Countless plants were tested by sorcerers in the hope of achieving power. Many plants of today still bear the testimony to these experiments, long after the plant has lost its supernatural reputation. Verbena, for instance, is the generic name of many shrubs and herbs. It recalls the use of one verbena species, V. Officinalis, or vervain, in sacred festivals in ancient Rome.
Garlic is a plant that has long enjoyed a reputation for white magic-the power to turn back the evil forces of black magic. Over the centuries not only has this homely plant herb added vitamins and minerals to meals, it was also said to have defended people against vampires and the plague. Even today, Chinese and Greek, and Jewish grandmothers will sometimes present a clove of garlic to thier infant grandchildren as protection against the evil eye.
In contrast to garlic's reputation for extroardinary goodness, other plants were marked as evil due to thier poisonous or norcotic qualities. These types of plants all to often were used as insruments of human wickedness. Thus belladonna, whose juice is both toxic and sedative, frequently figured in murderers' potions and devilish brews, and came to be known as deadly nightshade, withches berry, and sorcerer's-cherry, among other names.