Herbs

Herb of the Day for January 21 is Horehound

Herb of the Day


Horehound

Its Latin name is thought to have come from the Romans who named it after an ancient town, but it may also have derived from the Hebrew “marrob”, meaning bitter herb, as it is still eaten during Passover.                                

Medicinal Uses: Horehound is used in children’s cough remedies, as it is a gentle but effective expectorant.  
It acts as a tonic for the respiratory system and stomach.
Horehound has long been used to treat respiratory infections, including colds and asthma, and to help heal the membranes. Horehound is valuable in the treatment of bronchitis where there is a non-productive cough. It combines the action of relaxing the smooth muscles of the bronchus whilst promoting mucus production and thus expectoration. Because of the bitterness of the herb, it is used mainly in the form of a syrup.                                     
As a bitter tonic, horehound can be made into decoctions, infusions, and tinctures to increase the appetite and support the function of the stomach. It is most beneficial in influenza cases where the patient has lost the desire to eat. It is used to treat liver and gallbladder complaints, dyspepsia, appetite loss, and intestinal worms. It is also used to normalize heart rhythm and improve regularity.                                                                                                   
Externally, infusions and decoctions help heal skin conditions. Horehound is also used externally to promote the healing of wounds.
Horehound has also been used in the fields of gynecology and obstetrics as it as an alternative effect on the menstrual cycle, as well as expelling the placenta after birth. This is achieved by taking a strong infusion or decoction immediately after the birth. Black horehound is not used as much today as its medicinal effect is inferior to horehound, but it can still be substituted for horehound when nothing else is available. It is perhaps the most useful when nausea stems from disorders of the inner ear as opposed to those of the digestive system.
In large doses it acts as a laxative. To use as an expectorant or cough soothing medication, take 1 teaspoon of Horehound leaves and pour 1 cup of boiling water over them.  Keep covered and take 1 tablespoon at a time as needed. Horehound tea can also be made and used to ease the symptoms of a common cold. As a wound cleanser, crush Horehound leaves, boil them in a pan of lard, let cool, and use as an ointment on the wound.  
Depending upon the specific needs, it combines well with Coltsfoot, Lobelia, Elecampane, Wild Cherry Bark and Mullein.

Horehound can cause irregular heartbeat in large quantities, so use with caution.

Magickal uses: Use in protective sachets and carry to guard against sorcery and fascination. It is also an exorcism herb. Drinking an infusion of the herb will clear the mind, promote quick thinking and strengthen the mental powers. Mix with the leaves of ash in a bowl of water for the healing properties and keep in the sick room. In magick, Horehound is bound to the Earth and to Mercury.  It’s name is a derivative of Horus, the Egyptian God of sky and light.
 
Burned as an incense, Horehound is believed to honor Horus, the God of sky and light, and to increase protection from evil forces.

Properties: Horehound: antiseptic, expectorant, heals wounds, stimulates bile flow, stabilizes heart rhythm.
Black Horehound: antispasmodic, antiemetic (relieves vomiting), stimulates bile flow. Contains marrubim, a diterpene lactone, with premarrubim, diterpene alcohols: marruciol, marrubenol, sclareol, peregrinin, dihydroperegrinin, volatile oil, containing a-pinene, sabinene, limonene, camphene, p-cymol, a-terpinolene, alkaloids; traces of betonicine and its isomer turicine, choline, alkanes, phytosterols, and tannins. Marrubiin is a strong expectorant and bitter. As an expectorant, it is believed to be responsible for thinning and loosening airway mucus making it easier to cough up.

Growth: Horehound likes dry sandy soils and full sun. It is a perennial (except in very cold climates) that reaches to 3 feet tall. It is a vigorous grower and can become a pest if not carefully controlled. It needs little water, tolerates poor soils, and does best in full sun. It blooms during its second year. It is indigenous from the Mediterranean region to central Asia, horehound has since become established in central Europe and introduced into America, South Africa, and Australia, flourishing in dry, bare, or open areas. A member of the mint family, it is a square-stemmed perennial, growing to about twenty inches and having toothed, downy grayish leaves and a long woody stem that bears rings of double-lipped, white flowers that evolve into a burr containing a few brown or black seeds. Horehound is gathered in the spring.                                                                                                                      
Black horehound is considered a weed in Europe, thriving in open areas, pavement cracks, by roadsides, and mostly near human habitation. It was intentionally introduced to the US, but it also grows in Asia. Black horehound is a straggling, strong-smelling perennial, growing to about three feet and having oval, toothed leaves and pinkish-purple flowers in whorls at the base of the upper leaves. It is harvested when in flower in the summer. All parts of the plant are used medicinally.

