Rosebay Willowherb (Chamaenerion angustifolium or Epilobium angustifolium) is known as fireweed in America. The British Horticultural society classes this useful and rather pretty plant primarily as a weed. Personally, I believe there is no such thing as a weed.
The sample you see in the picture above happens to grow by the wall of our front garden, right by the gate. A couple of years ago, a tree had started growing in the same crack between the pavement and the wall. I had to take it out because it would have ruined both the path and the wall otherwise – there simply wasn’t enough space for the tree to grow there either. I did it as humanely as possible and rather than using a weed killer, I poured undiluted vinegar into the ground where the roots were to prevent regrowth.
Last year, nothing grew in that crack but this year, we have had both a single poppy (see below) and this lovely rosebay willhowherb. If you look closely, you can see that the poppy is growing behind the rosebay willhowherb plant, its leaves partially covering the stem of the poppy.
In America, rosebay willoherb is known as fireweed due to its ability to spring up from the ground after a fire or some other disturbance of the land. This is because the seeds can last a very long time under ground after the land has become to overgrown (or overpopulated) to be an ideal place for the plant to grow, such as once trees create too much shade etc.
Fireweed also prevents wildfires from spreading. If we translate this to the body, we would see an effect of stopping fever and inflammation, which it does indeed.
It’s obvious that rosebay willowherb gets its name from the bright pink flowers looking a bit like smaller versions of wild rose and the leaves looking very much like bay leaves. This is what wiki says about the look of rosebay willowherb:
The reddish stems of this herbaceous perennial are usually simple, erect, smooth, 0.5–2.5 m (1½–8 feet) high with scattered alternate leaves. The leaves are spirally arranged, entire, narrowly lanceolate, and pinnately veined, the secondary leaf veins anastomosing, joining together to form a continuous marginal vein just inside the leaf margins.
The inflorescence is a symmetrical terminal raceme that blooms progressively from bottom to top, producing a gracefully tapered shape. The flowers are 2 to 3 cm in diameter, slightly asymmetrical, with four magenta to pink petals and four narrower pink sepals behind. The protruding style has four stigmas.
Each plant can produce 80,000 seeds (3-400 per seed pod) and the seeds are easily dispersed by the wind over large areas thanks to being covered with fine hairs. The plant also spreads through it root system and it doesn’t take long for a single plant to create a large patch in a garden.
Rosebay willhowherb blooms between June and September.
Health Benefits of Rosebay Willowherb
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Please consult your GP or a licensed herbal practitioner before you commence any type of herbal treatment.
The fermented leaves of rosebay willowherb were sold as tea in Russia long before black tea took over and became more popular. It is known as Ivan tea or Koporye Tea and is available to buy in the UK. The tea is said to help with “mouth infections, ulcers, and respiratory problems, as well as aiding with urinary tract infections and other kidney-related issues.”
You can find an exhaustive list of conditions that can be treated with this humble ‘weed’ HERE, along with instructions on how to make your own rosebay willowherb tea from the dried leaves or an infusion from the stem and root.
In Chinese medicine, the seeds of rosebay willowherb are used to treat infertility.
Rosebay Willowherb Tarot, Angel & Chakra Correspondences
My illustrated version of Culpeper’s didn’t have rosebay willowherb in it. I did read somewhere that the plant wasn’t as common in the UK a few hundred years ago as it is today, so maybe that is why.
However, I found an online resource that associates rosebay willowherb with Mercury – Not a surprise since all ‘weeds’ are sacred to Mercury and Archangel Raphael.
The many mentions of this plant for being helpful with kidney and prostate problems and immunity in general would pair it with the base/root chakra.
I nominate Judgment as the corresponding card due to its association with the Element of Fire and the phoenix-like qualities of this plant. Judgment corresponds with Archangel Michael for Fire and Archangel Azrael for Pluto.
Magickal Uses for Rosebay Willowherb
Use in life purpose and personal transformation spells, as well as healing spells for any root chakra issues.
Place in a sachet/mojo bag with moss agate and red jasper to regain strength and vitality after an infection.
The plant is said to have an overall revitalising, balancing and grounding effect.
Rosebay willowherb essence can facilitate spiritual breakthroughs and a (re-)connection with your True Self.
Unicorn Blissings ✨🦄✨
Lisa (aka Kallista)