Friday, September 24, 2010

Pokeweed, one of my favorite autumn plants

Also known as pokeberry, cancer-root, inkberry, american nightshade, false nightshade,crowberry, poke root, polk root, virginia poke, cocan, coakum.

Pokeweed is edible and medicinal, when cooked. It has a long history of use by Native Americans as a medicine for colds, a dye for leather, and used as a food source. The young shoots are boiled in two changes of water and taste similar to asparagus, berries are cooked and the resulting liquid used to color canned fruits and vegetables. The root is alterative, anodyne, antiinflammatory, cathartic, expectorant, hypnotic, narcotic and purgative. It is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, tonsillitis, mumps, glandular fever and other complaints involving swollen glands, chronic catarrh, bronchitis and diseases related to a compromised immune system it has potential as an HIV treatment drug.

Magickally, pokeweed is a masculine plant, it's element is fire, and planet is mars or mercury. It is an intense protection and hex-breaking herb. It also promotes courage and strength, and development of self and enhances magick. It even has a reputation for aiding creating hexes as well. With it's defensive qualities, it will protect and defend you while you create your working.It's berries have long been used as an ink and make a wonderful magickal ink for writing in special books or inscribing sacred items and tools.

I became enthralled with this plant when I began my 7 years of work on Hood's flower farm. It grew along the flower fields and thought it's contrasting pink stems, green leaves, and deep purple berries were beautiful. I also felt attracted to it magickally and spiritually, maybe because I'm a fire or because I'm always attracted to the toxic plants;) This native herb is one of my allies and I have gained so much from it's protection and magick. I now grow it in my garden, eve though here, it is a common nuisance weed. Make a tincture with this herb and asperge your home with it to protect it from negativity. You can do this by filling a jar with the leaves and pouring vodka over it, letting it set for a few weeks, shaking it daily. You can also dry the leaves and add them to charm bags, mojos or sprinkle around the perimeter of your property. The root takes a while to dry as it is very fleshy, you can speed this by putting it in the oven at 150 degrees for a couple of hours. It makes a very potent protection talisman.

I often cut it just to put in vases, then dry the parts after. Don't place a vase of this on a light colored, or good table cloth, the berries WILL drop and stain:/

This herb is toxic and the berries will stain.


  1. When I lived in Tx. I used to pick it, boil it and eat it. The old people told me that if you eat "Three messes of poke a year, You'll never need a Doctor." I listened to them. They almost always turned out to be right! ^_^

  2. wow! awesome tidbit! thank you for sharing-so cool- and thanks for reading:) bless!