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Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare)

Names: No others we can find.

Medicinal Uses: Breaks fevers, diuretic, expectorant, use for pain from inflammations. Used for snakebite. Seeds were decocted and mixed in wine "to comfort the heart and drive away melancholy"; i.e. as an antidepressant.

Household Uses: Add flowers to salads, or make into a cordial, or crystallize them.

Traditional Magical Uses: Keeps away snakes. Culpeper's Complete Herbal describes Viper's Bugloss as follows: "It is a most gallant herb of the Sun; it is a pity it is not more in use than it is. It is an especial remedy against the biting of the Viper, and all other venomous beasts, or serpents; as also against poison, or poisonous herbs. Discorides and others say, That whosoever shall take of the herb or root before they be bitten, they shall not be hurt by the poison of any serpent."

Shamanic Magical Use: This is the plant of Jotunheim, the land of giants and trolls. It is a land of great mountains, great storms, great beasts, and great hunters, and this is the herb that hunts down sickness. To use, charge the plant with a spell of seek-and-destroy. I find that this is best done with a song (you don't have to be a great singer or carry a tune, Atterlothe doesn't care) which describes to the plant the nature of the prey, why this prey is its natural enemy and deserves to die, and gives it praise and thanks for its great hunting ability. Then you eat the herb, whole or in tea, and let it do its work.