Hundreds of years ago, long before modern medicine, witches learned the medicinal properties of herbs and used them in healing potions, powders, and balms. Though history is quick to erase the contributions of witches, this knowledge has, thankfully, been preserved and passed down. It survives today in modern grimoires and online sources. One simple google search can give us information about an herb that took a witch from the past a lifetime to figure out.
Herbs, like all plants, will be important to the green witch and will be used in many of their spells. Many green witches rely on herbs and plants as their number one resource in spells and have an intimate knowledge of the history and correspondence of each herb. It is my suggestion that a fair amount of your time be devoted to research for two reasons:
1.) Knowing how to use herbs and knowing why they are used that way will obviously be beneficial to you.
2.) A lot of plants are extremely toxic. If you aren’t careful, you could easily poison yourself or someone else! The poison path is an incredibly traditional form of witchcraft but it’s one that should be practiced with extreme caution and a heavy emphasis on research.
If you search for herb correspondences online, chances are you’ll find plenty of conflicting information. You’ll also see a lot of overlap between different herbs. I have a major problem with this because I think spells should be precise. You write them to accomplish something and you should take pains to make sure you’re using the right tool for the job. But how do you know if you’ve got the exact right tool if ten different herbs supposedly accomplish the same thing? It’s a bit like reading an instruction booklet, and instead of just saying “use a hammer” you’re given a lot of different options. Use a rock or a book or a shoe to hang a nail! It all works the same, right? Sort of… but will those tools give you the best, most efficient result? When the same attributes are given to lots of different herbs, or lots of different correspondences are attributed to one herb, how do you know what to use for sure?
On the one hand, this is the knowledge we’ve gained from our ancestor witches. This is what they worked on and made sure survived to modern times. On the other, this information has a way of getting diluted when it’s been translated by many people, and unless you’ve done your research and traced the witchy origins of each source, there is no way to verify this information without testing various herbs in lots of spells (a plausible option, of course, but it can be expensive and time consuming). This is why your own research is so crucial. Only through reliable sources will you be able to know for sure that the herb you’ve chosen for your magic is the same herb that’s been used through the ages for your specific purpose, that it is the precise herb for your spell.
So put in the time and study these herbs yourself, then — and this is the fun part — build on what you learn! Experiment! View your spells as a collaboration with the plant spirits that you’re working with. Let them tell you what they should be used for! Create a personal correspondence list of your own, not only based on history, but how you interact with each plant.