One of the old things that a RootWork-Conjure practitioner would do is make up their own potions which include incense, powders, oils, etc. This was due to the fact that many of the practitioners were able to get most of the ingredients they needed out in the wild.
Now being transplanted from their native homes to places like Trinidad, Jamaica, North Carolina, Florida, etc., the practitioner would look in the surrounding woods and fields for the requisite ingredients. When they could not find the plant or tree they needed, then they’d do the next best thing: sit and talk to the plant!
This was not a five minute, one day or one week thing, rather this was a considerable amount of time spent in doing this. In fact, the thing my teacher taught me is that the RootMan would sit there and talk to the plant until the plant talked back to him. From the plant he’d find out what it was used for, what parts of it to use and how to use or prepare it. Other times the RootWorker would discover how to use a plant from the Spirits that he was introduced to when he was confirmed. Sometimes these Spirits would teach the RootWorker a formula to help someone and of course they’d have to tell him which plants to use, how to use them and where he could find them.
In this way, the RootWorker was able to have all he needed at his disposal. Also unlike many modern theorists, the RootWorker did not substitute nilly-willy. There is a lot of misinformation out there among those who consider themselves knowledgeable on the subject of Hoodoo, that smell and color alone is what a RootWork-Conjure practitioner would base his substitutions on. Wrong! That is a dangerous way to approach substitution as you are literally trying to substitute by loose association.
When the RootWork-Conjure practitioner had all of his ingredients he’d add them to the root bag one at a time. Prior to just putting them into the bag, he’d say something like, “Spirit of the (plant). I need your power in the name of the Lord to help (client’s name) overcome (affliction). As God commanded and the world was formed, so do I ask you spirit to help (client’s name) gain peace. In the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
If the root bag was for something more sinister, then he may address the ingredients one at a time too but saying something more like, “Mr. Spirit of the (name of plant), I need your help and power. As the Lord allowed the Devil to afflict Job, so too must you afflict (name of victim) and torment him in mind, body and soul. In his whose name is to be said for vengeance, so must you bend your knee and help bring misfortune and misery to (name of victim)! Amen! Amen! Amen!”
Of course this is why I do not call the above true secrets since many in the Southern Conjure arts tend to know such already. However it has been my experience that the general metaphysical community does not know these simple techniques.