Plants, herbs, and flowers are medicine and have been used for spellwork, healing, and physical and energetic protection since ancient times. So if you’re a kitchen or green witch or just interested in plants, this article will show you the best herbs to perform protection magic with and create an energetic barrier or boundary for yourself.
Many of these herbs grow wild in hedgerows or in your back garden. Others can be picked up inexpensively from your local garden center, or you can purchase dried versions from sellers on Etsy.
What is protection magic?
Life is full of change, challenges, and the unexpected. It’s unrealistic to think you can experience a lifetime here on earth without anything bad happening to you. This is not the aim of protection magic.
What it can do is help you clarify what you do and don’t want to attract into your world. It can energetically protect a space (such as your home) or you as you enter a space that is out of your control (an office or even a social media channel). It can help you create stronger boundaries to feel safe and at peace. Protection magic can also reduce anxiety and stress about a current situation or future outcome.
The key thing to remember with any spellwork and magic is that it should feel authentic to you. Follow your intuition when creating a ritual or performing a spell. Anything you read or learn anywhere is merely a suggestion—take and leave what you want.
16 Amazing herbs to use for protection
Below I’ve rounded up a list of some of the most common herbs used for energetic and physical protection. Use these whenever you feel called to protect your energy or sacred space.
Lavender is most commonly known for its beautiful fragrance and calming power. But it also has magical properties. It can be burned (like sage is) to purify and cleanse a space before ritual or hung outside a house to ward off evil spirits.
I love to add some fresh lavender sprigs or a handful of dried buds to a new moon bath ritual or a herbal, home-brewed tea.
2. Holy Basil
Holy basil is considered a sacred plant and has been worshipped by many ancient cultures worldwide. It is commonly grown in India (and known as Tulsi), where it is revered as a highly sattvic plant, a yogic term for a food that brings light, clarity, wisdom, and compassion to the person who consumes it.
Holy basil is a herb used to protect and purify homes, temples, and other sacred spaces.
3. Garden Sage
Garden sage is different from white sage, which is native to indigenous lands in California. White sage can only be grown in specific areas and is currently endangered. Garden sage is not under threat and is much easier to cultivate—have a go at growing it in your back garden.
Garden sage is a wonderful alternative to white sage when looking to do a “sage smudge” and burn a small bundle of herbs to cleanse your space before altar work. You can also add it to an open fire to protect your home. It has long been linked to good luck, wisdom, protection, and strength.
Rosemary is commonly known as a herb used to season Sunday roast dinners, but it’s also one of the best herbs for protection, magic, and spells.
It cleanses and purifies your auric field (great for when you’ve been around someone or somewhere full of bad vibes). You can also place a rosemary bundle under your pillow to ward off bad dreams or evil spirits at night. Rub some rosemary oil on your temples, wrists, or the back of your neck to clear your energy. And if you suffer from anxiety, rosemary can soothe this.
Burn it during a ritual, hang it around your home, or add it to your next bath ritual.
5. Mint & Peppermint
Mint and peppermint are herbs you can use for protection in sacred women’s circles to create a safe, nourishing space for all. It has a strong, distinct aroma that is wonderful in witchy cocktails, teas, or baths. Because it repels and protects simultaneously, you can add a sprig of mint to a spell jar or dream pillow to protect you from nightmares.
Many grow it in their front gardens or hang it in doorways to keep evil spirits and negative energy away.
In Ayurveda, it’s said to help us release anything that no longer serves us (i.e., bad thoughts/limiting beliefs/weak boundaries)—another reason why it’s a great herb for protection.
Rose is typically associated with romance, love spells, heart opening, and healing. But by nourishing our heart space, we can work through anything that feels heavy, protect our energy, and set firmer boundaries.
And rose smells divine. Use rose petals to make your own massage oil, or add them to a protective bath. You can also infuse water with rose petals and sip it like an elixir or whip up a delicious rose latte that is almost too pretty to drink!
Horsetail is an ancient herb said to have been growing on our planet millions of years before dinosaurs!
In terms of protection, this herb is great for adding to a protection bag or herb bundle and creating and strengthening personal boundaries. Horsetail is also used to ground your energy or perform a spell or petition to the planet Saturn.
Nettle is the “stinging” plant that grows wild and is brewed in teas or soups for its numerous health benefits (boosting energy, improving circulation, reducing stagnation).
