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Herbal Lore And Magic From The Canary Islands

On December 6, we went to the mountains for our first Winter wildharvesting. Here in the Canary Islands, winter is our green season, and since this year rain has arrived earlier than previous years, everything was lush and filled with beauty – and Mother Nature was extremely generous with us. On this post, I am making a detailed review of the herbs we got, and their medicinal and magical use in our culture.


Llanten – Plantain (Plantago Major): this very humble plant is so full of properties that we have a pot permanently growing on our garden. Cleans and disinfects inner and outer wounds, its tea is used for all kind of infections and viruses, specially those related to the upper respiratory system. It is also used to improve hair growth and health. Magically, it is used for protection and healing magic, and also to beauty/glamour spells.


Tedera – Arabian Pea (Bituminaria Bituminosa): another roadside plant, with a characteristic scent of tar, that has many properties. Stops bleeding on cuts (so it can be used as a spot-on band-aid), heals the bites of bees, wasps, fleas and other insects, and it is also used to lower blood sugar levels. Magically, it is used for protection magic, specially when hex-breaking is involved, and to remove negative spirits from a house.


Malva – Mallow (Malva Sylvestris): common mallow is a blessing for any kind of illnesses of the mouth and throat. Applying heat to the leaves and placing them on the skin, eases muscle and bone pain; it is also a very useful laxative if used in small amounts. Magically, it is used on cleansing and road opening work, but I personally have used it with excellent results in love magic, specially those works that require reconciliation or sweetening between lovers.


Peral – Pear Tree (Pyrus Communis): Since it is a great diuretic, it is a wonderful aid for those with water retention problems, and/or weak kidneys. It is also very useful for healing ulcers, internal or external. Magically, it is used in healing and cleansing magic, specially the wood, which is used for making charms and objects to protect the user – for example, the crib of a baby.


Eucalipto – Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globulus): there is no other plant that can clean your respiratory system as Eucalyptus can. The vapours help dissolving mucus and phlegm, and also the smoke of the burnt leaves and even the infusion are used for this purpose. Magically, few plants can be a stronger protection against negative magic than this one, as it is one of the most aggressive type of tree – did you know that an eucalyptus can inhibit other plants from growing around it?


Salvia Morisca – Moorish Sage (Salvia Canariensis): this plant shares the abundant properties of most varieties of Sage; here in the islands it is used mainly as a very effective wash for all kinds of infections, wounds and inflammations; eases colds and upset stomachs, and traditionally it is believed to clear the mind and spirit after susto (a big shock, like a sudden death or an accident). Magically, it is widely known its amazing power to cleanse, bless and protect from negative energies.


Pimentero – Pepper Tree (Schinus Molle): Despite its name, this tree has nothing to do with any kind of peppers; its name comes from the fact that its fruits are very similar to pepper seeds. Diuretic, heals scars, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and very useful to relieve pain. Magically, it is a tree with a strong connection to Angelic entities, and thus a very powerful protection tree.


Canarian Sayings Related To Herbs And Health (For A Little Fun)

"Si coges salvia en el campo, no quedarás ni cojo ni manco."

If you gather Sage in the field, you won't end up neither limping nor one-armed.

"Con ortiga y tomillo, tendrás pelo hasta los tobillos."

With nettle and thyme, your hair will grown down to your ankles.

"Malos humores, salen con muchos sudores."

Bad humours come out with a lot of sweating.

"Flores de tila y naranjo, al más malo lo hacen manso."

Flowers of linden and orange tree, make the most evil (person) docile.

"Berros sin cocinar, seguro, seguro, te vas a mear."

Uncooked watercress, for sure, for sure, you are going to pee often.


Removing A Curse In The Tradition Of Santiguado

The Canarian healer/witch is called a Santiguador (male) or Santiguadora (female), a word which could be translated as “he/she who makes (someone) holy”. The tradition of Santiguado (this word refers to the prayer and treatment applied to the patient), as most ancient healing traditions, mixes prayer, ritual and herbal lore on equal parts. The example below is intended to remove “maloficio” (evil eye, curse, negative magic work):

Herbal treatment:

  • A bottle of red wine;

  • Three eggs, laid on the day the work is done;

  • A handful of each of these herbs, fresh or dry: tea, lemon tree (leaves), orange tree (leaves), basil and wild grapevine.

The mixture is slowly cooked together until the wine reduces its volume in half, filtered and then three stones from the furnace that are red hot are placed in the liquid to remove any negative energies from it. The patient must keep this mixture in the fridge and drink a small cup every morning before having any other food or drink.


The patient sits in front of the Santiguadora, a pot filled with water placed between them. The Santiguadora makes the sign of the cross continuously over the water with the right hand, while reciting this prayer:

“Si en la cruz te mato,                 “If on the cross you are killed,

con la cruz me das vida,                with the cross you give me life,

Con el Espíritu Santo                    along with the Holy Spirit

Y la Virgen María.                         And the Virgin Mary.

¡Oh Madre de los Remedios!          Oh Mother of all remedies!

¡Madre de los pecadores!               Mother of all sinners!

Remédiame lo que tengo               Heal my ailment

y quítame los dolores.                    And remove my pains.

Cuando vayas a misa                      When you go to mass

y entres en la iglesia,                     And enter the church,

¿Qué es lo primero que rezas?         What's the first prayer you say?

Un Padre Nuestro y un Avemaría.”    A Holy Father and a Hail Mary.”


Then, the water is thrown away at a crossroads, saying:

“Esta agua bendita                        “This holy water

que te riego aquí,                           that I spill here,

que te pongas buena                     (for) you are healed

y no se me pegue a mí.”                  (and so the ailment)

                                                    doesn't stick to me”

Note – all words between brackets on the English translation are added by me to make the meaning of the prayer easier to understand.

Note II - this article was originally published in my Newsletter - you can subscribe to it here.


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Spiritist and Artisan, follower of Maria Lionza's path. Born and living in Tenerife, one of the beautiful Canary Islands, on the Northwest coast of Africa, her artwork is deeply tied to her African heritage and Latin American Spiritism.


  • Jamie
    Jamie Tuesday, 31 December 2013

    Ms. Gonzalez,

    Happy New Year to you and yours! Thank you for sharing the Canary Island herbal lore, and the curse-removal ritual of the Santiguador.

    Your posts are always great to read!

  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez Tuesday, 31 December 2013

    Thanks to you for your comment Jamie!

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