Horehound cough syrup: steep 1 ounce of leaves (fresh or dried) in a pint of boiling water.  Cover, and allow to steep for 10 minutes.  Strain out the leaves, and then measure the quantity of water remaining.  Add honey to equal twice the remaining water, mix well, and bottle.  Take 1 teaspoon as needed up to four times per day.

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l/2 – l teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 1-=15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: 1-2ml of the tincture 3 times a day.

Author

Crick
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Herb of the Day for January 15th is Hemlock *Deadly Poisonous*

Herb of the Day

Hemlock


                                                                      
Socrates drank the juice of poisonous hemlock in order to commit suicide.                                                                   

Medicinal Uses: The whole plant has been used as a traditional folk cancer remedy, narcotic, sedative, analgesic, spasmolytic, anti-aphrodisiac. Hemlock has been used as an antidote for strychnine poisoning. The antidotes for Hemlock are emetics of zinc, castor oil, mustard, tannic acid and stimulants such as coffee.

Poison hemlock is a deadly poison. Ingestion can be lethal. Contact can cause dermatitis; juice is highly toxic. The young poison hemlock plant closely resembles Osha root.

Magickal uses: Once used to induce astral projections and to destroy sexual drives. Rub the juice (be sure to protect your hands) onto magickal knives and swords to empower and purify them before use. Hemlock is ruled by Saturn and associated with the Goddess Hecate.

Properties: astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic. Contains the poison alkaloid, coniine, conhydrine and methyl-coniine.

Growth: A species of evergreen plant; the volatile oil extracted from dried, unripe fruit of Conium maculatum, poison hemlock or a poison made from the hemlock. A European plant with compound umbels of small, white flowers and finely divided leaves. A branched perennial, 2-6 feet tall. Stems are hollow, grooved; purple-spotted. Leaves are carrot-like, but in overall outline more like an equilateral triangle, and with more divisions; leaves ill-scented when bruised. Leafstalks are hairless. Flowers are white, in umbels; May to August. Similar in appearance to caraway, valerian, Queen Anne’s lace, wild carrot, etc. Care should be taken in identifying the hemlock plant; Poison Hemlock is found in waste ground in most of the United States. A good way to distinguish the plant is by the fetid mouse-like smell it emits and by the dark purplish spots that pepper the stem.
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Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for January 11 is Allspice

Herb of the Day

Allspice   


Allspice is used as a paste to soothe and relieve toothache, as well as a mouthwash to freshen the breath. The rind contains the most active medicinal components and is considered to be stimulant in action, particularly the aroma.
The tea has antiseptic properties (due to the eugenol content in the berries) and is used primarily as a digestive aid for flatulence, intestinal gas and indigestion. The tea is also used as an appetite stimulant, and as a carminative. Both the tea and a poultice are used for rheumatism and neuralgia.
Allspice lowers blood sugar (useful in diabetes) and improves protein absorption. The leaves are used in the bath for varicose veins, gout, and edema. The eugenol content is said to promote digestive enzymes in the body.

Magickal uses: Allspice encourages healing and is used in mixtures to ask for money and good fortune. Also used in determination and healing spells

Properties: Aromatic, carminative, stimulant

Growth: Allspice is harvested from a tree that is native to Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Allspice is the dried berry of the pimento, an evergreen tree growing to 40 feet in height. It bears opposite, leathery, oblong to oblong-lancelet leaves whose pinnately arranged veins show prominently on the underside. Small white flowers grow in many-flowered cymes in the upper leaf axils from June to August. The fruit is a fleshy, sweet berry which is purplish-black when ripe.

