Magical Botany: B


(Since the initial article is written in Spanish, some of the plants did not match their names in English. In order for the article to make sense, we have kept only those plants that began with A also in English, and added those that , in the magical botanical article B, they changed to A when translated. All this with the intention of fully preserving the work of the partner and collaborator and not adding anything outside of their own harvest. Thank you for understanding)

-Bachelor's Button (Also called Acianus and Cornflower): Plant that in ancient times was called knapweed, because it was believed that the wise centaur Chiron was the first to use it. It has been an enemy of the reapers growing among grain crops, especially among rye and wheat. Its flower is very similar to that of chicory and has sometimes led to confusion. He is given the power to ward off sadness and in magical practices associated with abundance and fertility.

-Bael (v. Aegle marmelos)

-Balbaga: a poaceous grass (eleusine indica) that appears in Vedic literature. According to the Vedas, this herb grew abundantly where a fecund cow urinated. This is why it was considered a sacred plant and with its fibers baskets and decorations were made for religious festivities.

-Balis: it is a legendary plant, mentioned by Janthus of Lydia (5th century BC) and by Pliny the Elder (1st AD) in allusion to the former. It comes from the myth of Tilo and the balis herb, the original content of which has been lost. The one version that we have is a version by the late-antique poet Nono de Panópolis in his Dionisiacas in which certain parallels with the Gospel of Saint John can be traced. According to the nonian story, a draconic serpent was ravaging the region next to the Hermo river, Tilo passed through there, who after touching the serpent fell dead. His sister Moria requests help from the giant Damasen, a huge hoplite breastfed by Eris. The giant agrees and kills the snake using a tree as a weapon. Another snake, the spouse of the deceased, upon seeing the scene, slides towards the mountains and returns, bringing in its mouth the herb balis, the flower of Zeus, which he gives to the corpse of the snake to smell, making it resurrect. The snakes left and Moria took the flower and brought it close to her brother's nose who, after smelling it, also revived. It is said that the god Asclepius himself was revived by this very plant. There is another Greek myth of supposed Minoan origin, the myth of Minos and Glauco: Glauco, being, dies after falling into a jar of honey and Minos locks up the soothsayer Poliidos with the corpse of Glauco, affirming that he will not let him out until he gets the boy come back to life Locked up, the soothsayer sees a snake approach Glauco's body and kills it with a stone. Then, a snake that had witnessed the scene enters the room with a herb with which it revives the dead snake. Poliido, like Moria, imitates the process and gets Glauco to resurrect. It is likewise equated to the plant that Gilgamesh has to find at the bottom of the sea, shibu issahir amelu, "the one that makes the old man a man" and who finally fails to take it to Enkidu because it is devoured by a snake. In the same way, it is associated with the amrita "non-death", an etymological parallel to ambrosia, a plant with which a drink was made capable of granting resurrection to the dead and immortality to the gods, frequently associated with soma.

-Balm: solid or semi-solid product made with resins, oils, waxes, incense and aromas. They are used in a large number of magical rituals, in which the Egyptian uep-rá rite ("opening of the mouth") stands out above all, in which the body was first washed and embalmed from the outside and later the interior according to He performed the emptying of the organs. The Egyptians were improving the balm recipe for millennia by mixing vegetable oils, tree resins and beeswax among other ingredients until they achieved an antiseptic, antibacterial and dehydrating mixture.

-Baltrakan: plant of the steppes and the Asian tundra that the imagery has imbued with highly nutritious properties. It is said that it is the element that made the Tatars and the merchants of the spice route survive during their movements

-Bamboo: among the many genera and species of the bambusoideae, we generally understand as bamboo the phyllostachys aurea or yellow bamboo, native to China and which has spread throughout the globe. It is not offered for cultivation, since its shoots take between six and seven years to come out, but in its natural habitat it is a very invasive species. The overexploitation of the large bamboo forests has meant that it has been considered a protected species and reserved for construction, feeding panda bears and pharmacology. This, added to the difficulties of cultivation, means that it is no longer used in domestic decoration or in magical rituals (mainly feng shui) but different genera of plants with similar characteristics are used, the main one being an asparagaceae (of the family of asparagus) called dracaena sanderiana. Its wood is considered by the Indians as the purest of woods, which is why it was used in weddings and other religious rituals. The magic staffs of India and China are made with bamboo culms with seven knots. The Chinese consider it part of the "Four Junzi" (四君子): the plum tree, the bamboo, the orchid and the chrysanthemum; and of the "Three Friends of Winter" (歲寒三友): pine, bamboo and plum. In homes the concrete arrangement of bamboo is considered to purify the home. There are many bamboo arrangements that, depending on the number, shape and situation, will represent one wish or another of the home owner.

