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Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn's Sourcebook Series) (Cunningham's Encyclopedia Series)

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  3,299 ratings  ·  108 reviews
This revised and updated fifteenth anniversary edition contains the folklore and magical properties of over 400 herbs. Far from concentrating on esoteric, unobtainable plants, many of those mentioned within are old friends. The magical properties of onions, cashews, apples, rice, lettuce as well as dill, basil, fennel, garlic, and parsley are described. Extensive tables, a ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published October 31st 1985 by Llewellyn Publications (first published 1985)
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10th out of 210 books — 149 voters

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Community Reviews

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i love this book - i wander around the yard with it - i practically read it to my plants. the history and folklore adds so much to my gardening experience and i get totally excited when somebody asks about this or that herb i have in a dish near my front door or tied in a bundle over the fireplace. each plant reference includes: latin name, folk name, gender, planet, element, deities, powers, uses, whether or not it's poisonous, and a black n white botanical sketch of the plant. mint is no longe ...more
Joan DeArtemis
This is one of my two absolute favorite books on the magical use of herbs. It is fun and easy to use, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in undertaking the practice of Wicca or modern Witchcraft. Scott Cunningham was a wonderful, light hearted, positive Light Being (I knew him personally), and everyone I know who uses this book loves it.

There has been some criticism that everything in it is not based in perfect scholarship. However, that does not matter. This book has been in activ
I've realized that my expectations for what I want n an herbal, and what is actually out there, are two completely different things. Yet Cunningham's Encyclopedia has more of what I would want, with some folk history of the different herbs. I don't like that everything is structured into the generic Greek 4 element model, but you get that with Wicca and ceremonialism. As a supplemental reference book, I feel it does pretty well, and it did spark my interest into herbalism.
Emily W
Cunningham's encyclopedia is certainly comprehensive, and the ability to search by common name, scientific name, or magical use is incredibly useful. But the book is severely lacking in explanations - his bibliograohy spans nearly 2,000 years, from ancient Greek medicine to medieval superstition to modern medicinal uses, all of which are incorporated into a plant's list of magical uses and affinities, but without a hint as to which sources are involved in a given claim. In short, the book functi ...more
Julie Decker
Cunningham was a master of herbalism, so it's not surprising that his book on plant magic is so comprehensive and useful. This book is a unique blend of folklore, plant facts, and suggestions for magical uses of plants. You can find out plants' folk names and associated mythology as well as understand them as symbols and living things. It's easy to incorporate the knowledge within into any practice, and even for those who do not practice any herbalism, it's an interesting read.
If you're wondering about which magical herbal book to pickup (As there are many! and not all are created equal haha) ...Although it's nice to have more sources to pull from in any realm of knowledge...I can honestly say I don't personally bother with any other book then this one when I'm needing this information. An absolute MUST have if your interested in learning more in this area, I promise you will return to it again and again.
Jun 29, 2008 Carrie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pagans, homeopaths, witches
This is my herbal bible! My current copy is starting to fall apart by the binding from over use, the plastic on the cover is coming away from the paper, the pages are well loved...A lot of people think Cunningham is too simple, that he's a 'good place to start', but why overcomplicate things when they're so effective to begin with? I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants more info on magical herbs.
Sara Nia (Tea and Parchment)
This is a great book for anyone interested in Herbalism, or utilizing herbs in their practice. It is very informative, detailed, and has every herb that you can think of listed! I also love that this book includes pictures with each herb so that you can recognize them if you see them in nature. A must have reference book for any witch/wiccan, Herbalist or anyone interested in herbal remedies.
Kelly Hulslander
The books by Scott Cunningham are truly informative for any practitioner of Paganism or the Wiccan paths, whether you be a solitary or coven practioner. Personally I am a solitary who reads all the Neo-pagan books of knowledge concerning herbs, practices, incense and oils, history, etc... I can get my hands on. to truly understand the path one must research and practice, Blessed Be.
Jun 13, 2011 Cristina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with an interest in herbs, Wiccans,
Shelves: owned
I love this book. I had it years ago in paperback and constantly used it. In a move it was left to one of my children. I have since bought it on my kindle because I missed it so much. I think I prefer the print version better though, ( for the drawings of the herbs). I am putting no date finished on it as I use it all the time. I do not think I will ever officially "finish" this book.
Willa Wylde
The quintessential herbal book for magickal purposes, if you can only have one, make it this one. most modern witchcraft books are based in whole or part on the works of Scott Cunningham.

