Herbs

Herb of the Day for April 20th – Cardamom

Herb of the Day


Cardamom

(Elettaria cardamomum)

Medicinal Uses: Used as a digestive aid, eases gluten intolerance (celiac disease). Sprinkle powder on cereal.

Used for indigestion, nausea, complaints of the lung and bedwetting.

Magickal uses: Cardamom is a feminine herb ruled by the planet Venus. Its associated element is Water. And it is used in love spells. For love bake them into an apple pie, add to sachets and incenses.

Properties: anti-diarrheal, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac, astringent, diuretic, settles digestive, helps with flatulence, stimulate saliva, tonic

Growth: Cardamom, popularly, known as Queen of Spices is native to the evergreen rainy forests of Western Ghats in South India. Cardamom is a herbaceous perennial having underground rhizomes. The aerial pseudostem is made of leaf sheaths. Inflorescence is a long panicle with racemes clusters arising from the underground stem, but comes up above the soil. Flowers are bisexual, fragrant, fruit is a trilocular capsule. Flower initiation takes place in March-April and from initiation to full bloom, it takes nearly 30 days and from bloom to maturity, it takes about 5 to 6 months.

Antacid: Here is a delicious recipe to combat heartburn, cramps and other irritations due to acidity: toast and butter a slice of raisin bread; sprinkle with 1 tsp. ground cardamom chew very thoroughly before swallowing.

Aperitif:  Make an infusion by infusing the following for 10 minutes in 2 cups  of boiling water:
1 tsp.basil

the seeds from one cardamom pod

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. brown sugar

drink one small liqueur glassful two hours before the meal

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbs | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

WOTC Extra – Using Your Plant

Witch

Using Your Plant

 

How do you extract the goodness from the plant and put it to use? You can’t just eat all the herbs you want to use, and strangely enough, some dried herbs have more medicinally active constituents than fresh ones. Use some common sense and follow safety procedures. First make sure that you identify your herb correctly- if in any doubt at all, leave it alone. Make sure that you have looked up the method of preparation and the safe dosages. Pick your herbs from unpolluted locations- herbs from the side of a busy road will be covered with chemicals.  Herbs may be used in a variety of ways, internally and externally:

Internal Remedies:

Dried Herbs in Capsules

This is usually the way you purchase herbs from a shop, and it is the worst way to take them, and the least effective. They are poorly digested, poorly utilized, often stale or ineffective, and quite expensive.

Hot Infusion (Teas or Tisanes)

Many of a herbs components, such as its minerals, vitamins, sugars, starches, hormones, tannins, volatile oils and some alkaloids dissolve well in water, and for this reason, herbs are often taken as infusions or tisanes. Generally the difference between the two is simply of strength- an infusion is a medicinal dose, whereas a tea or tisane is weaker. Use one teaspoon of dried herb per cup or 1 oz per pint of boiling water. Pour the boiling water over the herb and infuse for 5-15 minutes.

Cold Infusion

Some herbs have properties which are destroyed by heat, so a cold infusion is made. Use a non metal container and put in 1 oz of the herb and 1 pint of cold water. Close the lid or cover with cling film and leave for 5-6 hours.

Decoction

Some seeds, roots, buds and barks etc. need to be boiled in water for a while. This is called a decoction. If they are dried they should first be pounded into a powered. Use 1 oz of dried herb or 2 oz of fresh herb to one pint of water. Bring the mixture to the boil in a non aluminium pan and simmer 10-15 minutes. Strain.

Tinctures

Plant constituents are generally more soluble in alcohol than water, so tinctures are made. Alcohol will dissolve and extract resins, oils, alkaloids, sugars, starches and hormones, though it does not extract nutrients such as vitamins or minerals. Brandy or vodka is usually used. Because a tincture is much stronger than an infusion or decoction, you only use a few drops -5-15) in a glass of water as a medicinal dose. Alternatively, a few drops may be added to a salve or bath. To make a tincture put 4 oz of dried herbs or 8 oz fresh herbs into a clean jar and pour on one pint of vodka or brandy. Seal and keep in a warm place for two weeks, shaking daily. Strain and store in a dark bottle.

External Remedies

Baths

Add one pint of infusion or decoction to the bath water.

Ointments (Salves)

Herbs can be made into salves. Melt 8 oz petroleum jelly or other fat and simmer 2 tablespoons of the herb in it for 15 minutes.

Compresses

Prepare a clean cotton cloth and soak it in a hot infusion or decoction. Use this as hot as possible on the affected area. Change the compress as it cools down.

Poultice

Bruise fresh herbs and apply directly to the skin and cover directly with a cloth.

