down a
fever and induce perspiration. The tea benefits the kidneys. Yarrow
is used in salves for hemorrhoids and in poultices to stop bleding
and help heal wounds. Cramps and rheumatism are treated with the
tea, as are intestinal gas, diarrhea, anorexia, and
Parts Used: Above-ground portions of the
Magical Uses: Large patches of yarrow growing in
a field indicate a very grounded energy spot. Sit there to center
and relax. Yarrow is used to exorcise evil and negativity from a
person, place or thing. A bunch of dried yarrow hung over the bed
or yarrow used in wedding decorations ensures a love lasting at
least seven years. Use in spells for: Divination; Love; Happy
Marriage; Wards Negativity; Defense; Protection; Gather at Litha;
Psychic Awareness; Banishing; Releasing; Clairvoyance.
Aromatherapy Uses: Acne; Burns; Cuts; Eczema;
Hair Rinse; Inflammation; Rashes; Scars; Wounds; Arteriosclerosis,
High Blood Pressure; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Thrombosis; Varicose
Veins; Constipation; Cramps; Flatulence; Hemorrhoids; Indigestion;
Amenorrhea; Colds; Fever; Flu; Cystitis; Hypertension; Insomnia;
Stress Related Conditions. Key Qualities: Balancing; Restorative;
Tonic; Strengthening; Opening; Grounding; Revitalizing; Mildly
YLANG-YLANG: (Cananga odorata) Ylang-ylang
has glossy leaves and masses of perfumed, greenish-yellow
(sometimes mauve or pink) flowers with narrow petals that resemble
witch hazel flowers but appear during two flowering periods. The
essential oil is distilled by steam from freshly picked flowers and
is featured in many perfumes, soaps, skin lotions, and to balance
sebum in Macasser hair oil. Use in moderation, since the oil's
heady scent can cause headaches or nausea. Ylang-Ylang means
"flower of flowers".
Magical Uses: (Oil) Useful for Peace, Love and
Sex Spells. It can be worn on the body or included in mixtures for
Aromatherapy Uses: (Oil)Acne; Hair Growth; Hair
Rinse; Insect Bites; Irritated and Oily Skin; General Skin Care;
High Blood Pressure; Palpitations; Depression; Frigidity;
Impotence; Insomnia; Nervous Tension; Stress Related Disorders. Key
Qualities: Powerfully Sedative; Soothing; Calming; Regulating;
Euphoria-inducing; and narcotic when used in large quantities;
Dioscorea Villosa (LINN.)
---Synonyms---Dioscorea. Colic Root. Rheumatism Root.
---Habitat---Southern United States and
---Description---There are upwards of 150 varieties of
Dioscorea, many, like the potato, being edible. An Indo-Chinese
species is used as a dye in Southern China. Dioscorea
Villosa is a perennial, twining plant, with long, knotty,
matted, contorted, ligneous root-stocks. The root is long,
branched, crooked, and woody, the taste being insipid, afterwards
acrid, and having no odour. It is usually sold in pieces of various
lengths, which are difficult to pulverize, as the root flattens out
when this is attempted. The therapeutical value is lost after the
first year, so that it should be freshly gathered and carefully
dried each year.
---Constituents---Much saponin has been found in the
roots, and a substance improperly called dioscorein, obtained by
precipitating the tincture with water.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antispasmodic. Perhaps
the best relief and promptest cure for bilious colic, especially
helpful in the nausea of pregnant women. Valuable also in painful
cholera morbus with cramps, neuralgic affections, spasmodic
hiccough and spasmodic asthma.
---Dosage---1/2 to 1 drachm of fluid extract.
Dioscorein, 1/4 to 4 grains.
---Poisonous, if any, with Antidotes---An alkaloid
separated from the Javanese D. hirsuta has been found to be
a convulsive poison, resembling picrotoxin, but much
Achillea millefolium (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Milfoil. Old Man's Pepper. Soldier's
Woundwort. Knight's Milfoil. Herbe Militaris. Thousand Weed. Nose
Bleed. Carpenter's Weed. Bloodwort. Staunchweed. Sanguinary.
Devil's Nettle. Devil's Plaything. Bad Man's Plaything.
(Swedish) Field Hop.
---Habitat---Yarrow grows everywhere, in the grass, in
meadows, pastures, and by the roadside. As it creeps greatly by its
roots and multiplies by seeds it becomes a troublesome weed in
gardens, into which it is seldom admitted in this country, though
it is cultivated in the gardens of Madeira.
Yarrow is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon name for the plant
- gearwe; the Dutch, yerw.
