Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mercredi: Herbal-Wise

Nettle is a common weed in cooler climates all over the world.  Known to Native shaman, old wives and root workers alike, nettle’s most common use is to break and turn away jinxes.  But there is so much more to the ancient history of this herb.

In hoodoo nettle is used specifically to dispel evil.  A tea of nettle and rue is added to baths along with a handful of black salt to lift curses and crossed conditions.  At least some of the bathwater should be thrown out the front door of the home to seal the cure.

Both natives in North America and old wives in Europe recommended nettle tea for pregnant women to strengthen the fetus and ease labor.  After the baby’s birth, nettle tea continued to be prescribed to encourage milk production.  Dried nettle was also sprinkled on the feed given to dairy cows for the same purpose.

According to Scott Cunningham, nettle should be carried in a sachet or stuffed into a poppet to remove a curse and send it back.  Wiccans sprinkle dried nettle around the home to ward off evil.  It can also be thrown into a fire to prevent harm coming to home or person and it is held in the right hand to ward off ghosts, particularly while walking alone at night near haunted ground.  Putting a bowl full of nettle clippings under the bed of a sick person is thought to aid healing.

Pow-Wow also uses nettle, and for similar purposes.  Silver RavenWolf says that a combination of nettle and yarrow makes a powerful amulet against fear.  Scott Cunningham agrees, saying the two will also dispel negativity.  Pow-Wows also use dried nettle to enhance lust, and sprinkle it over the bedclothes of the sick to encourage recovery.

A very old German “spell”, which probably originated in one form or another prior to the widespread success of Christianity in the Middle Ages, saw farmers using nettle to remove maggot infestations from their cows’ hooves.  In Highroad to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft, Michael Kunze says the nettle should be picked before sunrise and held between both hands.  The farmer should then recite:

Nettle, nettle, hear forsooth,
Our cow’s got maggots in her hoof,
If you don’t drive the maggots out,
I’ll twist your collar round about!

The nettle stem was then twisted until it broke off and both pieces were tossed over the farmer’s head.  If all steps of this process were repeated three days in a row, the cow would be cured.

Finally, nettle has been used for centuries as a bandage in cases of bleeding.  The leaves should be bruised slightly to allow the juice to flow and then applied to the bloody wound before bandaging to help with clotting.  Bonne chance ~

Header: Cows in a Pasture by Marie Dieterle Van Marcke de Lummen


Timmy! said...

That German “spell” seems more like a threat, Pauline.

Pauline said...

I agree but then that's the way some of these older workings come across. I just wonder if it ever worked...