Master of the Woods (Asperula ordorata) is a strongly scented, 12-20-inch long herbaceous perennial typically referred to as woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby’s breath that is often used as a ground cover. Its four-petal white blooms appear between April and May. It has been used in perfumes, teas, and potpourris.
According to Sunlight Gardens, the semi-evergreen is easy to grow in shady, moderately moist areas, is resistant to deer and is “great with Bellwort, Gingers, Lenten Rose, and acid-loving shrubs.” The plant, however, can be very invasive: it will take over your garden if you’re not watchful.
According to Web MD, “sweet woodruff contains ingredients that can help decrease swelling (inflammation) and kill germs.” Other uses include circulation problems, restlessness, nerve pain, urinary disorders, and blood purification. Botanical.com notes that the plant has been used as a medicine since the middle ages; “The fresh leaves, bruised and applied to cuts and wounds, were said to have a healing effect, and formerly a strong decoction of the fresh herb was used as a cordial and stomachic. It is also said to be useful for removing biliary obstructions of the liver.” (Medical information is presented here more or less for historical or traditional background without warranty of any kind.)
According to catherine yronwode’s Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic–the primary source I used when writing my conjure novels–Master of the Woods is a “commanding and ruling herb.” This implies that uses, in or out of mojo bags, will include strength, protection, control over enemies, personal energy, and even getting a job.
Mama Starr uses master of the woods, Jezebel root, calamus, loveage, and lavender boiled and steeped in water and placed in a spray bottle while ironing clothes along with a prayer and a petition that your target (a spouse, for example) will behave (whatever that might mean to you). You can also gain the upper hand over an opponent by sprinkling master of the woods in an area where that person will walk.
Auntyflo says that “the herb has very strong power in commanding, most people carry it along for to get protection from various harms, additionally, it helps the owner get out of any trouble they may encounter in their day to day activities. When combined with gravel root, it helps the job seeker get that job they have always desired. On the other hand, sprinkling the herb over the masters allows you commanding powers over them when they cross it.”
Like many herbs, master of the woods can be used alone or in combination oils, water, minerals, and other herbs to provide a root doctor or hoodoo practioner with mastery over situations as well as opposing forces, including enemies and situations.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Fate’s Arrows,” the fourth novel in the Florida Folk Magic Series about conjure, crime, and the Klan in the 1950s Florida Panhandle.