---Description---The stem is angular and rough, the
leaves alternate, 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch broad, clasping the
stem at the base, bipinnatifid, the segments very finely cut,
giving the leaves a feathery appearance.
from June to September, the flowers, white or pale lilac, being
like minute daisies, in flattened, terminal, loose heads, or cymes.
The whole plant is more or less hairy, with white, silky appressed
formerly much esteemed as a vulnerary, and its old names of
Soldier's Wound Wort and Knight's Milfoil testify to this. The
Highlanders still make an ointment from it, which they apply to
wounds, and Milfoil tea is held in much repute in the Orkneys for
dispelling melancholy. Gerard tells us it is the same plant with
which Achilles stanched the bleeding wounds of his soldiers, hence
the name of the genus, Achillea. Others say that it was
discovered by a certain Achilles, Chiron's disciple. It was called
by the Ancients, the Herba Militaris, the military
specific name, millefolium, is derived from the many
segments of its foliage, hence also its popular name, Milfoil and
Thousand Weed. Another popular name for it is Nosebleed, from its
property of stanching bleeding of the nose, though another reason
given for this name is that the leaf, being rolled up and applied
to the nostrils, causes a bleeding from the nose, more or less
copious, which will thus afford relief to headache. Parkinson tells
us that 'if it be put into the nose, assuredly it will stay the
bleeding of it' - so it seems to act either way.
It was one
of the herbs dedicated to the Evil One, in earlier days, being
sometimes known as Devil's Nettle, Devil's Plaything, Bad Man's
Plaything, and was used for divination in spells.
Yarrow, in the eastern counties, is termed
Yarroway, and there is a curious mode of divination with its
serrated leaf, with which the inside of the nose is tickled while
the following lines are spoken. If the operation causes the nose to
bleed, it is a certain omen of success:
'Yarroway, Yarroway, bear a white
If my love love me, my nose will bleed
An ounce of Yarrow sewed up in flannel and
placed under the pillow before going to bed, having repeated the
following words, brought a vision of the future husband or
'Thou pretty herb of Venus'
Thy true name it is Yarrow;
Now who my bosom friend must
Pray tell thou me to-morrow.'
---(Halliwell's Popular Rhymes,
been employed as snuff, and is also called Old Man's Pepper, on
account of the pungency of its foliage. Both flowers and leaves
have a bitterish, astringent, pungent taste.
seventeenth century it was an ingredient of salads.
Used---The whole plant, stems, leaves and flowers, collected in
the wild state, in August, when in flower.
---Constituents---A dark green, volatile oil, a peculiar
principle, achillein, and achilleic acid, which is said to
be identical with aconitic acid, also resin, tannin, gum and earthy
ash, consisting of nitrates, phosphates and chlorides of potash and
Action and Uses---Diaphoretic, astringent, tonic, stimulant and
is a good remedy for severe colds, being most useful in the
commencement of fevers, and in cases of obstructed perspiration.
The infusion is made with 1 OZ. of dried herb to 1 pint of boiling
water, drunk warm, in wineglassful doses. It may be sweetened with
sugar, honey or treacle, adding a little Cayenne Pepper, and to
each dose a teaspoonful of Composition Essence. It opens the pores
freely and purifies the blood, and is recommended in the early
stages of children's colds, and in measles and other eruptive
decoction of the whole plant is employed for bleeding piles, and is
good for kidney disorders. It has the reputation also of being a
preventative of baldness, if the head be washed with
---Preparations---Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. An
ointment made by the Highlanders of Scotland of the fresh herb is
good for piles, and is also considered good against the scab in
essential oil has been extracted from the flowers, but is not now
recommended the bruised herb, fresh, as an excellent vulnerary and
styptic. It is employed in Norway for the cure of rheumatism, and
the fresh leaves chewed are said to cure toothache.
it is called 'Field Hop' and has been used in the manufacture of
beer. Linnaeus considered beer thus brewed more intoxicating than
when hops were used.
It is said
to have a similar use in Africa.
spoke of Yarrow as a profitable herb in cramps, and Parkinson
recommends a decoction to be drunk warm for ague.
medicinal values of the Yarrow and the Sneezewort (A.
millefolium and A. ptarmica), once famous in physic,
were discarded officially in 1781.
Yellow Yarrow (A. tomentosa) is very rare, and a doubtful
native; its leaves are divided and woolly, the flowers bright
See Parilla, Yellow.
Frankenia grandifloria (CHAM. and SCHLECHT)
---Synonyms---Frankenia. Flux Herb.
---Habitat---California, Nevada, Arizona and Northern
---Description---A small, shrubby plant, with a
prostrate, much-branched stem, about 6 inches long, growing in
sandy places. It is salty to the taste, leaving an astringent
aftertaste. It has no odour.
