Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The plant, which is in the same family as dandelions, was originally introduced to Africans and Europeans by Native Americans. Various groups used the plant differently but for the most part the dried leaves and flowering ends were used to treat digestive problems as well as colds and fevers. For these ends, the plant was brewed in a tea.
Before I go further, though, it is important to mention that fresh boneset is toxic and will, at the very least, induce vomiting. In fact, Scott Cunningham lists boneset as "not recommended for internal use" and I would advise the same.
In hoodoo, boneset is used mostly for protective and healing rituals. The plant is added to mojo bags carried to prevent jinxing and illness as well as snake bites. Dried boneset leaves were once rubbed all over the body of someone who felt they had been tricked into ingesting poison or magickally attacked. The leaves were then taken outside and burned to carry away the negative energy. Bathing in water to which a tea of boneset has been added is thought to encourage healing after an illness.
Pow-Wows also used boneset for protection, carrying a bit of the plant as a pocket piece to that end. Silver RavenWolf advises that she hangs a sprig of boneset from her rear view mirror for long car trips to protect against accidents. She also notes that dried boneset and five-finger grass should be sprinkled around an orange candle charged with the intention of landing a job. Light the candle and let it burn out while concentrating on the job you desire. Try putting your resume or a copy of an application under the candle to personalize the spell. Any remaining wax, along with the herbs, should be buried in a houseplant or somewhere in your yard.
Also according to RavenWolf, mothers practicing Pow-Wow have been known to surreptitiously dip a sprig of boneset into the beverage of an unfit suitor to turn the person's ardor away from their child. One has to imagine that the ill-effects of the plant worked their not-really-magickal touch like a charm. It's hard to feel amorous when you're throwing up, after all. Bonne chance ~
Header: The Glass of Wine by Vermeer via Wikimedia