Use nettle herbs when you wish to set boundaries for protection. This plant will help you build an inner sanctuary that others cannot penetrate and can also help build your self-worth and energy reserves.
Neem is a plant native to Asia with many physical, energetic, and spiritual benefits. The leaves from this tree are often hung at the entrance of a home to keep out evil spirits, brides bathe in neem leaves before their wedding, and newborns are laid on a bed of neem to promote protection and prosperity.
It’s also great for your skin and hair. Look out for neem body washes and shampoos to hydrate and soothe skin conditions.
10. Bay leaf
I’ve written an entire post dedicated to the magic of bay leaves which you can read here. Bay leaves are often used in soups, stews, and casseroles to infuse flavor and depth into a dish. But bay leaves are also herbs of banishment, protection, and manifestation.
Write your wish on a bay leaf, burn it, place them around your home or under your pillow for extra protection, or even carry one in your pocket or handbag to cleanse your aura.
Similar to lavender, chamomile is known for its calming and soothing properties. But this delicate herb can also be used for protection purposes.
Since ancient Egyptian times, chamomile has been associated with the Gods. It has been used in plant medicine and rituals by all ancient cultures since.
Weave it into your next ritual to protect yourself from negative energy, or plant it outside your home as a protective barrier. It’s also perfect to use in good luck spells and to call in more abundance. Burn it while you meditate or pray to deepen your practice and connection. Chamomile can also be used to cleanse your aura or added to a herbal tea or bath to help you relax at the end of a heavy day.
In ancient times, comfrey was used to bind and heal wounds and broken bones because it’s incredibly soothing to the skin. But you can also use these herbs as protection from theft, to ensure you have a safe journey, or to protect your home.
To strengthen your boundaries, add comfrey to spell bags or burn it when you next create a sacred circle or do altar work.
Associated with Artemis—Goddess of the moon and nature—mugwort is a well-known herb that has long been used by women. To regulate their menstrual cycle, induce a period, reduce PMS and cramps, and promote healing after abortion, miscarriage, or childbirth.
Mugwort is sometimes called a “lunar herb” and can induce and enhance divination and psychic dreams and visions. It can also protect from fatigue, injury, and poison.
In Roman times, soldiers would carry vervain with them into battle or sprinkle their homes with it for protection. Vervain has purifying and protective properties and can cleanse a sacred space (such as a personal altar or temple).
Aside from using this herb for protection, vervain can aid astral work and psychic powers and be used in various love spells.
Mullein is one of the lesser-known herbs for protection and can offer love, courage, and protection. In addition, it can be used to keep away bad dreams and keep you safe in the car while traveling.
Like most plants, mullein has numerous benefits to the body and mind. It can help move you into a calm state, release thought patterns and constrictions that are not serving you, and expand.
Finally, on this list of herbs that can be used in protection spells and magic is aloe vera. Typically, aloe gel is applied to soothe sunburn or minor cuts. It’s also eaten in some countries for health benefits.
But aloe is thought to be a plant ruled by the moon and the element of water, which infuses it with protective powers. Plant some in your garden to ward off negative energy. Add it to your next bath ritual to relax and cleanse your aura.
When to use these herbs for protection
Depending on your beliefs or lineage, you may have specific times you like to reserve for spellwork and magic. Alternatively, you might perform a spell spontaneously when the desire hits you.
Again, there is no right or wrong. But if you are looking for some opportune moments to perform protection spells, here are some suggestions:
- On the new or full moon
- At the start and/or end of the day
- Before and/or after you travel
- On the wheel sabbats (Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, etc.)
- Before meditating or practicing yoga
- Before you get married or just after
- At the start of a women’s circle or sacred gathering
- Before and/or after attending a big event or being in a large crowd
- Before and/or after you open your emails or a social media app
- After you give birth
Ready to source your herbs and dabble in protection magic?
Remember that energetic work like this is not a substitute for physical action in the real world. For example, if you know you need to create boundaries or strengthen them, you could perform a protection spell or make a protection spell jar. But it’s equally important to clarify your boundaries and start asserting them.
Perhaps that means saying “no” more often or being more selective about who you spend time with. This is not always easy, especially if you’re used to being a “yes” person.
If you’re new to working with herbs and plant medicine, let your intuition guide you as you read the list above. What stands out to you? What do you feel most called to?
Follow this and use it to pick one or two herbs to start experimenting with and using to perform protection spells and rituals.