Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Poke Salad Annie is a 1969 song written and performed by Tony Joe White. It was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Its lyrics describe the lifestyle of a generic Southern girl. ~ via Wikipedia

Most of us who have a fondness for blues have heard the song about Poke Salad Annie but the interesting bit, to me, is the connection between Mr. White, Louisiana hoodoo and the plant known as poke. Mr. White grew up in Louisiana and himself dined more than once on salad made from the greens that grow up from the plant in early spring. As Mr. White may very well have been aware, more than salad has been made of poke, not only in hoodoo but in other disciplines as well.

Poke is considered purifying when the greens are steeped like a tea and ingested. That said, it is important to take care when one is working with poke. While the greens are generally edible, the root – which is used in uncrossing work – can be highly toxic in large doses and in fact should not be ingested at all.

Poke root can be soaked in Reversing or Uncrossing Oil for a month, after which the oil is strained and then rubbed on the body to undo a jinx. Powdered poke root can be sprinkled on the footprint of an enemy to keep them away from you. Dirt from an enemy’s foot print is sometimes collected, mixed with the dried root and thrown into running water to force the person to move away.

Wiccans boil powdered poke root in water and sprinkle the resulting liquid around their homes at the New Moon to lift curses. It can also be added to ritual bathwater for the same result. As noted, any infusion of poke root should not be ingested. Scott Cunningham also notes that the leaves are carried to impart courage and that the berries can be crushed to make magickal inks.

Just remember to be careful when harvesting poke in swampy areas. As it says in the song, she was picking poke when the gators got Annie’s Granny. Bonne chance ~

Header: The Cabbage Pickers by John L. Moran


Timmy! said...

I'm not familiar with poke, Pauline.

Bummer about Granny, though...

Pauline said...

The worst part of Poke Salad Annie's song wasn't Granny's grizzly demise, either; it was the revelation that Annie's Mama was workin' on a chain gang. Everybody said that was a shame.