The Nine Herb Charm

The Borscht of times, the Würste of times

The Anglo-Saxons believed that nine herbs had special powers against illness and evil

The Nine Herb Charm

” A worm came crawling and tore a man asunder. Then took Woden nine magic twigs and smote the serpent that he in nine pieces dispersed. Now these nine herbs have power……… This text from the Lacnunga, a tenth century Anglo-Saxon herbal, provides a myth to explain the origin of the nine sacred herbs. Worm is Anglo-Saxon for dragon, and Woden, the sorceror god, is now better known by his Norse designation, Odin.

The Lacnunga is a collection of nearly two hundred herbs used by the Anglo-Saxons and kept now at the British Library in London. Whoever compiled it gathered material from a wide range of sources, mostly Anglo-Saxon, hence it is not a systematic account, but more of an anthology. One of its contents is the Nine Herb Charm, a quote from…

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