View Full Version : Herbs and the Iron Blade

09-08-2010, 22:18
I keep reading about how some herbs loose their effecacy and/or magical power if cut with an iron blade. I am wondering about the source of this and which herbs are affected.

I am assuming this is connected with the understanding in many parts of the world that there are many spirits who are scared away by iron (hence the iron objects and jingles on a shamans robe).

Does anyone here know?

10-08-2010, 00:13
Interesting question!

Use of iron has a long history in folklore e.g. horseshoe nailed to door, iron fences to 'contain' dead souls in graveyards.

I wonder if the herb connection relates specifically to the Fae. If they are spirits of the natural world and the magical properties of plants are linked to them, iron would perhaps draw away that power?

I wonder if it also has something to do with medieval medicine and astrology. In culpeper's herbal each plant is assigned to a planet. In general terms everything on earth falls under the influence of at least one of the 7 traditional planets. Iron was associated with Mars.

See this for interesting info:


I think this is the most plausible connection as a lot of herbal and faerie lore comes from this era.

Food for thought anyway...

11-08-2010, 21:27
Thanks Flaxen. I'm continuing to look at the surrounding information but I still can't find good quality information as to why or which herbs this relates to and right now I really can't afford to be buying more books! ;)

11-08-2010, 22:43
It's such a frustrating experience isn't it? You tend to find the same information copied and pasted all over the web but it's so difficult to find the original source for it. :)

11-08-2010, 22:49
Actually, what sparked it was a comment in 13 Moons (book by Fiona Walker-Craven) but she doesn't go into detail, leaving that up to whoever is teaching you, your coven etc.

I don't belong to a coven, nor am I really following a witchcraft path but so much crosses the grey areas of shamanic stuff, witchcraft stuff etc that I like to learn and know why.

Iron is such a BIG think in some shamanic traditions, especially in Northern Europe, Central and Eastern Asia, I can't imagine that it is mere coincidence.