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Basil

Ocimum basilicum
MEDICINAL: Basil is used to treat stomach cramps, vomiting, fevers, colds, flu, headaches, whooping cough, and menstrual pains. It is also used to reduce stomach acid, making it a valuable part of any treatment for ulcers, and a valuable addition to any recipe using tomatoes for those with sensitive stomachs. Externally, it can be used for insect bites, to draw out the poisons. It has been used in other countries to eliminate worms from the intestines, and the oil from basil leaves is applied directly to the skin to treat acne.

RELIGIOUS: Basil protects from evil and negativity, and aids in attracting and keeping love. It is used for purification baths, and in wealth and prosperity rituals. Carrying a basil leaf in your pocket brings wealth, and if powdered basil is sprinked over your mate while they sleep, it is supposed to eliminate infidelity from your marriage.

GROWING: Basil will grow in any well-drained, fairly rich soil, and full sun. It can be grown throughout most of North America. It is an annual, which reaches 2-3 feet tall. Pinch off the tips to promote bushiness and flower buds to maintain growth.

Bayberry

Myrica cerifera
MEDICINAL: Bayberry, taken in small doses, increases the vitality of your total body systems, improving circulation. It can also be used as a poultice over varicose veins to strengthen the blood vessels. A douche made of the tea is used for vaginal infections. Tea made of Bayberry is a good gargle for sore throat and tonsillitis.

RELIGIOUS: The oil of Bayberry will bring prosperity and luck.

Bay Laurel

Laurus nobilis
RELIGIOUS: The leaves are burned to enhance psychic powers and to produce visions. Worn in an amulet, it will provide protection from evil and negativity. The leaves are used as decorations during the Yule season, and placed in your window it will protect against lightning striking your house. Write a wish on a bay leaf and then burn it if you want the wish to come true. Sprinkling the crushed leaves in your cupboards will keep out cockroaches and other insect pests.

Bergamot

Monarda citriodora
MEDICINAL: Also known as Oswego tea and Bee Balm. It is used to treat nausea and vomiting, and cold and flu relief. The essential oil is used to treat acne, coughs, fevers, tension, stress, and depression.

MAGICKAL: Used in money and success spells and rituals.

GROWING: Bergamot grows to 2 feet tall, and is a member of the mint family, so grow it as you would a mint.

Bistort

Polygonum bistorta
MEDICINAL: Bistort root, when ground and mixed with echinacea, myrrh, and goldenseal, is a great dressing for cuts and other wounds. It is also a powerful astringent, used by mixing a teaspoon in a cup of boiled water, and drunk several times a day, as a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. The same mixture can be used as a gargle for sore throats. Bistort is good to drive out infectious disease, and is effective for all internal and external bleeding.

RELIGIOUS: An amulet fashioned of the root of Bistort is carried when one wishes to conceive. Sprinkle an infusion of bistort around your home to keep out unwanted visitors of the mischievous variety, such as poltergeists, sprites, etc.

GROWING: Bistort prefers damp soils, such as in cultivated fields. It is native to Europe, but has been grown in Nova Scotia and as far south as Massachusetts. It is a perennial that reaches up to 30 inches tall.

Blackberry

Rubus villosus
MEDICINAL: A syrup made from the root is used to treat diarrhea and upset stomach (good for treating children). An infusion of the leaves is good for treating diarrhea and sore throat.

RELIGIOUS: Blackberry leaves are used in money spells, as are the berries.

GROWING: Blackberries are perennial vines that grow in many areas, depending on the variety. They require full sun, ver good air circulation, fertile soil that is kept moist, not soggy. Do not grow where you have grown other fruits or vegetables, to avoid transferring diseases to the young vines. Some varieties need pollinators, so check with your local nurseries to find a variety best suited to your needs and climate.

Black Cohosh

Cimcifuga racemosa
MEDICINAL: Black Cohosh is useful in all conditions dealing with arthritis. It improves blood circulation, and is used in treating delayed and painful menstruation, and is often used in conjunction with other herbs in treating menopause symptoms. It should not be used during pregnancy. Black Cohosh can be poisonous in large doses. It contains a chemical much like estrogen, so those advised by their doctor's not to take the Pill shoud avoid using this herb.

RELIGIOUS: Black Cohosh leaves laid around a room is said to drive away bugs, and to drive away negativity.

GROWING: Black Cohosh grows in open woody areas. It needs good soil and partial to mostly shade to do well. It has been grown as far south as Georgia, and as far west as Missouri. It is a perennial which reaches 3 - 8 feet tall.

Blessed Thistle

Cnicus benedictus
MEDICINAL: Blessed Thistle is used to strengthen the heart, and is useful in all remedies for lung, kidney, and liver problems. It is also used as a brain food for stimulating the memory. It is used in remedies for menopause and for menstrual cramping. Often used by lactating women to stimulate blood flow to the mammary glands and increases the flow of milk.

GROWING: Blessed Thistle is generally found along roadsides and in wastelands. It is an annual, and reaches to 2 feet tall. Most folks consider this a pesky weed, so cultivation is not common. Try gathering some for yourself from the wild, if you dare the stickers - buying commercial is best!

Blue Cohosh

Caulophylum thalictroides
MEDICINAL: Blue Cohosh is used to regulate the menstrual flow. It is also used for suppressed menstruation. Native Americans used this herb during childbirth to ease the pain and difficulty that accompany birthing, as well as to induce labor. This herb should not be taken during pregnancy, and should be taken in very small amounts in conjunction with other herbs, such as Black Cohosh.

GROWING: Blue Cohosh grows best in deep, loamy, moist woodlands. The berry of this plant is poisonous, and the plant itself can irritate the skin. The root is the part used in herbal medicine. It has a range from southern Canada, as far south as the Carolinas, and as far west as Missouri. This herb is best purchased from the stores, rather than cultivated.

Boneset

Eupatorium perfoliatum
MEDICINAL: Used for treating severe fevers, as well as flu and catarrh conditions. One to two tablespoons of the tincture in hot water is used for sweat therapy to break fevers.

RELIGIOUS: An infusion sprinked around the house will drive away evil spirits and negativity.

GROWING:Boneset prefers damp to moist rich soils. It is a North American native perennial that reaches 2 to 4 feet high, and grows in partial sun.

Borage

Borago officinalis
MEDICINAL: Used for treating bronchitis, rashes, and to increase mother's milk. The infusion is used as an eyewash.

RELIGIOUS: Carrying the fresh blossoms brings courage. The tea will induce your psychic powers.

GROWING: Borage was once widely planted in gardens throughout Europe. It was brought to the United States, and now grows wild in much of the eastern half of the nation. It is an annual that grows in most soils, tolerates dry spells, and prefers full sun, reaching to 2 feet in height.

Burdock

Arctium lappa
MEDICINAL: Burdock Root is used to treat skin diseases, boils, fevers, inflammations, hepatitis, swollen glands, some cancers, and fluid retention. It is an excellent blood purifier. A tea made of the leaves of Burdock is also used for indigestion. Very useful for building the systems of young women. Helps clear persistent teenage acne if taken for three to four weeks. Used with dandelion root for a very effective liver cleanser and stimulator.

RELIGIOUS: Used to ward off all sorts of negativity, making it invaluable for protective amulets and sachets. Add to potpourri in the house.

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