Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Dogwood...

Dear Littler B,

In keeping up with the challenge at hand from the A to Z challenge - here we are today with the letter D.  As explained in yesterdays letter, for the purposes of this campaign, while trees are not herbs per say I am including them as they contain both practical and spiritual uses.

I am hoping that I can get this letter to you and not have a gap between letters as this is information you will need and use over the decades.

So here we go with the letter D.


is for Dogwood...


Origin and Identification

At this point I know you already know what a dogwood tree is. Mom has one in the front yard with the 4 petaled flowers that start as white and fade to pink on the edges.  I can't imagine anyone in the lower 48 don't know how to identify one on site.  The Dogwood species (or Cornus) actually consists of up to 60 different variations of tree. They are usually only found in North America and Eurasia / Asia areas.  Old English names vary but an interesting tid bit of information is that one of the earliest names for this tree is the "whippletree" as referred to in the Canterbury Tales. The berries from the tree used to be known as dog berries or hound berries. (keep that in your hat for later in this letter)

Practical Uses of Dogwood

The dogwood tree has highly resilient wood, it is known for being to absorb a lot of energy/force without breaking or miss-shaping. (Possibly one of the main reasons it is used for what it is on the metaphysical side but I'm getting ahead of myself.) For this reason, dogwood is often used to make handles for things that need to perform that function such as golf clubs and tool handles.  In the old days it was even used to make wooden teeth as well as some of the first effective chewing sticks/toothbrushes.  

The inner bark can be used brewed into a tea for treatment of headache and fever.  The fruits of the tree are used to treat diarrhea and other conditions. The fruit of the Cornus Kosa variety known is the most widely consumed that I have seen so far. The leaves or bark can be made into a tincture to apply to skin for use in treatment of skin conditions like eczema. The petals of the tree are edible such as the redbud variety and are often used in jams and candied.



Metaphysical Uses of Dogwood

There is a story about the dogwood tree in Christianity as it relates to the crucifixion. Allegedly the dogwood lumber was used for the building of the cross. As a reminder of its part in the crucifixion, it was deemed that the tree would forever grow short so as not to ever be able to be used in such a way again.  The flowers were tipped in red to resemble it's part in the blood and two petals would grow longer than the others so as to form a cross. Pink dogwoods are said to be such for their shame in the spilling of the blood A great rendition of the story can be found at Creation Tips

To the Celtic, this wood is known as the hero's tree as it is associated Cuchulain (the Dog of Chullain) who was known for his loyalty and hero status. For this reasons the wood is used in times where heroism, protection or super-human characteristics are needed.

By E. Wallcousins - Charles Squire, Celtic Myths and Legends, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3486105

The Dogwood was chosen by me today for its two most well known metaphysical properties. It is known for protection and wish granting.  Dogwood leaves can be pressed into a protection amulet or wood carved into an amulet itself.  It is also said that the sap of a dogwood placed on a cloth during Midsummer Eve (6/19/16 in the US) and carried with you constantly will grant any wish you may have.

Well, that is about it for me today. I have much to catch up on and it is already mid-afternoon.  Until tomorrow and letter E!

Much love and hope for a wiser you from a not so wise me,

Bigger Little B. 


  1. Love learning something new everyday. The Celtics use of the tree was a great find.

  2. I have always loved Dogwoods for their beauty, and because they reminded me of my Grandparent's house and the comfort I felt there. Never realized they were so versatile!!

  3. Thank you Heather! I should give you credit on these as you helped me map out my month! Did you also know an old English name for them was Dagwood as the wood (being energy absorbing) was often used for the hilts of daggers?

    1. I do NOW! love it. I'm going to have to make one now.

  4. I learnt a great deal with this post, thank you! I'm really looking forward to your future posts :)

    @LunaNoctis from There She Goes

  5. So interesting! I have eczema. I have views on the cross nobody wants to know though.

  6. Thank you Plagued Parent! You would be surprised how the most common things have such amazing uses both physically and spiritually!

  7. Thank you Luna! Looking forward to learning as well! I am getting surprised by the things I thought I knew yet never knew enough!

  8. I'm with you on that Heiei! Dogwood is well known for it's astringent qualities. I have issues with a lot of issues with my celtic & Norse origins hence fair skin. Can't wait to try some recipes that I have come across!

  9. Say hello to possibly the only person in the lower 48 who could not identify a dogwood on sight... until today. Thanks for the wonderful post!

  10. Thanks Jenn! I am so glad that there are actually those out there that are learning something from me! That was a big smile on my face! Hope you stick around for more!