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Book Excerpt: Secret Medicines from Your Garden

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Here’s an excerpt from Secret Medicines from Your Garden by druid and herbalist Ellen Evert Hopman. The book is published by Healing Arts Press.

Snake Medicines

Snake Medicines were used for snake bites, insect stings, infections and poisoning. These herbs clean the blood by strengthening the liver, the organ that clears poisons from the blood stream. They also help to foster a strong metabolism.

Snake teaches us to shed our skin and renew ourselves, even after suffering many bites, poisons and traumas. When we let go and allow the universe to re-create us, we transmute our suffering into divine power.

Black Cohosh, Black Snake Root, Rattle Root, Black Bugbane (Cimicifuga racemosa)

The root tea was taken to “promote menstruation”, for colds and coughs, for tuberculosis, for constipation, for hives, as a blood purifier, as a kidney aid, to promote breast milk and for rheumatism. It was used as a sedative to help infants sleep and was considered a general tonic (sometimes it was mixed with elecampane root (Inula helenium) and stone root (Collinsonia Canadensis) to make a tonic).

The roots were infused in alcoholic spirits for rheumatic pain and a tea of the roots and plant was used in steam and as a bath for rheumatism.

A leaf poultice was applied to a baby’s sore back.

Snakeweed, Plantain

Largebracted Plantain (Plantago aristata)

The root tea was taken for dysentery.

The leaf tea was taken for poisonous bites and stings, for snake bite, bloody urine, for diarrhea and was given to children to strengthen them.

The leaf tea was used externally as a wash for bites and stings, and as a douche for vaginal discharges.

The juice was applied to sore eyes.

Narrow Leaf Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

The leaf poultice or a tea of the leaf was applied to headaches, snake bites, burns, blisters, ulcers, insect stings.

The tea of the leaf was taken for poisonous bites, stings, snake bite and earache.

The leaf tea was used as a douche for vaginal discharge.

The root tea was used for dysentery and babies diarrhea.

Common Plantain (Plantago major)

The tea of the whole plant was used for coughs, stomach problems, as a laxative. 

The leaf tea was taken for poisonous bites, stings, snake bite and bloody urine.

The leaf tea was used as a wash for sore eyes, as a douche and applied to earaches.

A crushed leaf poultice was applied to bruises and used to pull pus from wounds and infections.

A hot leaf poultice was used to draw thorns and splinters.

The leaves were bound to burns, bruises, snake bites and insect bites.

A poultice of the chopped root and leaf was applied to snake bite.

A poultice of the cooked flower stems was applied to abscesses.

The leaf poultice was applied to painful and rheumatic parts and swellings, burns, wounds and contusions, to headaches, sprains, blisters, ulcers, cuts, boils, sores, infection and stings.

The leaf was chewed and eaten to treat stomach ulcers and chewed and applied as a poultice for sores, carbuncles and hemorrhoids.

The tea of the root was used for dysentery, for diarrhea in babies, for fevers, colds, pneumonia and as a laxative.

The tea of the seeds was used to improve digestion and regulate the menses.

You can view Secret Medicines from Your Garden on Amazon, on the publisher website and at Ellen’s online shop

Note: This book excerpt is for information purposes only, it is not medical advice.

To read more posts like this visit A Bad Witch’s Blog at


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