👻 Ghost Pipes ~ A Phantom-Like Pain Killer

Disclaimer: The following is an exploration of a plant that has been traditionally used for pain and mental illness. It is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended for diagnosis nor treatment. If you are suffering, know that there are resources out there to help you. Please contact the help line if you are in need :heart:

Ghost Pipes

Ghost Pipes

Monotropa uniflora

Keep a lowered gaze on your next walk in the woods and you may spot some curious little ghosts. Pale white and spooky-looking, these are Ghost Pipes - a mysterious plant with some unique properties and potential uses.

Ghost Pipes are categorized as a flowering plant, but unlike many plants, Ghost Pipes don’t get their nutrients directly from the sun - instead, they are parasites, feeding off of the nutrients of mushrooms deep beneath the soil.

Wikipedia states that Ghost Pipes can be found in North America, South America, and parts of Asia, but with “large gaps between areas”. The unique nature of this plant, which doesn’t require sunlight but does require pollination, means that Ghost Pipes are often found in dark areas of the forest :evergreen_tree:

:warning: Although not listed as an endangered species, Ghost Pipes are rare and have been overharvested in some areas. If you choose to collect Ghost Pipes, please harvest mindfully and respectfully.


Piture from Health Benefits Times: Ghost Pipe Facts and Uses

Folklore

Ghost Pipes have attracted attention for their curious qualities throughout history, fascinating artists and nature-lovers alike.

They were said to have been the favorite plant of poet Emiliy Dickinson. She wrote one surviving poem about Ghost Pipes (historically called “Indian Pipes”).

'Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe –
'Tis dimmer than a Lace –
No stature has it, like a Fog
When you approach the place –
Not any voice imply it here –
Or intimate it there –
A spirit – how doth it accost –
What function hath the Air?
This limitless Hyperbole
Each one of us shall be –
'Tis Drama – if Hypothesis
It be not Tragedy –

'Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe by Emily Dickinson, shared by the Morgan Library

One Native American legend says that Ghost Pipes grow where friends once quarrelled.

A Cherokee legend about Ghost Pipe tells of a time long ago, when selfishness first entered the world, and people began quarreling. First, they quarreled with their own families and tribal members, and then with other tribes. The chiefs of several tribes met together to try to solve the disputes, and smoked a peace pipe together, while continuing to quarrel with each other for seven days and seven nights. In punishment for smoking the peace pipe before actually making peace, the Great Spirit turned the chiefs into grey flowers and made them grow where relatives and friends had quarreled.

From Into the Haunted Forest: Ghost Pipes by Clary Greacen Montagne


Picture from Foraging Guru: A Forager’s Guide to Ghost Pipes

Medicine

Ghost Pipes have become highly prized in the medicinal world as they are believed to help deal with pain. They are especially noted for dealing with pain from mental illness and recent loss.

On a nature walk with a local herbalist, I was told that Ghost Pipes are particularly useful for handling grief. The herbalist said that after taking a prepared dosage of Ghost Pipes, the person feels as though their grief, though still lingering, is happening to the person next to them. It puts distance between you and what you are going through.

The following notes are my own personal notes taken from talking with the herbalist. Her name has been removed to preserve privacy.

How to take Ghost Pipes: Take as a tincture. Can make using vodka- makes a beautiful purple color. Only three drops under tongue. Should NOT take if you have heart problems. Side effects include heart palpitations and a disconnect.

The herbalist said she had no bad effects when she took it as intended (3 drops under the tongue as a tincture). But she experimented again just to see how much she could take and took a higher dose - she had heart palpitations for like 3 weeks (note that she has a heart murmur). She said the grief was like it was happening to someone next to her.

:warning: Please note that sources differ about the toxicity level of Ghost Pipes - some claim it is safe for consumption, while other sources say it is toxic. If you are interested in working more with this plant, please do careful research and harvest/prepare with a herbalist who is already familiar with Ghost Pipes.


Picture from Canva: Ghost Pipe

Magick

Ghost Pipes - in appearance, function, and medicinal use - are associated with death, loss, and transformation. They help those who feel torn between this world and the next by providing comfort and relief to those who find themselves outside of the light.