Poultice: Boil berries and make a thick paste. Spread on a soft clean cloth. The cloth can also be dipped in warm tea and used as hot pack                                                

Pimento water: Combine 5 parts crushed berries with 200 parts water and distill down to half the original volume. A dose is from 1-2 fluid ounces.                                                                                     

Oil: A dose is from 2-5 drops. For flatulence, take 2 or 3 drops on sugar                                                    

Powder: A dose is from 10-30 grains
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Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for January 8th is Ginger

Herb of the Day

Ginger


Ginger was recorded as a subject of a Roman tax in the second century after being imported via the Red Sea to Alexandria.                                      

Medicinal Uses: The root is warming to the body, is slightly antiseptic, and promotes internal secretions. Chop about two inches of the fresh root, cover with one cup of water, and simmer for about twenty minutes, or one-half teaspoon of the powdered root can be simmered in one cup of water. Add lemon juice, honey, and a slight pinch of cayenne. A few teaspoons of brandy will make an even more effective remedy for colds. This preparation treats fevers, chest colds, and flu.  
                                                                                                
A bath or a foot soak in hot ginger tea is also beneficial. The tea without additives helps indigestion, colic, diarrhea, and alcoholic gastritis. Dried ginger in capsules or in juice is taken to avoid carsickness and seasickness. Use about one-half teaspoon of the powder. It works well for dogs and children. Dry ginger is a stimulant and expectorant; fresh ginger is a diaphoretic, better for colds, cough, and vomiting.

Magickal uses: When ginger is eaten before performing spells it will increase your power. Since ginger is a spicy and “hot” herb, it is most effective in love spells. Plant the root to attract money or sprinkle powdered root into pockets or on money for prosperity. Ginger also ensures success. The Dobu tribe of the Pacific Islanders use ginger in much of their magick. By first chewing it, they then spit it at the “seat” of an illness, or at an oncoming storm to stop it while still at sea.

Properties: Antispasmodic, anti-emetic, analgesic, antiseptic, appetizer, aromatic, carminative, condiment, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge, pungent, sialagogue, stimulant Topically: increases blood flow to an area.            Contains bisabolene, borneal, borneol, camphene, choline, cineole, citral, ginerol, inositol, volatile oils, PABA, phellandrene, phenols, alkaloids, mucilage, acrid resin, sequiterpene, vitamins B3, B5, zingerone, and zingiberene.

Growth: The ginger plant is an erect herb with scaly underground stems that branch in a finger-like fashion and is known as “hands.” The stem reaches a height of about of 3-4 feet, the leaves growing 6-12 inches long. The sterile flowers are white with purple streaks and grow in spikes. The stem is surrounded by the sheathing bases of the leaves. The flowers are yellowish with purple lips. It is indigenous to tropical Asia and cultivated in other tropical areas, especially Jamaica.
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Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for January 3rd is St. Johns Wort

Herb of the Day

St. Johns Wort


(Hypericum perforatum)

The first century Greek physicians Galen and Dioscorides recommended it as a diuretic, wound healing herb, and a treatment for menstrual disorders. In the sixteenth century Paracelsus, who ushered in the era of mineral medicines, used St. John’s wort externally for treating wounds and for allaying the pain of contusions. St. John’s wort flowers at the time of the summer solstice, and in medieval Europe it was considered to have powerful magical properties that enabled it to repel evil.                                                                                                                                                        

Medicinal Uses: St. Johns wort is useful for bronchitis, internal bleeding, healing wounds, and for dirty, septic wounds. It is used to ease depression, headaches, hysteria, neuralgia, shingles, as well as symptoms that occur during menopause. It is useful in swellings, abscesses, and bad insect stings. Studies are showing that it may be effective in combating AIDS by increasing the immune functions of the body. It is taken to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps, sciatica and arthritis.    
                                 
