Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Purslane, which is basically a weed in mild to warm climates and – at least to me – has a very Medieval ring to its name, is used in hoodoo, Wicca and Pow-Wow.  We’ll call this dainty herb purslane for the purposes of this post because that sounds so much better than pigweed.

In Wicca, the flowers, stems and roots of purslane have broad uses.  The flowers are carried as pocket pieces to bring luck in love and keep evil away.  Dried purslane is sprinkled in the corners of homes and workplaces to keep things peaceful and running smoothly.  Old wives advised their daughters to lay  a sprig of purslane on a restless child’s pillow, as it was thought to ward off nightmares.  They also sent their sons into battle with a handful of purslane to guard them against harm.  I wonder, did Saint Jeanne’s mother press a sprig of purslane into her little girl’s hand before she went off to free Orleans?

Pow-Wow and hoodoo treat purslane similarly, which is a fair hint that this use of the herb came to both disciplines through American Natives.  Dried purslane is combined with patchouli leaves and anise seeds.  This herbal mix is steeped in oil and then the oil is used to anoint the forehead before engaging in divination.  A little dried purslane sprinkled in the box or bag in which you keep your fortune telling cards is thought to enhance their effectiveness as well.

Hoodoos also burn dried purslane for protection against evil spirits.  The effects are said to be enhanced when purslane is combined with a premixed warding or blessing incense.

Ingesting purslane is not recommended, particularly for pregnant women; frequent dosing can cause or exacerbate kidney stones.  In other words, use this stuff externally.  Bonne chance ~

Header: St. Jeanne d’Arc statue in New Orleans via NOLAFemmes


Timmy! said...

Purslane definitely sounds better than pigweed, Pauline.

Pauline said...

It does; really hard to argue with that.