Herbs for Hedgewitches: Roses and Vanilla, Geranium and Peru Balsam

Longitudinal view of a vanilla flower, showing...
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For those who may be relatively new to working with herbs, I’m starting a series of posts profiling some of my favorite herbs and their uses in magic, healing and aromatherapy, starting with some of the herbs and essential oils included in my new magical oils.

Called the “queen of flowers” by the Greek poetess Sappho in 600 BC, roses have been symbols of love, romance, sexual attraction and marriage down through the ages.  Rose essential oil is extremely expensive though, since it can take up to sixty roses to create a single drop of steam-distilled oil.  In rootwork, rose petals bring luck in love and can be scattered on your altar when doing magic or praying for a new love, to bring back a lost love, or to strengthen a love relationship.  Roses are almost always added to any mojo bag designed to attract or strengthen love, but are sometimes also included in healing incenses and sachets, as well as potions to induce clairvoyant dreams.  In ancient Greece roses were associated with Aphrodite, and among the Germanic tribes with Frigga, the patroness of marriage and moral standards.  In modern aromatherapy, roses are used to open the heart, increase compassion and confidence, and release grief.  Roses are thus important for cultivating self-love in addition to attracting love from others.

Vanilla comes from a tropical orchid found mainly in Mexico, Tahiti, Java, and Madagascar.  It too is an extremely expensive spice, since the orchids must be pollinated by hand and only bloom for a single day, and following harvest the pods must be fermented to release the rich yet mellow fragrance.  Vanilla encourages loving feelings, increases confidence, unleashes hidden sensuality, and has been used as an aphrodisiac in many cultures.  The use of the term “vanilla” to denote something bland and ordinary is misleading; pure vanilla is a very heady and complex scent that is at the same time reassuring and soothing.  To have erotic dreams, anoint yourself with some of my vanilla oil before going to bed.  To increase the love in a household, place a vanilla bean in your sugar jar; vanilla-infused sugar tastes fabulous, and everyone who eats it will behave more lovingly. 

Rose geranium is an African perennial, hybridized by 17th century Europeans to create more than 600 different species, many of which smell similar to roses mingled with green and citrusy notes.  The organic geranium oil I use is a true steam-distilled therapeutic-grade oil.  Its fragrance reduces anxiety, heals troubled relationships, and is an emotional balancer.

Peru balsam comes from the gum of an El Salvadoran tree which got its name because it was shipped with Peruvian goods.  Its vanilla-like fragrance soothes anxiety and helps relieve feelings of loneliness and exhaustion.


4 thoughts on “Herbs for Hedgewitches: Roses and Vanilla, Geranium and Peru Balsam”

  1. Oh what a great idea for a series! I need to finish up school so I can get back to completing the rootwork class and finally start working with herbs.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I still haven’t finished that class myself, and never even got around to ordering the textbook. Such is life; I’ve learned most of what I know about herbs from working at MRH, and my own experiments. 🙂

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