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Pedicularis groenlandicaElephant's Head (Pedicularis groenlandica) Info

Magickally, this Moon plant is good for preparing for astral travel or clairvoyant states. Its flower essence helps one acquire wisdom, contact angels, and connect to Elemental Earth energy. This magick herb is also associated with Water.

Herbal Uses
As would be expected from a Moon plant, people have taken elephant's head as a remedy for insomnia. It is also used for muscle strain due to overwork, sprains, joint pain, night-time cramps, and as a preliminary before bodywork such as massage. It is very relaxing to voluntary muscles, but large amounts can make a person goofy and lethargic--this Moon plant can make you act like a moon-calf. It has been applied to fevers, as a general sedative, and against anxiety, and some herbalists give it to overexcited children who can't sleep or who are hyperactive (it is non-toxic). The Cheyenne made it into a tea to break up a cough. The whole flowering herb is harvested for the tincture, but only the flowers, fresh or dried, are made into a tea.

In the Garden

The flowers on this plant really do look like pink elephant heads (see pic below); they hold a sweet nectar bees love. Blooming stems rise 10-20"/15-70cm tall from a base of fern-like leaves. This member of the Snapdragon family likes to grow at high altitudes in western North American but is also found in Labrador and Greenland. Elephant's Head enjoys growing in moist meadows and along cold streams, springs, ponds, and lakes at moderate to high elevations (grows at 8,000-13,000 ft in Colorado, for instance). Other Pedicularis species are often parasitic and can absorb alkaloids from the host plant, but this species is rarely parasitic. Pedicularis species are sometimes called lousewort because the Cherokees used Pedicularis canadensis to get lice off sheep and puppies; they are not related to the plant usually called lousewort (Stachys officinalis).  This plant is also known as Bull Elephant's Head, Pink Elephants, Elephanthead Lousewort, Greenland Lousewort, Little Red Elephant, and Fernleaf. Top

How to Grow Elephant's Head

Mix seeds with a spoon of moist vermiculite, clean sand (not beach sand), or peat moss. Put in a baggie and keep in the fridge for 1-2 months. This is a good seed to try the soaking method with, since it is triggered to germinate due to snowmelt--put seeds in water and soak in refrigerator, changing for fresh cold water daily, for two weeks, then plant. Or sow on Winter Solstice (see the Solstice Sowing page). Transplant to wet, rich soil and partial shade. Harvest when flowering. This perennial plant can survive in the coldest zones (2-4), down to -50F/-46C, but won't grow in hot areas. General growing info Top


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Astral Work
Contacting Angels
Moon Herb

2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission