Medicinal and Magickal- an Introduction to Heather! 🌿

Hearty greetings to all! :heart:

After seeing bath salts made from this flower in the store, plants at the flower shop, and learning that an entire month is named after this plant here in Poland, my interest was piqued- all the signs were pointing me towards this interesting plant :face_with_monocle:

As my entry to the Weekly Witchy Challenge on Practicing Earth Friendly Magic, I would like to share my research about this very useful and interesting medicinal herb…

:herb::purple_heart: ~HEATHER~ :purple_heart::herb:

Intro to Heather

Heather seems to be more common here in Europe than it was where I grew up in the USA. A beautiful flower with purple/pink or white flowers, it seems that heather has played a susbstanial role in both daily life and folklore legends! :sparkles:

The Polish month September (wrzesień) is named after this plant for how prolific it is in the region. Heather can be harvested and fashioned into brooms, brushes, and even baskets to use around the house :broom:

Heather , ( Calluna vulgaris ), also called Scotch heather or ling , low evergreen shrub of the heath family (Ericaceae), widespread in western Europe and Asia, North America, and Greenland. It is the chief vegetation on many wastelands of northern and western Europe. The young juicy shoots and the seeds of heather are the principal food of the red grouse ( Lagopus scoticus ), and ripe seeds of heather are eaten by many other species of birds


Scotch heather has purple stems, shoots with small close leaves, and feathery spikes of pink bell-shaped flowers. In sheltered places it grows to 0.9 metre (3 feet) or more, but on arid slopes it frequently rises only a few centimetres above the ground. The plant is distinguished from true heaths ( Erica species), which are sometimes loosely called heather, by the lobes of its calyx (the collective sepals), which conceal the petals; in true heaths the petals are longer than the calyx.”

[From the Encyclopaedia Britannica Entry on Heather]

There is a very comprehensive video on Heather from Herbarium Werdler on YouTube:

Medicinal Uses

Not only useful in crafts, Heather also has a host of uses as a medicinal herb :adhesive_bandage: .

Heather contains tannins, arbutin, saponins, karotin, and the flavonoids quercitrin and myricitrin. It also contains the alkaloid ericodin.

This herb is an ancient remedy for urinary tract problems. It is thought to be good for inflammation of the urinary passages, prostate problems, such as prostate enlargement, bladder ailments and kidney stones.

Tea made from the flowers is used as an herbal remedy for diarrhea, stomach pain and colic.
In recent years heather has been used successfully, especially in Germany, to treat rheumatic pains.

The reason for this is probably because it contains a substance that removes excess uric acid from the body. Heather works well as both an antiseptic and detoxifier.

One of the traditional remedies to treat arthritis, gout and rheumatism is to make strong herbal tea made from heather and add it to bath water.

A hot poultice made from the flowering tips has been used as a treatment for chilblains, a foot condition.

Heather has also traditional uses as a mild sedative and as a sleep aid, usually in the form of tea. But as the herb can act as a diuretic, it is not wise to overdo the intake of the tea before going to bed.

Colds and coughs have been treated with an herbal infusion made from the flowering shoots.

In Telemark, Norway, there are reports that this herb was used as a hemostatic. Seeing bears wallowing in shrubs of heather when they were wounded might have led to this understanding.

[From The Herbal Resource: Heather- Health Benefits and Side Effects]

Magickal Uses


[Picture courtesy of Pinterest]

”Heather can be used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick. Heather is often worn or carried as a good luck charm. It is said that a sprig of white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts or spirits. To do this, pick a sprig of white Heather at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved ones’ shadow will visit you.

In the language of flowers and the gifting of them, Heather means “admiration”. Heather can be used at Midsummer /Summer Solstice to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors.

Heather is useful in Faery magick and is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. The fae honouring Heather are attracted to shy people.

[From Speaking of Witch Wands: The Magick of Heather]

I’ve been using a new bath salt with heather petals and have found that it really does soothe away aches, pains, and even helps with those awful menstrual cramps! :+1:

I enjoyed learning about this new herb, and I plan to continue using it in the future! :grin: Hopefully some of my fellow Green Witches out there may find some of this information to be of interest too :green_heart:

Blessed Be to All! :sparkling_heart:

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I love learning about new plants! thank you @TheTravelWitch

It reminds me a lot of Thyme, although I can’t recall the specific scientific name.

