A to Z Herbarium: Heather




Protection, Rain-making, Luck



White heather is used for protection–particularly against rape and violent crimes–and for good luck. Red is used to start or end an affair; purple for spiritual development. Using heather at Samhain will invite spirits to visit, and burning it with fern outside will attract rain.

Heather has antiseptic and diuretic properties, and can be used to treat genitourinary ailments such as bladder and kidney infections. It’s also a soothing plant that can help with nervousness or insomnia. When turned into a liniment it can ease rheumatism or arthritis.

Heather branches have traditionally been used for thatching, stuffing mattresses, insulation, basketry, and making ropes and brooms. Musical pipes can be made out of the rootstock.

The flowering tops of the heather plant can be used to brew beer.


Kitties and Heather

Heather also attracts the elusive Kitty Beasts.



Cunningham’s Encylopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham, 2016, Llewellyn Publications

Green Witchcraft: Folk Magic, Fairy Lore & Herb Craft, Ann Moura, 2014, Llewellyn Publications

Earth Witchery


The Goddess Tree



  1. Heather beer is lovely πŸ™‚ I wonder if it’s a comment on me that I focused on the alcohol from your post? ;P
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles – Dragon Diaries

    • Sara C. Snider

      I say it’s as good a point as any to focus on. πŸ˜‰ I’ve never had heather beer, wouldn’t mind giving it a taste.

  2. Hi Sara – interesting information re Heather and its uses … I’m sure it can be infused to add a ‘scent’ to some drinks etc, and obviously soaps and lotions … We have Roma or Gypsies sometimes in the streets offering tiny bunches of heather as good luck charms …

    Fascinating topic – cheers Hilary


    • Sara C. Snider

      I think heather is so lovely. The cat picture is from when I tried to grow heather indoors… that didn’t really work out. πŸ˜‰

  3. The Pechs were known for brewing ale from heather… Other folklore creatures probably like the plant too πŸ™‚ Happy A-to-Z-ing.

    • Sara C. Snider

      I find it interesting the range of ingredients from which one can (and does) make booze. πŸ˜‰

  4. I always remember my grannie having little cotton bags of heather to help her sleep. I’d rather have the beer myself!

    Amble Bay’s Village Hall!

  5. I didn’t know about white and red heather – I know only the purple one. Actually now I think about it, I’m confusing it with lavender … Interesting post thank you Sara!

  6. I love heather beer – and I have just noticed Soph said nearly the same thing. Makes us sounds like lushes πŸ™‚
    Tasha’s Thinkings – Shapeshifters and Werewolves

    • Sara C. Snider

      You are two peas in a pod! (Because you’re twins, not because you’re lushes hehe.)

  7. My sister’s name is Heather (Hanga), so I have been collecting heather lore for a while πŸ™‚ I’d like to try heather ale one day.

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF – Weird Things in Folktales

    • Sara C. Snider

      Aww that’s sweet. πŸ™‚ I want to try heather ale toooo.

  8. Thanks for the reminder about heather for sweet dreams! Must get some as soon as the season starts πŸ™‚

    • Sara C. Snider

      You’re welcome! Would love to know if it works. πŸ™‚

  9. the elusive kitty beast! i love it! i died laughing.

    heather properties and uses are new to me. pretty and functional.

    great post today.

  10. Michelle Morrison

    Interesting information. It’s funny what kitties are attracted to isn’t it?

    • Sara C. Snider

      Cats are funny in their preferences. Right now Jasper’s (the brown kitty in the back) current favorite toy is a crumpled up receipt tossed on the floor. πŸ˜›

  11. Greetings! Since I am recently experiencing a touch of arthritis, this is a welcomed post! Will try my hand at a Heather Liniment!

    Gail Park
    Making Life an Art

  12. I have both those books (I kept borrowing my friend’s Encyclopedia till I finally broke down and bought my own copy πŸ˜› ), I definitely need to read them more in-depth. Thanks for the info!

    • Sara C. Snider

      They’re good books and definitely worth having. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  13. I love heather. Just a shamem that it is too hot where I live to keep it.
    When I visited Irealnd, there heather was everywhere. Lovely.

    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

    • Sara C. Snider

      Come to Sweden, we have heather! πŸ˜‰ (I don’t get to say that about a lot of things hehe). It is very beautiful, though, I love it too.

  14. Heather is so lovely. I’m inspired to try growing some this year. Maybe I’ll attract a kitty as charming as yours as well. πŸ™‚

    • Sara C. Snider

      I’m thinking I’ll give growing heather a go when we manage to move into a house and I have a garden. My indoor attempt (as pictured above) didn’t work out. And, yes, if you’re lucky you might attract a kitty beast or two. πŸ˜‰

  15. I don’t know much about heather, but I always liked the name. Nice to learn more about it.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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