Herbs: Holy Ghost Root
“Angelica Root (also known as Holy Ghost Root, Archangel Root, and Dong Quai) is widely thought to be a powerful Guardian and Healer, and to provide Strength to Women. We believe that Angelica Root is used by many people for the purpose of Warding Off Evil and bringing Good Luck in Health and Family Matters” – Lucky Mojo Curio Company
This biennial, Angelica archangelica, is known variously as angelica root, wild celery and holy ghost root. In myth, the Archanel Michael (or Gabriel) said it had medical uses, hence its name. There are over thirty varieties of the plant.
- You can learn how to grow angelica here.
- You can find the USDA plant classification here.
- Folk magic uses of the plant are listed in “Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic” by catherine yronwode.
Herbs-Treat and Taste says that “because of its association with the archangel it was also believed to be associated with the Annunciation when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and told her that she was pregnant. One legend says that an archangel revealed in someone’s dream that angelica was a cure for the plague. Because of these holy associations it was believed that it would rid places of evil spirits and protect against witchcraft and evil enchantments.”
In folk magic, it’s used variously to keep a home protected and peaceful, to ensuring that a marriage is a happy one, and to create the “Fiery Wall of Protection” that protects your property and yourself from evil people.
In folk medicine, the roots and leaves had multiple uses from purifying the blood to curing augues and infections as well as fighting coughs and colds. As an aromatic plant, it has also been used in pot pourris, essential oils and as a flavoring (similar to Juniper) in confectionery, perfumes and liqueurs. Some people turn the stems into jam or use them in salads.
According to WebMD, Angelica is used for heartburn, intestinal gas (flatulence), loss of appetite (anorexia), arthritis, circulation problems, “runny nose” (respiratory catarrh), nervousness, plague, and trouble sleeping (insomnia).
When researching my novels, I find the multiple uses of herbs fascinating because many have come into standard medicine and are now created synthetically, but also have purported magical uses or are old folk medicine remedies. As a writer, I an usually a bit vague in my descriptions of herbs and their uses because (a) I’m not a doctor or herbalist, and (b) Don’t want anyone to think that a fictional usage constitutes a medical prescription or an herbal tea.
Usages vary greatly depending on where you look and the culture you’re looking at.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” a novella set in the Jim Crow era of the Florida Panhandle about Eulalie and her cat Lena who fight the KKK with spells and other magical means.