It probably goes without saying that plantain is used in Santeria and Voudon. Both Cuban and Haitian cuisines use the fruit, so making use of all parts of the plant in magickal and spiritual workings is no at all surprising. Plantains are also utilized in Wicca, American hoodoo and another less well known American magickal system called Pow-Wow.
All three disciplines agree that plantain can be used to ward off snakes; carrying plantain root as a pocket piece is the most common recommendation. Some root workers place dried plantain leaves in a blue flannel bag in their car to prevent it being stolen. Plantain leaves used as decoration in the home are also said to deter thieves.
Wiccans use the leaves to ease headaches. Scott Cunningham recommends tying them to the afflicted person’s head with red yarn. He also mentions placing them beneath the feet to relieve weariness.
Similar uses for plantain can be found in the Pennsylvania Dutch faith healing system known as Pow-Wow. In her comprehensive 1995 book on the subject, American Folk Magick, Silver RavenWolf notes that the leaves can be used to “… rid oneself of headaches or weariness…” She also recommends placing a poultice of crushed plantain on the skin for ten minutes to alleviate the pain and swelling of bee stings.
Since, as hoodoo expert Catherine Yronwode notes at her Lucky Mojo Curio Co. website, Pow-Wow practice has greatly influenced hoodoo, it is not surprising to see similar uses for this and many other herbs in both disciplines. If you would like to know more about Pow-Wow, I cannot recommend Ms. RavenWolf’s book enough. It is available directly from Llewellyn Publications and at Amazon. Bonne chance ~
Header: A postcard from
Pennsylvania Dutch country; Berks County Pennsylvania