Looking for the perfect herb for a protection sachet or homemade incense? Magical protection is one of the most often-practiced (and important) types of the craft.
If you’re putting together a special blend to help guard yourself, your loved ones, or your belongings, here are some protection herbs for you to consider:
These fragrant roots are carried for protection from all sources of harm.
A staple of American folk magic, it was first used for protection from illness in medieval Europe.
Some practitioners regard angelica as a little too good at what it does — like an overbearing parent, it may guard against things you don’t necessarily want or need protection from.
Anise repels malevolent spirits. It’s also used as a protective sleeping charm.
Include the seeds in dream pillows to guard against nightmares.
While working with spirits, including some anise in your protective measures will keep evil spirits out.
The ash tree is a wonderful protective charm for those on or near bodies of water.
You can also keep evil spirits out of your home by hanging a piece of ash over your front and back doors, or by scattering chips of ash wood throughout your home.
If you choose to create herbal sachets to hang over your doors, you can include ash chips.
4. Balm of Gilead
(Multiple species, often Populus balsamifera)
Balm of Gilead is especially protective in love magic.
It’s said to ease broken hearts and put a stop to envious people who try to sabotage the relationships of others.
Used in the bedroom, it helps preserve marital harmony by protecting against arguments and strife.
Bloodroot protects against baneful magic when used in the home.
Place some in a pouch and hang it somewhere safe (and high enough to be out of reach of curious pets or children) to keep negative energy and hexes at bay.
A protective herb across many traditions, especially for people who work with the dead.
Carrying it in a pouch or hanging it above a doorway helps to repel spirits of the deceased who have attached themselves to the living.
Scotch broom is used to send supernatural entities packing and protect places from evil.
Make an infusion and sprinkle it around the home to clear evil away.
While not a top contender for incense or herbal sachets, cacti are nonetheless a very strong protective herb. They work best when they’re grown near the front and back door.
Their thorns work via a kind of sympathetic magic — as they pierce the air that passes through these doors, they also prick and pierce negative energy, keeping it outside.
Red carnations, specifically, are regarded as promoting passion, vitality, and protection.
They are a flower of physical strength, allowing the user to fight to protect themselves.
They’ve also been worn as a protective talisman, and, when planted in a home garden, are said to repel evil.
These unassuming little seeds have a very interesting traditional use: preventing theft.
It’s said that anything with caraway in it can’t be stolen, even a lover. Feeding it to livestock is purported to keep them from wandering away.
Placing a dish of it under a child’s crib is said to protect them from witches, and, in Germany, it was sprinkled on coffins to keep evil spirits from bothering the dead.
11. Dragon’s Blood
(Multiple species, primarily Dracaena cinnabari)
When burned as incense, dragon’s blood protects people going into danger.
In many traditions, it’s also considered a power herb. This means that it boosts the strength and effectiveness of any mixture to which it is added, making it especially helpful for adding some metaphorical fire to protective blends.
Fennel is another good choice for hanging protective sachets.
When hung in the windows and doors of a home it guards against malevolent spirits.
Grown in the garden, it provides general protection and attracts luck.
When diluted into a carrier oil, frankincense is useful for drawing protective symbols on people, objects, or above entry points in a home.
It guards against negativity and evil, a characteristic that may be an extension of its abilities as a purification herb.
See article: Frankincense: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.
(Crataegus species, especially C. monogyna)
Hawthorn is helpful against spirits and baneful magic.
This may be because the tree is beloved by fairies — cutting one down was a surefire way to invite trouble into one’s life, but planting it around the home is said to keep evil spirits at bay.
As a thorny plant, hawthorn also has sympathetic magic on its side. Just as the thorns keep predators away, they can repel negative energies as well.
Hazel (not to be confused with witch hazel, below) is good for emergency situations.
If you’re outdoors and in need of some quick magical protection, use a hazel wand to draw a circle around you, or who or what you’re trying to safeguard.
Placing hazel twigs in window sills is said to protect a house from lighting. In a similar sense, driving three pegs of hazel wood into your home is said to guard against fire.
These trees, with their distinctive waxy, spiky foliage, are an excellent choice for keeping all forms of intruder out of your home.
Placing the leaves under your bed also guards against disturbances and gives you a peaceful, restful sleep.
Just make sure children and pets can’t get to them, as the leaves and berries are toxic.
Juniper was traditionally burned to ward off disease and protect cattle. In some areas, it was also used to guard against evil magic.
This plant is also said to protect against thieves.
When grown or hung near the front door, it serves as a ward against malevolent spirits.
Oak has a very long history as a sacred tree. Placing the acorns in windowsills is said to prevent lightning strikes and attract luck.
Carrying the acorns with you has a similar effect, guarding against sudden storms and evil energy alike.
Rosemary is great for warding homes against the spells of others.
Make wreaths of the twigs and branches and hang them in the home to protect the occupants from hexes and other negative magic.
Hanging it over an infant’s cradle was said to keep fairies from stealing the baby and replacing it with a changeling.
Carrying a twig of rosemary is also said to be an effective talisman against the evil eye.
See article: Rosemary: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.
20. Rose Geranium
Rose geranium is said to instill courage and protect from harm.
It’s usually used in essential oil blends, where its fragrance can be appreciated.
Rose geranium shouldn’t be confused with wood or wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), which is mostly used in magic for happiness and fertility.
21. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm has a very narrow focus of protection, but it’s excellent at what it does.
If you have an enemy slandering you behind your back, slippery elm can ensure that none of the gossip “sticks.”
22. St. John’s Wort
A fast-acting protective herb that’s especially effective at calming arguments between people and eliminating negative energy.
It’s also used as a talisman against lightning strikes.
Thyme is an excellent herb for guarding against the negative energy of other people.
It’s especially useful for therapists, social workers, healthcare workers, and other people who frequently have to deal with people who are stressed or in crisis.
If you’re an empath, thyme can help you protect yourself from taking on too much negative emotion that doesn’t belong to you.
See article: Thyme: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.
24. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is often confused with the wytch elm of Europe, sometimes also called “witch hazel.”
There is not much traditional magical lore for this plant, but the bark and twigs are used to protect against negative energy.
Wands made of this wood are said to be particularly effective for protection magic.
Honorable Mention: Stone Fruits
Stone fruits are any fruit that has a hard pit in the center, like peaches, plums, and apricots. These pits are often included in charm bags for protection.
This is another example of sympathetic magic — as the hard shell of the pit protects the seed, the target of the spell will be similarly surrounded and kept safe.
Not all protective herbs serve the same purpose. It’s not enough to see them listed on a chart under the word “Protection” and assume that they can be swapped and substituted with each other.
Each magical herb, tree, and flower has its own traditional lore and reasoning for why it’s used a certain way.
While you can develop a relationship with plants that allows you to work with them in unconventional ways, this list can give you a quick background and help you make suitable substitutions when you need to.