While many witches and other magic-users enjoy wildcrafting for the ingredients for their rootwork, elixirs, spells and healing preparations, some herbs are threatened by over-collection or loss of habitat and should never be collected in the wild. Some are threatened only in certain places and grow in abundance elsewhere. Always check your local DNR’s website to see what herbs are protected in your area and, of course, always get permission before collecting.
If an herb is protected, consider using an alternative. There is often another herb you can use in its place with good results. If you really want to use a threatened herb, consider growing it in your yard. Many wild plants will do well if you take the care to recreate their natural habitat.
Some localities have native plant societies that conduct plant rescues, retrieving threatened native plants from land slated for development. These may be offered for sale to the public for planting in gardens. Many threatened species are slow growers and take a long time to multiply, but the time and effort you put into it will be reflected in your magic, even if it’s many years later.
A List of Threatened Magical Herbs
Note that this list may not be comprehensive and may not reflect the situation in your area. Check with your state’s Department of Natural Resources for the information most pertinent to your locality.
Arnica – Arnica spp.
Black Cohosh – Actaea racemosa
Bloodroot – Sanguinaria canadensis
Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides
Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa
Cascara Sagrada – Frangula purshiana
Gentian – Gentiana spp.
Ginseng – Panax quinquefolius
Echinacea – Echinacea spp.
Eyebright – Euphrasia spp.
False Unicorn Root – Chamaelirium luteum
Goldenseal – Hydrastis canadensis
Kava Kava – Piper methysticum
Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum pendatum
Mayapple – Podophyllum peltatum
Lady’s Slipper – Cypripedium spp.
Lobelia – Lobelia spp.
Peyote – Lophophora williamsii
Sandalwood – Santalum spp.
Slippery Elm – Ulmus rubra
Trillium, Beth Root –Trillium spp.
Unicorn Root- Aletris farinosa
Virginia Snakeroot – Aristolochia serpentaria
White Sage – Salvia apiana
Wild Yam – Dioscorea villosa, D. spp.
Boswellia (Frankincense) – Boswellia spp.
Source: The United PlantSavers Website. Please visit http://www.unitedplantsavers.org/ to find out how you can help them save these natural treasures.