-Banana: bananas and plantains are Musaceae from Southeast Asia (their scientific name is a tribute to Antonio Musa, Augusto's doctor). Its cultivation in the region begins in the 1st millennium BC. its expansion along the silk route was very gradual. It is not until the X-XI centuries AD. when they began to be cultivated in the Mediterranean region and in the 16th century in South America. In all the places through which it has passed, it has been considered a fruit linked to the male sex, whose intake and the rituals carried out with it improved fertility, male sexual potency and many other and various sexual health problems; Parallel to this symbolism, as often happens, is that of abundance and wealth.

-Basil: Beneficial herb of Asian origin, with multiple medical benefits in infusion or tonic. It is considered a magical plant with virtues for luck and fortune, as well as to calm the mood, but due to its strong aroma it could also induce trance states and unknown illnesses. It is usually related to the female sex. In Italy it has an erotic significance, in Crete it is linked to funerary worship and mourning. Some believe that seeing a basil in a dream is a bad omen. In Malabar (India), a species of basil native to which they call Tulsi, Tulasî or collo is a highly revered plant because they consider it as a divine manifestation linked to one divinity or another depending on the place (Lakṣhmî-Sita or Ganeśa-Ganavedi ). Each house has a small pagoda in the garden where they have said plant. Several times a day they recite prayers to her and water her (as a libation), and at other times they even sing and dance in her presence. It is also present around temples and rivers. This species of basil has been called in the West as holy basil.

-Batrachion: plant that grows in humid environments, its name means frog and its translation into Latin was ranucŭlus ("little frog"). It is a toxic plant that can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, spasms and even paralysis. The toxic properties are lost with dehydration, thus the Greeks and Romans recommended it to treat madness whenever it was taken on the waning moon.

-Baumesel: literally "tree donkey", also known as Scheunesel, "barn donkey", is a demon that lives in the trees and is dedicated to kidnapping children.

-Belladonna: her name means "beautiful woman" in Italian. Hippocrates mentioned it among the narcotic plants. Ancient physicians supplied it as a sedative. Due to its degree of toxicity, it was given the scientific name Atropos, the name of the oldest of the moiras and the one in charge of cutting the threads of life. Roman patricians and nobles used belladonna juice to beautify their skin. It was historically used in Italy by women to enlarge the pupils and thus achieve a more sensual look. Its use as a poison was confirmed by Marco Antonio's troops during the Fourth Civil War of the Roman Republic, as well as by Emperor Claudius. In fact, its name is a deformation due to assimilation of the name it received: bellonaria, the plant of war and therefore associated with the goddess Bellona. Its juice was used to poison arrows. The wine seasoned with belladonna essence was consumed by the priests of Bellona before praying for victory. It was also consumed by the maenads before beginning the Dionysian orgies, which has been used to explain their aggressiveness during the rites.

-Bergamot: fruit widely used for the manufacture of perfumes and aromatherapy. Due to its photocarcinogenic properties, its use in ointments, creams and balms has been prohibited, although it continues to be manufactured and used in traditional medicine.

-Betle (piper): a piperaceous plant (pepper family) native to India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, whose leaves are often chewed raw to leave a peppery taste in the mouth. It is usually accompanied by areca, paan or tobacco. According to the Italian traveler Barthema (16th century), when the sultan wanted someone to die, he spat at them after having chewed betel with areca because it is a deadly poison, which made Western readers mistakenly think that it was indeed poisonous. The Italian missionary Vincenzo Maria da Santa Caterina (17th century) recorded an etiological myth of betel. According to his account, the plant was brought to earth by Arjuna after his journey to heaven, from where he stole a cutting. It is by this legend that the Indians justify that whenever they want to plant betel, instead of asking for a cutting, they steal it. According to the inhabitants of the island of Java, chewing betel makes people more beautiful. Indian folk medicine uses it to treat numerous conditions such as diarrhoea, intestinal parasites, cough, asthma and eczema. Antimutagenic properties have been found among the active principles of betel, which reduces the possibility of the appearance of oropharyngeal carcinomas when accompanied with tobacco or areca, highly carcinogenic plants, which does not mean that these two plants are still not recommended.

