In the 17th century, the English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper used Butcher’s Broom to help the healing of fractured bones. And it has been used in medicine ever since for a variety of reasons, one most important reason is as an anti-inflammatory drug. Butcher’s Broom is a shrub naturalised to England/UK, growing wild all over Europe and northern Asia and found growing happily wherever there is sandy soil. It is found natively in the Mediterranean, Iran, the Azores islands and parts of Africa. And now, Box Holly has become sparsely naturalised in North America, wherever there is sandy soil, I am sure. But I am here to dig up some magick on the fabulous Butcher’s Broom [box holly].
Butchers Broom – or my favourite, Knee-Holly, is used in protection charms. You may use it in any way you like. I find using the woodiest part in making protection incense may not be to everybody’s olfactory preference but the smoke calms one and it calms the animals in your home. The incense is also extremely good whilst divining by tarot, runes, pendulum, or any other forms of divination as it helps you to access your psychic powers as well as helps you stay calm and focused. The dried leaves are good to use in poppets, witch bottles, and sachets for protection as well as drawing healing and psychic powers to you.
To raise the wind: Take a small handful of Butchers Broom twigs and toss them into the air.
To calm the wind: Burn a small handful of twigs and scatter the ashes into the wind.
Remember – intent is everything in magick.
To Banish: Make a small altar besom from Butchers Broom. Write on a piece of paper what it is you want to banish from your life that you feel is holding you back. Burn small twigs of Butchers Broom in a cauldron along with your piece of paper until ash. Use your Butchers Broom besom to stir the ashes anti-clockwise whilst thinking of how this problem will leave you in peace. Naturally, make sure the ashes are cold first! Then, go outside and face North, get a few ashes on the “broom” part of the besom and blow them off, then East, etc. You can add your own words to this by saying something after each turn that will tell the Universe what your intentions are or just think them. If any ash is left afterwards, simply tip it out on the ground and give it a stamp with your foot imagining yourself free of your hindrance. So mote it be!
Not throwing caution to the wind [pun intended] but I shall say now: If you have high blood pressure, do NOT use Butcher’s Broom in healing yourself or others unless by sympathetic healing. Do not ingest.
In addition, it’s possible that butcher’s broom may interact with blood pressure medications and stimulant medications. So, if you’re taking either of these, you should probably avoid butcher’s broom.
From Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpepper:
“For the Wrist Drop, and for the maw or belly, take two cups full of the ooze of this wort, which is named victoriola, and by another name, Knee Holly; administer it [to the patient] to drink fasting mixed with honey; soon it diminishes the wrist drop.”
Additionally, English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper prescribed butcher’s broom to heal fractured bones, taken both orally and made into a poultice over the break. I should think we have come a long way since Mr Culpepper wrote this in his Complete Herbal, which by the way, is as useful today as ever, back in the 17th century.
Butcher’s broom is used for haemorrhoids, gallstones, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and for symptoms of poor blood circulation such as pain, heaviness, leg cramps, leg swelling, varicose veins, itching, and swelling. Butcher’s broom is also used as a laxative, as a diuretic to increase urine output, reduce swelling, and speed the healing of fractures. The root is the main part used in healing, however, the leaves and woody stems are also boiled into tinctures, teas, and poultices for external use.
Today, Butcher’s Broom is known most widely for the way it benefits the circulatory system, especially for those with orthostatic hypotension (a drop in blood pressure when going from sitting to standing) and chronic venous insufficiency.
In some cultures, the roots are eaten in much the same way as asparagus.
There are several ways to get the benefits of Butcher’s Broom. Many people take it in supplement form, which can be found in pills, oils, and creams. As mentioned earlier, some people eat Butcher’s Broom roots like they would asparagus, although it smells and tastes much more pungent and bitter than asparagus.
Planetary: Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury [primarily Mars]
Powers: Healing, Wind spells, Divination, Protection, Psychic Powers, Banishing
Element: Air and Fire
Astrological: Aries, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Pisces
Day: Tuesday and Thursday
Deity: Jupiter, Mars, Amon, Ares
Other Names: Box Holly, Sweet Broom, Knee-Holm, Petti-gree, Victoriola, Euscus, Knee-Holly, Kneehulver, Bruscus
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Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England, by Thomas Oswald Cockayne, 1857 ~ A collection of documents, for the most part never before printed, illustrating the Science of this country before the Norman conquest
The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde
Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpepper – reprint 1987 from 17th century