---Constituents---It contains about 6 per cent of
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent. The herb is
used as a remedy in catarrhal affections, especially of the nose
and genitourinary tract.
diluted with from two to five times its volume of water, it may be
used as an injection or spray.
also be taken internally.
---Dosage---Of fluid extract, 10 to 20
Eriodictyon glutinosum (BENTH.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Mountain Balm. Consumptive's Weed. Gum Bush.
Bear's Weed. Holy or Sacred Herb. Eriodictyon Californicum (Hook
---Habitat---California, Northern Mexico.
---Description---A low, shrubby evergreen plant, 2 to 4
feet high, found growing abundantly in clumps on dry hills in
California and Northern Mexico. The stem is smooth, usually
branched near the ground, and covered with a peculiar glutinous
resin, which covers all the upper side of the plant. Leaves, thick
and leathery, smooth, of a yellowish colour, their upper side
coated with a brownish varnish-like resin, the under surface being
yellowish-white reticulated and tomentose, with a prominent midrib,
alternate, attached by short petioles, at acute angle with the
base; shape, elliptical, narrow, 2 to 5 inches long 3/4 inch wide,
acute and tapering to a short leaf-stalk at the base. The margin of
the leaf, dentate, unequal, bluntly undulate. The flowers, bluish,
in terminal clusters of six to ten, in a one-sided raceme, the
corolla funnel-like, calyx sparsely hirsute.
---Constituents---The chief constituents are five
phenolic bodies, eriodictyol, homoeriodictyol, chrysocriol,
zanthoeridol and eridonel. Free formic and other acids, glycerides
of fatty acids; a yellow volatile oil; a phytosterol, a quantity of
resin, some glucose. Taste, balsamic and sweetish, afterwards
acrid, but not bitter, recalls Dulcamara and creates a flow of
saliva. Odour, aromatic. The leaves are brittle when dry, but
flexible in a warm, moist atmosphere. Eriodictyon
Californicum is official in the United States Dispensary.
Alcohol is the best agent for the fluid extract of the dried
Action and Uses---Recommended for bronchial and laryngeal
troubles and in chronic pulmonary affections, in the treatment of
asthma and hay-fever in combination with Grindelia robusta.
Likewise advised for haemorrhoids and chronic catarrh of the
bladder. Much used in California as a bitter tonic and a
stimulating balsamic expectorant and is a most useful vehicle to
disguise the unpleasant taste of quinine. Male fern and Hydrastis.
In asthma, the leaves are often smoked. Aromatic syrup is the best
vehicle for quinine.
---Dosage---15 to 60 grains.
Species---E. tomentosum, often found growing next to
E. Californicum, especially in South California, but is
easily distinguished from E. Californicum, being a larger
shrub, and having a dense coat of short, villous hairs, colouring
with age, whity-rusty; corolla, salver-shaped; leaves oval or
oblong, and obtuse.
N.O. Taxaceae and Coniferae
---Poisonous Parts---Leaves, seed and fruit.
---Habitat---Europe, North Africa, Western
---Description---A tree 40 to 50 feet high, forming with
age a very stout trunk covered with red-brown, peeling bark and
topped with a rounded or wide-spreading head of branches; leaves
spirally attached to twigs, but by twisting of the stalks brought
more or less into two opposed ranks, dark, glossy, almost
black-green above, grey, pale-green or yellowish beneath, 1/2 to 1
1/2 inches long, 1/16 to 1/12 inch wide. Flowers unisexual, with
the sexes invariably on different trees, produced in spring from
the leaf axils of the preceding summer's twigs. Male, a globose
cluster of stamens; female, an ovule surrounded by small bracts,
the so-called fruit bright red, sometimes yellow, juicy and
encloses the seed.
No tree is
more associated with the history and legends of Great Britain than
the Yew. Before Christianity was introduced it was a sacred tree
favoured by the Druids, who built their temples near these trees -
a custom followed by the early Christians. The association of the
tree with places of worship still prevails.
of poisoning amongst cattle have resulted from eating parts of the
---Constituents---The fruit and seeds seem to be the
most poisonous parts of the tree. An alkaloid taxine has been
obtained from the seeds; this is a poisonous, white, crystalline
powder, only slightly soluble in water; another principle,
Milossin, has also been found.
wood was formerly much valued in archery for the making of long
bows. The wood is said to resist the action of water and is very
hard, and, before the use of iron became general, was greatly
valued. (In homoeopathy a tincture of the young shoots and also of
the berries is used in a variety of diseases: cystitis, eruptions,
headache and neuralgia, affections of the heart and kidneys,
dimness of vision, and gout and rheurmatism.