The boots and gloves give you stat bonuses when stored in your inventory. Gloves make you climb a lot faster, boots make you run faster :). The wand can be fired by throwing it in a direction. (takes a bit of time to charge.)
And yes, you can kill/stop enemies in a variety of ways. You can blow them up with potions or berries. Protip: Spikes can be "harvested" used as weapons. Part of the strategy is learning when to fight or run.
The game is supposed to be difficult but rewarding. I really wanted to err on the side of difficult as opposed to easy. Completing the game is supposed to make you feel like you really accomplished something.
another tip: try tossing an item downward while in mid-air!