An Anglo-Saxon charm recorded in a 10th century manuscript1. The charm is intended to be an antidote to poison and to heal infection. It contains both Pagan and Christian elements and details the Nine Sacred Herbs of Odin.
The Nine Herbs Charm Manuscript is a 10th-century Anglo-Saxon charm designed to counteract poison and treat infections.
This charm blends Pagan and Christian elements, reflecting a potentially Christian-era composition or modification by Christian monks.
A modern English translation of the charm can be found in “Anglo-Saxon Magic” by Godfrid Storms, offering readers access to this historical and medicinal document.
It may have been written during the Christian era or it may be older and edited by Christian monks.
Below is a modern English translation from Anglo-Saxon Magic by Godfrid Storms
Remember, Mugwort, what you made known,
What you arranged at the Great proclamation.
You were called Una, the oldest of herbs,
you have power against three and against thirty,
you have power against poison and against contagion,
you have power against the loathsome foe roving through the land. (Plague?)
And you, Waybread (Plantago?), mother of herbs,
Open to the east, mighty inside.
over you chariots creaked, over you queens rode,
over you brides cried out, over you bulls snorted.
You withstood all of them, you dashed against them.
May you likewise withstand poison and infection
and the loathsome foe roving through the land.
‘Stune'(corn salad or lamb’s cress?) is the name of this herb, it grew on a stone,
it stands up against poison, it dashes against pain,
Nettles it is called, it drives out the hostile one, it casts out poison.
This is the herb that fought against the snake,
it has power against poison, it has power against infection,
it has power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.
Put to flight now, Venom-loather,(cockspur grass or betony? or Nightshade?) the greater poisons,
though you are the lesser,
you the mightier, conquer the lesser poisons, until he is cured of both.
Remember, chamomile (or mayweed, what you made known,
what you accomplished at Alorford,
that never a man should lose his life from infection
after Chamomile was prepared for his food.
This is the herb that is called ‘Wergulu’.(Crab apple?)
A seal sent it across the sea-right,
a vexation to poison, a help to others.
it stands against pain, it dashes against poison,
it has power against three and against thirty,
against the hand of a fiend and against mighty devices,
against the spell of mean creatures.
There the Apple accomplished it against poison
that she the loathsome serpent would never dwell in the house.
Fille (Chervil or thyme) and Finule (Fennel), two very mighty one.
They were created by the wise Lord,
holy in heaven as He hung;
He set and sent them to the seven worlds,
to the wretched and the fortunate, as a help to all.
These nine have power against nine poisons.
A worm came crawling, it killed nothing.
For Woden took nine glory-twigs,
he smote the the adder that it flew apart into nine parts.
Now there nine herbs have power against nine evil spirits,
against nine poisons and against nine infections:
Against the red poison, against the foul poison.
against the yellow poison, against the green poison,
against the black poison, against the blue poison,
against the brown poison, against the crimson poison.
Against worm-blister, against water-blister,
against thorn-blister, against thistle-blister,
against ice-blister, against poison-blister.
Against harmfulness of the air, against harmfulness of the ground,
against harmfulness of the sea.
If any poison comes flying from the east,
or any from the north, or any from the south,
or any from the west among the people.
Christ (Woden?) stood over diseases of every kind.
I alone know a running stream,
and the nine adders beware of it.
May all the weeds spring up from their roots,
the seas slip apart, all salt water,
when I blow this poison from you.
Mugwort, plantago open from the east, lamb’s cress, venom-loather, chamomile, nettles, crab apple, chervil and fennel, old soap; pound the herbs to a powder, mix them with the soap and the juice oaf the apple.
Then prepare a paste of water and of ashes, take fennel, boil it with the paste and wash it with a beaten egg when you apply the salve, both before and after.
Sing this charm three times on each of the herbs before you (he) prepare them, and likewise on the crab apple. And sing the same charm into the mouth of the man and into both his ears, and on the wound, before you (he) apply the salve.