I am using both gemstones and herbs in my writing for my healer in my fantasy stories. It's some stuff that I know a fair amount on both topics, especially the use of gemstones. As you may have read in my profile or my last post I'm a massage therapist by trade and have a huge interest in the healing arts beyond my career. A lot of minerals that get named have this "ite" suffix to it's name. For example look at the minerals Pyrite and Tanzanite. Pyrite is named because of it's iron content and has a rust red (fire) and thusly named for it's fire and is commonly called "fools gold". Tanzanite is a blue opaque gem that is mainly mined in Tanzania in Africa. Other minerals are named after the people that discovered it or at least claimed discovery and recognized as such. Adamite is one such stone that was named after a person, Gilbert-Joseph Adam, French mineralogist. Adamite is an opaque light yellow crystal. In my stories I think I'll have some of the most common crystals and minerals in it; such as Quartz, and Diamond. The world we are working with also has gold, silver and copper. So, with that being said I am going to be making up some of my own minerals and crystals to suit the book and be named after certain role playing characters. If you know me from one of the games and see your name with an "ite" suffix, you should feel honored.
Now, with herbs I think there are certain herbs that are in common every day use that would fit right into the story line, such as sage, oregano, salt, pepper, basil and garlic, but some will be more of a rare sort and will be made up as I write. Many of these are named after gods and goddesses or named after what it's used for or for the magic the herbs contain.
And now for something completely different. This isn't exactly about my books, but it did tickle my fancy. Last week at about three in the morning we had a little visitation of the wildlife kind to our neighborhood. For some reason I woke up and I'm not entirely sure why. All I know is that as I'm laying there I'm smelling this strange smell. I sniffed my pillow and around the bed and thought I might have been smelling the pungent smell of a skunk, but we have another animal out here in our fair desert called a Javelina, a Peccary. While I was laying there I was hearing the sounds of the newspaper delivery folks dropping off the papers. All of a sudden the sound of the car and papers plopping onto the driveways stopped close to our house and the smell of the Javelina was pretty intense by that time, figuring that they were also quite close to the house as well. After maybe about another five or ten minutes the car moved on and the newspapers continued flying. Somewhat soon after that the stench also dissipated.