St. John’s wort is also used to treat circulation problems, bronchitis and gout.    
Internally, St. John’s Wort is believed to be of benefit for symptoms of  depression, anxiety, cough, digestion, bronchial problems, diarrhea, fatigue, flu, gout, insomnia, irritability, and ulcers.  As an anti-depressant, it may take some time when used regularly to have any noticeable effects.  A Tea can be made for any of the above symptoms using the leaves or flowers, and the dosage should be 1-2 cups morning and night until the symptoms retreat.  
Externally, St. John’s Wort can be made into an Ointment for bruises, wounds, burns, hemorrhoids, sunburn, herpes sores, varicose veins, sciatica, and nerve pain.  An Oil can be made to rub on areas affected by arthritis and rheumatism, inflammations, sprains, and massaged around the spinal cord for back pain symptoms.  

The use of St. John’s wort can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. People with a history of manic-depressive illness (bipolar disorder) or a less severe condition known as hypomania, should avoid use of St. John’s wort as it may trigger a manic episode.                        

Magickal uses: St. Johnswort is hung around the neck to prevent fevers. Wearing the herb aids you in war and other battles, including those of the will and indecision. Burnt it will banish evil and negativity. Hung in the home or carried, it will prevent spells of others from entering, and it is used in exorcisms. If you pick the plant on the night of St. John and hang it on your bedroom wall, you will dream of your future husband. The red juice of the stems was associated with the blood of John the Baptist, hence the plant’s name.

Properties: antidepressant, antiseptic, pain killer, and anti-viral agent. Contains hypericin and other dianthrones, flavonoids, xanthones, and hyperforin.

Growth: St. Johnswort is a perennial reaching 32 inches tall. It is grown throughout much of North America. It prefers rich to moderately rich soils, and full sun. It is not long-lived, so replant every few years. Harvest the leaves and flower tops as they bloom and store in air-tight containers.
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for December 28th is Cedar

Herb of the Day

Cedar



Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the leaves has been used to treat stomach troubles. Steam from an infusion of the leaves has been inhaled in the treatment of colds. Lummi people chew and swallow cedar buds for sore lungs while
Cowlitz people chew these same buds for toothache, and the Skokomish boil them for a gargle. Skagit people also boil the leaf ends for coughs. Nez Perce made a tea of the boughs for coughs and colds. Leaves were made into a tea to combat diarrhea. The leaves are mildly diuretic and a phagocyte stimulator, especially of macrophage activity. Cedar is said to contain the antitumor compound, podophyllotoxin.

All parts may be toxic

Magickal uses: Cedar chips used in rituals or burnt attracts money, and is also used in purification and healing. It is a symbol of power and longevity. Cedar is used for a purifying fumigation and to cure the tendency of having bad dreams. Some Native Americans use twigs of cedar, smoldering of made into incense, to heal head colds and on hot rocks in sweat lodges for purification. Hung in the home it protects against lightning. Placing a three-pronged cedar stick, prongs up, in the ground, will protect the home from evil. Juniper can be used in place of cedar.

Properties: diuretic, antitumor

Growth: There are many types of cedars that grow throughout the world. Cedar is found in all classes and conditions of soils — from acidic wetlands to dry, rocky ridges. The mature leaves average 1/16 inches in length and are opposite. They are smooth, shiny, dark green and glandular. On young foliage, leaves are somewhat needle-like: linear; pointed; and prickly. They occur in whorls of three. The fleshy fruit is round, 1/4 to 1/3 inch in diameter and, at maturity, a bluish color with a grayish-white, waxy covering. The tree commonly is 40 to 50 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 1 to 2 feet, but it may grow much larger. The short, slender branches form a compact, pyramidal crown, except on very old trees. The bark is light reddish-brown. It is thin and separates into long, peeling, fibrous strips.
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Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for December 18th is Amaranth

Herb of the Day

Amaranth

 

Medicinal Uses: Amaranth is used to battle stomach flu, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis. It was used by Native Americans to stop menstruation and for contraception. It is also used internally for diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhage from the bowels, and nosebleeds. Amaranth seed and leaves have been used effectively as an astringent for stopping diarrhea, bloody stools  and excessive menstruation. It is an excellent wash for skin problems such as acne and eczema to psoriasis and hives. It is used as a douche for vaginal discharges; as a mouthwash for sore mouths, gums, teeth and throat and as an enema for colon inflammation and rectal sores. Applied externally, it can reduce tissue swelling from sprains and tick bites.