This book has excellent appendixes and cross references, as well as offering both multiple common names, pictures, and the Latin taxonomy, uses, planetary correspondences, etc.
A MUST have in any herbalist, magical, naturalist library. Contains pictures along side the herb, folk names, gender, planet, element, powers, and magical uses. Also has cross reference names in the back to help the person searching.
I love this book and find it helpful when looking to make a mix or when I have a celebration.
You don't really "read" or "finish" this book because it's more of a look-up-what-you-need encyclopedic book, but it's very clear and concise and informative. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a down-to-earth magical herbal guide--interesting for folklore buffs as well as Crafters, ya know?
Sep 18, 2007 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Herbalists, Witches
Shelves: magick
This is a must-have for every herbalist's shelf. Cunningham's work is accessible, well-written, and easy to follow, one of the better Herb guides on the market today for magical and health uses.
Valrie Wylde
I have to say, this is one of the books on my shelf that is filled with post it notes and book marks.. I use it a LOT and you can really tell as I'm soon going to have to order another copy! It's been tremendously handy when I've been making incense and herbal kits as there's just so much to draw from.

It's a fabulous go to book for just starting out as well as seasoned practitioners who work with herbs as it's filled with helpful information. There's quite a lot you can sink your teeth into.

Originally posted here:

The Book is clearly laid out and easy to use, with many different herbs and flowers covered, many common ones and a few herbs I'd never heard of and objects thought of as magical items, like carrots and potatoes. It Gives you the name of the herb with a line drawing of it it's folk names gender planet element and powers, as well as it's magical uses.

I'd recommend the book to anyone with an interest in herbs whether it be magical or n
Michiyo 'jia' Fujiwara
Yang pasti akan membuat kening ahli Botani berkerut-kerut dengan "keanehan" spesifikasinya, dan gosipnya lagi buku ini ada kaitannya dengan praktek pagan. Benar atau tidak, cukup terhibur juga membacanya..dan seperti inilah sedikit dari ribuan jenis tanaman-tanaman:

Kacang Mete
Michael Rosales
Nov 28, 2014 Michael Rosales rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to know more about plants and herbs.
Very informative book on different herbs, plants and flowers, and their physical and spiritual properties.
Ryan Mccabe
I thought this book was very insightful. I need to read more of his books!
Tina Kamaka
Oct 27, 2014 Tina Kamaka added it
Shelves: tt-book-s
good reason why we have herbs and should use them to Help heal
Gem Love
Still healing with the knowledge found in this book. I recommend any of Scott Cunningham's Encyclopedias.
Abigail Majane
A great reference guide.
Amber dePixi
While I enjoy Scott Cunninghams' works very much, this one is not my favorite.

I prefer my herbal reference books to be predominately focused on medicines and simples, not so much on the magical uses.

However, as a student of folklore, I appreciate that many of the alternative names for plants as well as their historical purposes and secondary meanings are well documented here.

Still, it's a book that lives on my reference shelf. Even if it is not often used, it makes itself useful just often en
Angie Lisle
If you are wanting to read a compilation about the magical properties of plants, then this book is just what you need. Cunningham drew on folklore and superstition regarding each plant.

There's very little science in this text. Skip this book, if you are looking for medical information and the healing properties of herbs. You won't find medicinal uses of these plants - the few exceptions being warnings about toxic plants.
Aaron Meyer
Still after all these years a useful work. Although Cunningham is a little fluffy at times I do enjoy all the hard work he put in gathering his information from the sources.
Well generally speaking these sorts of books are crap. Many of this author's books are the same as any Llewellyn "magick" book. This one however is at least an amusing reference, breaking down each herb by element, associations, etc. It also has some tidibits of folk info on most herbs, that if one believes the bibliography, are somewhat researched. Nice illustrations as well.
Isis Rea-rose
This book is a classic and there are none better than it to date, for that reason I still recommend it to friends. However, it has some big errors in it, some quite dated information and also overlooked some aspects of herbal magic completely. This is a good reference book, alongside something like Mrs Grieves Herbal.
Kyle Scott
I've used this book a lot and made many mixes to heal variouse problems but I also cross reference with a number of other books such as grieve
As an interesting note the after using a few herbs to call spirit my house is now haunted
Thanks for reading keep an open mind and warm heart n everything else will fall into place
This is such o good reference for herbs and thier lore and magical properties and well as medicinal properties. It's invaluable for anyone who adores herbal medicine. I did find one or two pictures that misrepresented the plants, though, so it's good to have a knowledge of plants before picking up this book.
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Scott Douglas Cunningham was the author of dozens of popular books on Wicca and various other alternative religious subjects. Today the name Cunningham is synonymous with natural magic and the magical community. He is recognized today as one of the most influential and revolutionary authors in the field of natural magic.

Scott Cunningham was born at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michi
More about Scott Cunningham...
Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews Earth, Air, Fire & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic

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