Folkloric plants

The subject of folklore came up on another thread and I'm sure there are more than a couple of us interested in old tales.

The Druids had 4 Sacred Herbs, although they used many the top 4 were really magical, they were:

Vervain - Verbena officinalis, Watermint - Mentha aquatica, Meadowsweet - Fillipendula ulmaria and Mistletoe

Currently my wildflower garden is covered in misty looking grass seeds heads and the Vervain appear to be floating like tiny pink ghosts above them. Unless you know the plant is there they can take you by surprise. To see it like this you can see why it was thought magical. It was used for divination and incantations by the Druids who also used it as a magic medicine.

Vervain was gathered at the rising of the dog star, but at a time when neither the Sun nor Moon was above the earth to see it. They then left honey and honeycombs on the ground to amend 'The wrong and the violence done in depriving her of so holy a herb. Druids took Vervain to Rome with them where the Romans used it in budles to sweep the alter floors, they named it Verbena which means alter-plant it even had a festival named after it. Roman brides wore it at their weddings and messangers who told of war wore it to grant them immunity.

Such respect for an unassuming little plant.

Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

baa, my mother once made wine out of meadowsweet, it was absolutely gorgeous! do you have any growing near you? you should try it, it is magic medicine! i'll see if she still has the recipe. vervain has such a lovely rich smell, i have some essential oil for aromatherapy.



I grow Meadowsweet, its one of my favourite plants, I especially love the scent. It has a beautiful scent but must never be in a closed room if you cut the flowers, they contain prussic acid and can cause quite an ill effect. Apparently it is also rich in vitamin C (if I recall rightly).

Its been used for many things, medicinally and non med, over the years, I think its most popular use was as part of a brides bouquet and as a strewing herb.

It does make a good wine (but I'm teetotal) and was also used in mead, I have a recipe for Meadowsweet beer somewhere. Maybe you could put the recipe up here or on the recipe forum, I'm sure many will love to read it and I think I have friends who would love it too.

Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I'll ask her when i see her next, probably next week.


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