Need a fun ice-breaker topic to discuss at an upcoming Halloween party?
If so, look no further than this article on herbs used for protection, to ward off evil spirits, as monster repellants, and more.
Read on to discover the spooky and magical side of these ten unique Halloween-themed herbs.
9 Halloween Herbs Used for Protection Throughout History
Most health-conscious people associate herbs with their culinary and potential wellness benefits.*
However, herbs have been used across cultures for thousands of years to provide protection in spells and spiritual or religious ceremonies and even to repel evil spirits, monsters, and shapeshifters.
Like nearly all supernatural or spiritual phenomena, these traditional uses cannot be proven.
However, many of these herbs are still used for protection and prosperity throughout the world.
Here, we explore ten fascinating herbs talked about throughout history for protection, spells, vampires, rituals, and more.
1. Sage for Protection & Driving out Negative Energy
Sage is one of the better-known herbs used for purification, rituals, and protection.
Considered a sacred plant in Native American folklore, burning sage or placing sage leaves in specific locations was commonplace for protection and cleansing.
Smudging refers to a specific cultural practice, but you can work with many different types of herbs for energetic cleansing. White sage (salvia apiana) has been extremely over-harvested, and the use of the term "smudging" can be considered cultural appropriation by some groups.
If you want to work with white sage, it is recommended to grow your sage and develop a relationship with the plant if your climate allows it, or to use only ethically cultivated sage. Sustainable alternatives to white sage include cedar, rosemary, or desert sage.
Using herbs for cleansing is pretty straightforward. The bundle of herbs is lit at the end of the prepared bundle to produce smoke, then use that smoke to cleanse rooms, spaces, or yourself.
2. Chamomile for Repelling Evil Spirits and Good Fortune
In herbal folklore, dating as far back as the ancient Egyptians, Chamomile has been used in rituals and ceremonies to repel unwanted spirits and negative energy and to deepen meditation and prayer.
People from various cultures, including the British, planted chamomile in their gardens and outside their front doors to provide protection and bless their homes.
3. Artemesia for Preventing Accidents, Warding Off Evil Spirits, & Cleansing
Ancient Artemesia plants, such as Mugwort and Wormwood, have a rich history in folklore for warding off evil spirits, cleansing, preventing accidents or misfortune, and attracting love and prosperity.
The name “Artemesia” is believed by some to be derived from the Greek moon goddess, Artemis, and has been cherished by powerful and influential women for its magical and mystical properties.
4. Neem for Protection, Prosperity, and the Afterlife
The Neem tree has a rich reputation in Ayurveda (the traditional wellness practice of India) and throughout Indian culture as a sacred and protective plant.
Many villages and small towns in India are named after the sacred Neem tree, and several ancient religious texts recommend planting Neem trees on one’s property to provide protection from disease and bring prosperity while helping ensure a heavenly afterlife.
To this day, many people plant Neem trees in their yards or hang dried Neem leaves in their home’s entrance to repel evil spirits, disease, and negative energy.
Although we cannot prove what the ancients believed about Neem, research has shown Neem acts as a natural insect repellent, which may explain how it helped keep villagers healthy.REF#3128
5. Hawthorne & Vervain as Vampire Repellent
Vampire enthusiasts are likely familiar with using garlic to ward off hungry vampires.
However, other herbs, such as Hawthorn and Vetiver (as featured in the TV show “The Vampire Diaries”), were also used for protection against vampires, monsters, and evil spirits.
Hawthorn branches were used in various ways across cultures, including fastened to doors, driven into graves (in case the dead were resurrected as vampires), and made into weapons to destroy vampires.
Vervain, also known as Blue Vervain, was believed to be helpful as a weapon against vampires and as a vampire deterrent when worn or ingested.
The Pagans also used Vervain in spells for protection and to ward off evil spirits.
6. Yarrow for Witches, Babies, & Negative Energy
Legend has it Yarrow was a favorite among witches who used it for wellness and in magical potions to help them fly.
Yarrow flowers have been placed on doors and gardens for protection and on baby cribs to protect their souls.
Yarrow is also used in rituals to enhance psychic powers, neutralize negative energy, and bring good fortune.
7. Wolfsbane for Werewolves and Other Supernatural Threats
You can learn a lot from a name.
Wolfsbane, a poisonous herb native to the mountains of Europe, got its name from Greek mythology.
According to the myth, the herb’s poisonous sap came from the mouth of the hell-guarding three-headed dog Cerebuswas.
Wolfsbane was used for various purposes, including as an animal poison (and even for murder), and was believed to protect against various monsters, including werewolves and shapeshifters.
Note: We do NOT recommend handling Wolfsbane as its poison has injured and killed people from contact or ingestion.
8. Rue as the Ultimate Evil Repellant
Rue has long been used to deter all types of pests, including the supernatural, like witches, ghosts, and shapeshifters.
Its use in folklore is likely due to its skunky odor, which would deter anyone from getting close to it! Therefore, it was often planted in front gardens and near doorstops and windows to repel evil.
9. St. John’s Wort for Evil & Mischievous Spirits, Warding off Sadness, & More
St. John’s Wort has become a popular herbal supplement for supporting a positive mental and emotional outlook.*
However, long before its wellness properties were discovered, it was a favorite herb and flower among Europeans and other cultures for warding off evil spirits, mischievous creatures, negative energy, bad luck, and sadness.
People would plant St. John’s Wort in their gardens, wear it around their necks, carry flowers in their pockets for good luck, and/or hang it around their bedposts.
How to Use Herbs for Protection (and Fun) this Halloween…or Any Time
Halloween offers a great excuse to try some of these traditional herbs for protection.
- Create little herbal sachets of Chamomile, St. John’s Wort, and/or Vervain as a unique Halloween party favor for adults
- Add a few herbs to a witch or vampire costume theme
- Do an “herbs for protection” trivia game at your next Halloween party
- Hand out herb-infused chocolates to trick-or-treaters (you can find various chocolates infused with Chamomile and Lavender—which is another herb used for protection—for example)
However you choose to use these herbs—for protection, aesthetics, or wellness, we wish you a very happy and magical Halloween.
For more fascinating facts about the spooky and spiritual sides, see Good Luck Charms: Crystals & Herbs for Friday the 13th.
- 1. , "Field studies on the mosquito repellent action of neem oil", Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health.. 1 1. , "Field studies on the mosquito repellent action of neem oil", Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health..