A mirror to its medicinal properties, Ghost Pipes can be used magically to banish pain, remove suffering, offer comfort, and guide one to begin their healing journey.

Their properties make them a good addition to Shadow Work, Healing Magick, and New Moon Magick.

Have you ever seen a Ghost Pipe? What do you think about this spooky plant?

Feel free to share your spell experiences, advice, and wisdom with fellow coven members in the comments below.

Blessed Be :ghost:



Sources and Additional Reading:

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What an interesting little plant - I had never heard of them before you shared them here! Next time I’m out and about in the forest I’ll have to see if I can spot some.

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Well I’m gonna buy the seeds ASAP and try to grow these indoor for fun

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Magick Gardens 2024

Very cool information! The first time I saw a ghost pipe was, you guessed it, on a run :laughing: last year. They are really interesting looking plants but I didn’t know their medicinal aspects. Good to know!

I’m still looking for my photos of them on my phone :eyes:

Thank you for the wonderful post :white_heart: :green_heart:

I’ll have to keep an eye out for them as I’m sure we’re in or approaching the season when they emerge here.

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FYI

Can You Grow Ghost Pipe at Home?

Some say it’s super difficult, if not impossible, to cultivate ghost pipe at home. (If you’ve done it though, let us know – a lot of people would be interested, including us!)

You need to have the right tree with the right fungal network in place or the seed won’t germinate, so it’s not just a matter of just sticking some seeds in the ground and waiting for them to grow.

If you see seeds for sale, it’s normally a scam. There is a study where scientists used some complicated finagling to germinate monotropa uniflora and one of them developed a nest-like root cluster after one year in a lab, but that’s pretty far out of the reach of us everyday gardeners!

Source - All About Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) - Unruly Gardening

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I just did some research also I’m not gonna be able to grow it

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This is really neat. Never seen them

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They look so cute! I’d want one just because of how cute they are, hehe

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What a beautiful plant! I’m going to be looking for these on my walks. I don’t recall ever seeing them before but I’m going to keep an eye out now. I could definitely use this for my pain and so could my daughter. Thank you for this information! :purple_heart::purple_heart::purple_heart:

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@MeganB They are pretty funky! I hope you can spot some on your forest walks :blush:

@john1 It’s a fun idea, but it does sound like they would be a challenge to grow from seed. Perhaps you’ll be able to spot some in the woods on a walk instead? :national_park: :mag:

@Artemisia It’s my pleasure! I’ve been fascinated with them since the nature walk with the herbalist, although since then, I haven’t spotted any. It’s a good time of year, though, so perhaps we’ll all be lucky and see some over the coming weeks! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@Devenne Now that they’re on your mind, perhaps they’ll appear! :grinning:

@Nhaama Hahaha I agree - they are rather cute, aren’t they? :ghost: :two_hearts:

@Mystique My pleasure - I hope you’ll be able to spot some on your walks! :sparkles:

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Hopefully that’s how it works :joy:

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@Devenne I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you - happy foraging! :grin: :heart:

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Thank you for this post as it reminded me to be on the lookout for the plant this time of year. Today I was in the area that I saw it for the first time last June and guess what I found…

I was so excited to find it today!

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Oh my gosh, how exciting! :clap: Every time we go out into the woods (which is often because of disc golf… lol) I’m looking for them. What a great find!

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My advice based off the ones I’ve found, is they will be found in dappled shade with lots of leaf litter.

I wasn’t sure I would find any today since we’ve been in a drought but they were there. A little slower to grow than last year. They will be grateful for the rain today. I might have to go back in a couple days and see if more shoot up.

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I’ll have to venture deeper into the trees the next time we go disc golf - that’s great advice!

For reference, most of the disc golf fields here are, in fact, in the forest :joy:

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Ah ur Lucky :grinning:

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I don’t know about lucky. :woman_shrugging: I spend a looooooot of time in the woods every week and am always looking at plants and flowers. My camera is full of pictures and my plant press if full of leaves and flowers. :herb: :green_heart:

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Are u going to try them for pain?

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