Cold Infused Oil

Fats and oils extract the oily and resinous properties of an herb, many of which are strongly antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and wound-healing. These are applied to the skin or used with massage. To make an infused oil cut up the herb and cover with vegetable oil (olive, sunflower, almond etc.) in a glass bottle or jar, Leave in  a warm place for 2-3 weeks, shaking daily. Strain into a clean jar. Infused herbal oils are available as is, or thickened into ointments. Unlike essential oils, they do not need to be diluted for use.

Essential Oils

These can be used in the bath, with massage or in an evaporator. They cannot be made at home, but are readily available from shops. They are very concentrated and must always be diluted with vegetable carrier oil.

Hearth Witch (The Eight Paths of Magic)

Anna Franklin

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbal This & That | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Let’s Talk Witch – Meeting the Plants

Potion Making

MEETING THE PLANTS

Only a few short years ago, every child would have walked to school picking rose hips to make itching powder, nibbling ‘bread and cheese’ (i.e. the hawthorn buds before they unfold in the spring), telling the time with dandelion clocks, using the buttercup test for whether you liked butter, throwing sticky buds and playing pooh sticks. Not too long ago, children knew most of their local plants and played in the open fields and parks. However, a couple of years ago I gave a talk on herbalism at a Pagan camp, and I was shocked to discover that while most people over forty could identify a good many common plants and trees, two out of every three people under twenty could not even recognise a simple dandelion.

If you want to work in the Hearth Witch tradition with herbs, then you must begin by getting to know the plants that grow in your local area, those vegetation spirits that live with you, along your local hedgerow, meadow, park, road or in your garden. Don’t assume that medicinal plants are hard to find; dandelion, plantain and nettles (to name just a few) are as common in cities and suburbs as in the country. Get a good field guide to help you identify them and a reputable modern herbal to tell you what they may be used for. You will need to refer to the botanical name (usually Latin or Greek) since these names are specific while the same common name can refer to several very different plants. There are a dozen dissimilar plants referred to as bachelor’s buttons, while “marigold” can be Calendula officinalis, a medicinal herb, or Tagetes, an annual flower used as a bedding plant.

Spend time with the plants, noting where they live, in sun or shade, on chalky soil or sandy soil and so on, their growth habits, when they flower, and when they set their seeds. Note the shape of the leaves, their texture and colour, their taste, if edible. In this way you will begin to learn from the plants themselves. Each plant is a living teacher and must be approached as an individual spirit, a vital life force which may become your ally if approached with love and respect. You must learn to speak its language by listening with an open heart and using the inner senses, as well as the everyday senses of taste, smell and touch. Don’t expect to learn everything at once as it will likely be over several seasons that the plant reveals its nature to you. This is the wisdom that the old herbalists passed down to their apprentices, part of which is preserved in folklore and old wives tales. It is a knowledge that cannot be bought, and which cannot be learned from books but only by doing.  Allow yourself to trust your inner wisdom, and you will uncover the instinctive knowledge of Mother Nature that lies deep within all our souls.

Witches use plant powers, but to capture them without dissipating them is not simple a matter of walking three times around a tree and saying ‘can I have a branch?’  lopping one off and leaving a coin in return. You might as well buy a dried herb off the shelf in the local shop, or pick up a dead twig from the forest floor. These instructions are based on folk magic, a distorted version of half forgotten lore, a shadow of the true knowledge. I learned this from Phil, my old High Priest, who insisted that first of all a relationship must be established with the particular tree or plant that you want to cut. Of necessity, this will be forged over a period of time; you must understand each other. He insisted that some plants are well disposed towards humankind, some need to be persuaded, some fought and some will never give you anything no matter what you do, and it would be dangerous to try. Few western magicians today understand or work with the Old Knowledge concerning plants.

Trees and herbs are not really ‘used’ magically. When properly approached they may share something of their life force, their spirit. True magical herbalism is not really a case of following a kind of cookbook approach, a pinch of this and a pinch of that. Individual herbs and plants can be befriended as allies to enable the practitioner to travel to Otherworldly places, and to become in tune with different energies. The Craft of the magical herbalist takes many years and absolute self discipline to master. The plant itself is always the teacher. Each plant must be correctly approached and harvested in perfect condition. It must always be respected as a living being: its life force is the essence of its power. This force is harnessed by taking the plant internally or externally, fresh or as an infusion, by smoking it or employing it in an incense or bathing herb, by using it as a magical condenser, and so on.

