Herbs in Mystical Greenwood

April showers bring May flowers. So this month I thought I’d talk about the herbs that appear in Mystical Greenwood.

Wortcunning is a real term that I found in my research. I liked it and chose to use it in the book. The herbs Saershe employs for medicinal purposes were likewise inspired by real herbs and the treatments for which they were used.

Here they are:

*Photos from Wikimedia Commons.

I’ve discussed before how fantasy can often be rooted in reality, especially when it comes to world-building. Originally when I was conducting research on herbs and plants for medicinal purposes, I chose herbs primarily for their purposes and didn’t give too much initial thought to where they came from. Eventually though I decided I wanted them to all have a generally similar place of origin to make the sense of reality stronger (similar to how I chose trees sacred to the ancient Celts), so some were discarded, and new ones came in, specifically Comfrey and St. John’s Wort. Yarrow, wild mint, and red clover were there from the beginning, and I’d decided were able to be kept.

Some are referred to by their proper names in the novel. Others are instead referred to by alternate names (which are given for those who haven’t yet read the novel). I didn’t set out to use those alternate names; I found them when I was reading about those herbs. I chose to use the alternate names because I felt their proper names sounded too modern and would not fit in a fantasy world (similar you might say to how dinosaur species in the Land Before Time films were referred to by names such as “Longneck” and “Sharptooth”).

Their healing abilities may be exaggerated for the purposes of storytelling, as Saershe also uses magic when employing them (it is a work of fiction after all), but I did try to make sure their purposes would be mostly authentic, and so the story did not stray out of that feeling of reality.

Don’t forget to order your copy of Mystical Greenwood!

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Further Reading
  1. Celtic Herbs
  2. Wildflowers of Ireland

13 thoughts on “Herbs in Mystical Greenwood

  1. A very strange saying. There are at least twice as many flowers in April than in May. I hate May! This is a far less beautiful month, and most years it brings terrible weather too. After the beauties of April, this month is nasty, often cold, with wild winds ( rough winds do shake the existing few darling buds).
    Maybe in more northern countries May is like April in the countries I know in Central and Southern Europe, but then there June should be like May here.
    Maybe. Here I love June again,month of the linden trees in blossom,early summer, good temperature. But not May.


  2. I appreciate the depths of your research, and how you use it to support your world-building. Even in other genres where the “world” is “real”, the importance of research cannot be overlooked!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I needed to research herbs for my historical novel, Jealousy of a Viking. My protagonist is a herbalist, or ‘wise woman’, and uses herbs extensively. I found it quite fascinating doing the research, bu I had to be careful to only use plants that grow in the north of England, as that is where she’s based.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am sooo tired of the rain! Hopefully the warmer weather will kick in sometime this May! LOL! Great insight on herbs and how you used them in your novel, Andrew. Cheers and all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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