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You’re very welcome, @janelle- I’m always glad to find another plant enthusiast! :blush: :two_hearts:

Ohhhh yes, thyme! Another delicious herb :yum: I use thyme in a lot of summer recipes (it’s amazing with grilled squash or eggplant :eggplant:!) but I’m actually not familiar with it’s medicinal or magickal properties yet. It’s going on the research list! :books: :laughing:

Do you have any favorite thyme recipes or other summertime herbs you like to use- either for cooking or magick? :herb: :blush:

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I never really thought about it because I always have some around but Lemon Grass and Sweet Grass are two of my favorites. Oh and can’t not mention Clove!

I absolutely love the aroma they put out and generally how I feel when using them. In reflection, the smells give me this youthful child like energy. Bubbly vibes, if that’s even a thing haha.

I was taking a Master Gardener class last winter but on the day of the test and the whole week after, we had a huge snow storm. Then I had started a new job, on my birthday no less and missed taking the rescheduled test :slightly_frowning_face:

Thyme is a must use in everything! Well okay, maybe not everything but my Italian genes try not to over use it lol. I frequently use it in my tea blends that I throw together, never writing down how much and of what I used :tired_face: :woman_facepalming:t4: @TheTravelWitch

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Wow! So many uses for just one plant! Thanks for sharing @TheTravelWitch I enjoyed learning about Heather!

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I’m sure you can still take the test, right? In any case, if you learned and are putting it into practice, you are a Master Gardener!

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This is very informative, thank you for sharing!

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@Francisco Could you make a printable page for Heather? :grinning:

And I am honestly not sure about a make up test. This class was expensive so I should think they would allow it!

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Great idea! I’ll get to work on that! :page_facing_up:

My mother-in-law is a Master Gardener and we live next to her so I get to ask her all sorts of questions about gardening (plus we get tons of herbs for free!) :smiley: It’d be great if they let you take the test!

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Thanks for the great info! Heather is such an amazing herb/flower! It’s so beautiful to look at pictures of fields of Heather from afar.

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Fab info, thanks as always @TheTravelWitch! :purple_heart:

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You are very welcome @Francisco, @wendy4, @christina4, and @mrs! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Everyone always shares such amazing wisdom, I’m always happy when I learn about something neat and I can share back with everyone! :pray::two_hearts:

That’s so wonderful you took classes to become a Master Gardener, @janelle! :heart_eyes: Sorry to hear about the test- but I imagine it’s a seasonal program? You may be able to jump in on the next group when it’s time for them to take the test! :memo: Fingers crossed for you- it sounds like you put in a lot of time and effort into the classes, you deserve to get recognition for all your studies and hard work! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Here’s a printable page for your Book of Shadows with the most useful information from this post! :white_flower:

Heather-plant-thumb

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The printable page came out beautiful, @Francisco! :two_hearts: Thank you for making it! :open_book::pray:

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It looks great! Thank you @Francisco I’m gonna print it out today and add it! Again, thank you @TheTravelWitch for posting and sharing all of this wonderful information.

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You’re very welcome!!

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Oh! That is incredibly interesting. I love learning things about other places. I wish I could go visit the places in my ancestry and where things like this are local. I am low on all kinds of things, so maybe I can get some another way to use in my practice. I’m either growing or gathering the others that need now.

Thank you so much!

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You’re very welcome, @janelle! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Have fun with heather, and feel free to share if you find an exciting new use for it or use heather in a new craft- I’d love to see it! :bouquet::hearts:

I’m glad you found it interesting, @krissie117! :two_hearts: I hope you can do some traveling and maybe spot heather in the wild someday! :herb: I think it’s wonderful you are growing and gathering the things you need- if you ever find yourself longing for an herb that can’t be grown/found in your area, there are some great online shops that will ship it to you! :grin::+1:

There may be an herbalist nearby with ingredients for sale or connections with other herb shops in your area. For online shops, I love Mountain Rose Herbs! :bouquet: I imagine there are also some online herb shops that others have tried before listed in the Recommendations category.

Best of luck and happy crafting! :sunflower::two_hearts:

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Thank you Francisco. I appreciate your knowledge. I value your sharing.

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I was exploring a new park yesterday and came across (what I’m pretty sure) is Polish heather! :purple_heart:

Unfortauntely there were a lot of bugs (darn! :mosquito:) so we didn’t linger long enough to investigate- there was a lot of water nearby so the mosquitos were quite bad.

It was a very pretty place and I’m happy to have found some heather nearby! Maybe I’ll go back on a windy day and collect some branches for the apartment :purple_heart:

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