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Botanical: Fumaria officinalis
Shakespeare makes several references to the herbe. An interesting peculiarity is that it is very seldom visited by insects. It is self-fertile, and sets every seed. Like curls of smoke rising from the ground, fumitory's grey-green leaves have a ghostly appearance when seen from afar. The plant is a weed that has accompanied cultivation in Europe since at least Neolithic times. In the Greco-Roman world fumitory's name was kaphnos, the Greek for smoke. According to the first-century A.D. naturalist Pliny, an ointment made from fumitory improved eyesight and prevented eyelashes that had been pulled out from growing again. Pliny's contemporary Dioscorides added that fumitory when taken internally worked as a diuretic. According to both authorities, the plant got the name smoke from its sharp-tasting juice, which causes the eyes to tear as they would from smoke.
In Shakespeare's day fumitory was sold in apothecary shops under the Latin name fumus terrae ("earth-smoke"), and according to an herb book published at that time, an extract of the plant or a syrup made from its juice served to stimulate liver function, rid the body of impurities, and clear up certain skin infections. Some recent research suggests that fumitory contains substances that act on the heart and on blood pressure, but this remains unconfirmed. Folk belief credits fumitory with a special power to confer long life.
Recognized by herbalists since the dawning of the Age of Pisces for its ability to purify and cleanse, fumitory also has curious associations with the Underworld. It was believed to have been created out of the gases rising from the bowels of the earth and has a history of use in exorcisms.
An infusion of Fumitory sprinkled around your house and rubbed onto your shoes once a week will draw money to you quickly. Fumitory has been burned to exorcise evil spirits for centuries. Use in a purification bath before your rituals.
An excellent herbe to use on Hallow's Eve, fumitory is among the better incenses for dispelling all negative energies. It may be used to cense a temple but is also useful as a wash, infused in water for the consecration of ritual tools. Fumitory lends itself to rituals of purification, such as the preparation of a new residence before moving in and unpacking.
An interesting use for fumitory is as an incense prior to the Great Rite, where it is used to remove natural tendencies and attractions towards the sensual, thus allowing for better mental discipline and increased spiritual focus.