Lucky hand root is part of a long history of herbal curios being used in good luck, gambling and money traditions. It's actually the name given to several species of orchids whose roots are shaped like hands with finger-like projections. Lucky hand is known by other names including helping hand, salep or saloop root and putty root orchid.
According to African-American hoodoo traditions, lucky hand's grasping fingers are what keeps gamblers of all sorts on the good side of games of chance. They carry it on their person sometimes in a lucky mojo bag mixed with other herbs specifically for money. Another tradition is to pray the 23rd Psalm over the root adding a prayer for what you desire.
This root isn't just used by gamblers. Since much of its power is said to come from the shape, it lends itself for use to anyone who needs a 'helping hand.' This can be in luck, money, love, a job or when you're just having one of those times in life when you feel like you could use a hand up. It's also used in anointing oils for candles, money, other items or worn as a fragrance.
Culinary, Medicinal and Magical Uses of Salep Root
Before coffee became well known the world over, a drink made from salep root, found in Europe and Asia, was a popular hot beverage sold in England believed to be a constitutional strengthener.
The famous astrologer and physician Nicholas Culpeper in his book Culpeper's Complete Herbal lays out a method for gathering, drying and preparing salep root which will provide "the greatest quantity of nourishment in the smallest bulk, and will support the system in privation and during famine..." which is good for travelers or others who may need to carry nutritional reserves with them in small amounts.
Witches are said to have used orchid roots in love spells—fresh ones for true love and dying or dead ones to dispel passion.
If you're interested in this root for money purposes, make sure that you can see the shape of the root in the package. Merchants may sometimes just be selling an orchid root that isn't shaped like a hand. I've found two good sources online for roots, herbs and other curios for luck and spiritual purposes to be luckymojo.com run by Catherine and Nagasiva Yronwode and luckyhoodoo.com run by Miss Alice and Frank Papa Doc. I've ordered products from both and have been happy with my purchases.
Please keep in mind that this information is shared for curio purposes only. This article is part of my series on luck traditions and superstitions. To read more, visit the luck section at BellaOnline's Contests and Sweepstakes site.
Orchids excerpted from A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve, digital version at Botanical.com, 1995-2014. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/orchid13.html
Yronwode, Catherine. Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure. The Lucky Mojo Curio Co., 2002.