-Betony, Bishopswort: temperate climate plant that, according to Pliny, if snakes are surrounded by its flower, they begin to kill each other. It was one of the reference plants for Antonio Musa, Augusto's doctor. It is believed to provide protection against spells and enchantments.

-Bhang: Indian drink made from gāñjā ("cannabis"), resulting in a kind of vegetable milk that is traditionally taken during Holi, a spring festival known in the West as "the festival of colors", and the Mahāśivarātri, " the great night of Śiva». One of Śiva's invocations is "Lord of Bhāṅg", it is said that after having ingested a primordial poison (which gave it its own blue hue) he was about to die. The gods searched for a remedy against the poison until Pārvatī offered him the bhāṅg that he had just created and with it Shiva defeated the toxin. Sādhus and sādhvīs take bhāṅg to stimulate meditative and mystical states.

-Bifolium: the bifolium or zweiblatt in German, is an orchidaceae that, according to popular legends, makes its bearer invisible as long as he has found the plant after seeing his reflection in a mirror or in water.

-Bignonia: family of plants also known as the family of trumpet vines because of the shape of its flowers. Its morphology is also usually associated with the human vagina, which makes it used in erotic magic and as a symbol of love. The species stereospermum chelonoides receives the Sanskrit name kāmadūtī "messenger of love". Theravada Buddhism considers this tree to be the Bodhi tree of the third Buddha, Saranankara, and the twenty-second, Vipassi.

-Bilva (v. Aegle marmelos)

-Birch: It is considered a sacred tree for its silver bark, which grants wisdom, as well as the use of loving talismans. Birch has been called "the well of the people." This is because its sap contains a large amount of water and has been widely used as a natural medicine. Symbolically it is a tree of light, since its wood is one of the most suitable for the creation of torches. Because it is such a beneficial plant, the youngest birches are usually protected in northern Europe by tying a red ribbon, as it is believed that this way the evil eye is kept away from them.

- Boj or Boxwood: like many of the evergreen plants, the boxwood or πύξος (pýxos) was related to the god Hades/Pluto. It was placed as an offering in graves and in funeral rituals to promote life after death. It is a plant very similar to the myrtle, which is dedicated to Venus. Theophrasto left it explicit in Historia de las plantas (III, 15): «The boxwood is not very tall and its leaf resembles that of the myrtle. It grows in cold and rocky places, such as Citoro, where the main plantation is located. Cold is also the Olympus of Macedonia, there are also boxwoods that, however, do not grow very much. The vicinity of Citoro and the city of Amastris, in Paphlagonia, must have been the natural habitat of the plant, since a saying was used in Greece to express a useless enterprise that read: "you have brought boxwood to Citoro". One had to be careful not to confuse this plant with the myrtle, since making a boxwood offering to Venus could imply the loss of sexual faculties according to the magical beliefs of the Greeks. In the United Kingdom, Germany and the Nordic countries, instead of palms or olive trees, boxwood is used on Palm Sunday, as it symbolizes the promise of the resurrection.

-Borage: Also known as ox tongue, it has diuretic, sudorific and anti-inflammatory properties. Although it has some toxicity, its occasional consumption does not carry risks except for pregnant women. Certain beliefs make it capable of warding off sadness and depression, others see borage as a masculine plant that enhances courage. It has been used as a traditional medicine to cure fever. Due to the purplish-blue color of its petals, it has been used as a natural ornament even in the kitchen.

-Bötrad: Latinization of Old Norse vǫrðr («watchman», «guardian», etymologically related to Middle English warden and Frankish wardon, the latter being from which the guard-/gard- forms of English, French, Spanish, Italian, etc.). It is a guardian spirit that lives in the trees and whose objective is to accompany the hugr ("personal soul") from birth to death. They may reveal themselves as hamr ("personal form"). Its moral attributes can be beneficial or negative depending on the context. The varðir prefer to inhabit ancient trees. If a family owned one of these trees, they had an obligation to protect it, since their well-being depended on them. Injuring one of these trees in any way was considered a serious infraction. Some families came to adopt surnames to establish a direct relationship with the tree, such is the case of the family of naturalist Carl Linnæus, creator of Linean taxonomy, whose surname means "linden". Around this tree other spirits were considered to live, such as the vættir or the rår. After Christianization, the varðir were assimilated as guardian angels or guardian angels, a concept from Judaism.

Miguel Morata -

Related posts:

> Magical Botany A

> Esoterism and medicine

> Review: Exhibition Plants and Witchcraft  at the Complutense University of Madrid

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