Magickal uses: Amaranth is used to repair a broken heart. It is also associated with immortality, and is used to decorate images of gods and goddesses. It is sacred to the god Artemis. Woven into a wreath, it is said to render the wearer invisible. It is also used in pagan burial ceremonies.

Properties: Astringent, hemostatic, nutritive, alterative

Growth: Amaranth is an annual whose different varieties grow from one to five feet tall. It bears alternate, oblong-lancelet pointed, green leaves that have a red-purplish spot. Its flowers appear in August and grow in clusters. It does not transplant well, so sow it where you want it to grow. It is generally not picky about soil type, and tolerates heat and drought well. The leaves of the plant are used.

Infusion or decoction: Use 1 tsp. leaves with 1 cup water. Take cold, 1- 2 cups a day.                             

Gargle: 2 tbsp. to 1 quart water simmered 10 minutes and used as a gargle 3-4 times a day. May also be used as a douche for leucorrhea.                                                                                                                                                          

Tincture: A dose is 1/2 to 1 tsp.

Amaranth should not be used by pregnant or lactating women.
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Author: Crick
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Let’s Talk Witch – A Guide to Using Herbs

A Guide to Using Herbs

 

Herbs are commonly used within Wicca and Magick due to the essences they contain, it is believed that herbs are considered sacred as they have their own energy and identity such as genders and elements, it is often considered good practice to grow your own herbs as then you have your own energy running through a plant you have nurtured and brought to life since its seed form.

Herbs can be used in many different ways, particularly in spell work, one of the most popular and shown methods is using herbs within sachets, this is because you effectively create a wearable, portable charm which can be worn, carried or placed depending on the contents and intended spell. Other methods include burning the herbs as a form of incense, drinking tea brewed from the herbs, using them in baths in pure or oil form and lastly smoking.

The good thing about the herbs used in Wicca is that many of them are in lurking in your kitchen right now! The herbs and spices found within a spice rack are commonly used when practicing Wicca and for use in spells, not only does this make certain aspects of Wicca easier for those starting out, it also makes material gathering that little bit cheaper plus most are very tasty on food!

All of the herbs and spices mentioned here are easily accessible from any good supermarket, some of the rarer herbs can easily be found from any Wicca shop or from various online stores such as eBay and Amazon.

Below are number of common and slightly rarer herbs which can be found in most kitchen cupboards:

– Garlic: Most commonly used in spells that are protection based, garlic has great healing power within the body as it has both antifungal and viral properties.

– Dill: A multiuse herb used in protection, love, money and lust spells, typically used in baths or hung in the doorway of your home.

-Cumin(both seeds and powder): A strong herb used for protection particularly against evil spirits, commonly used with frankincense.

– Bay leaves: Said to once be chewed on by the priestesses of Delphi to induce visions, bay leaves are considered to bring on visions and ward off evil.

– Cayenne pepper: Typically used to make or break a hex, or used in love or rejection spells, this is a very powerful spice with varying effects, can also be used to treat joint pains and high blood pressure.

– Nutmeg: Commonly used in spells focusing in wealth, health and good luck, it is also believed to boost psychic powers, toxic in large doses.

– Rosemary: Popularly used as incense, this herb is typically used for exorcisms and used in love and healing potions, drinking this herb in the form of tea can heighten the senses.

– Star Anise: Used for protection against evil and keeping nightmares at bay, a very powerful herb in smell that is great for incense, used in protection and purification spells.

– Thyme: Has 3 main uses, is either burned as incense for purifying areas, worn to boost clairvoyance and used in many health or healing potions and rituals.

– Vanilla beans: Considered a very powerful aphrodisiac, vanilla beans are popular choices for a variety of different love and seduction spells, it is also considered to boost brain activity.

– Ginger: Typically consumed before performing rituals or spells to boost their effectiveness and power, ginger is commonly used in love and power potions.

 

–Pamela Taylor, Wicca Witch of the West: A Beginner’s Guide to Wicca, Spells, Herbs, Runes, and Rituals

 

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