If the herb is approached with love and trust, its force will harmonise with the witch and share its secrets. If the plant is taken with the wrong motives, if it is mistreated or misused, it may cause discomfort, mislead or seek to gain control of the witch. If an enemy is made of the plant spirit, it can destroy. It is a common misconception that a plant needs to have hallucinogenic properties to facilitate expansion of consciousness. Only a small number of power plants are psychedelic, and these plant spirits are the most difficult to deal with and easily overcome the weak will of anyone stupid enough to use them for recreational purposes. Every plant, from the common daisy to the mighty oak, has its own power and vibration, and by taking time to gain the trust of the plant spirit, these can be shared.

Hearth Witch (The Eight Paths of Magic)

Anna Franklin

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbal This & That | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Herb of the Day for April 17th is Catnip

Herb of the Day

 Catnip

Medicinal Uses: In the Middle Ages, it was considered useful against leprosy and colds.

Throughout history, this herb has been used in humans to produce a sedative effect. Catnip also has a long history of use as a tranquilizer, sedative, digestive aid, menstruation promoter, and treatment for menstrual cramps (Catnip’s antispasmodic effect supports its traditional use for relieving menstrual cramps. Catnip is also used as a menstruation promoter), flatulence, and infant colic.

It was used in a infusion as a digestive aid (Have a cup of catnip tea after meals if you are prone to indigestion or heartburn), also to reduce gas, for nervous dyspepsia, diarrhea, colic, and as a sleep aid. Also used for colds, fever with chill, and head congestion before a flu. Its pleasant, lemon-mint vapors were considered a cold and cough remedy, relieving chest congestion and loosening phlegm. Catnip tea is thought to purify the blood. It is said to relieve the symptoms of colic in children.

The leaves were also chewed for toothache, smoked to treat bronchitis and asthma!

Do not use if pregnant.

Magickal uses: Catnip was chewed by warriors for strength and courage. Feed to a cat to create a psychic bond with it. Offer to Bast or Sekhmet. Use the large leaves, well dried, to mark pages in magickal books. Use in conjunction with rose petals in love sachets. Catnip is associated with the element of Water. It is a feminine herb ruled by the planet Venus.

Properties: Diaphoretic, refrigerant. antispasmodic, carminative, emmenagogue, nervine, stomachic, stimulant, and mild sedative, digestive aid. Contains volatile oils, sterols, acids, and tannins. Specific chemical connpounds include nepetalactone, nepetalic acid, nepetalic anhydride, citral, limonene, dispentine, geraniol, citronella, nerol, -caryophyllene, and valeric acid. The essential oil in catnip contains a monoterpene similar to the valepotriates found in valerian, an even more widely renowned sedative.

Growth: Catnip is a perennial herb native to Eurasia and widely naturalized in North America. This erect-growing plant, which can reach a height of three feet, has pubescent leaves and a spike-like inflorescent with purple-spotted white flowers. The plant thrives in well-drained soils and is commonly considered a weed when growing in gardens of the northeastern United States.

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbs | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Herb of the Day for April 16th is Blue Cohosh

Herb of the Day

Blue Cohosh

Blue ginseng

(Caulophylum thalictroides)

Medicinal Uses: Blue Cohosh is used to regulate the menstrual flow.

It is also used for suppressed menstruation. Native Americans used this herb during childbirth to ease the pain and difficulty that accompany birthing, as well as to induce labor. This herb should not be taken during pregnancy, and should be taken in very small amounts in conjunction with other herbs, such as Black Cohosh.

Elevates blood pressure and stimulates uterine contractions of childbirth and stimulates the small intestine, and enhances symptoms of hyperglycemia. Good for hiccough, whooping cough, spasms, and epilepsy.

Blue Cohosh should not be used during pregnancy until the last 2 to 3 weeks before confinement; it is a uterine stimulant.

Magickal uses: none

Properties: Stimulant, sedative, sudorific (produces sweat), tonic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, parturient, emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow), anthelmintic (destroys intestinal worms), demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, oxytocic (stimulates uterine contractions).

Contains Calcium, coulosaponin, gum, inositol, iron, leontin, magnesium, methylcystine, phosphoric acid, phosphorus, potassium, salts, silicon, starch, and vitamins B3, B5, B9, and E.

Growth: Blue Cohosh grows best in deep, loamy, moist woodlands. It has a range from southern Canada, as far south as the Carolinas, and as far west as Missouri. Found in eastern North America, near running streams, around swamps, and in other moist places. Blue Cohosh is a hardy perennial plant 3 feet in height; the round, simple, erect stem grows from a knotty rootstock and bears a large, sessile, tri-pinnate leaf whose leaflets are oval, petiole, and irregularly lobed. Smooth-stemmed, stem and leaves covered with bluish film. The 6-petaled, yellow-green flowers are borne in a raceme or panicle. April to June before leaves expand. The fruit is a pea-sized, dark blue berry on a fleshy stalk. Blooms in May or June and the berries ripen in August.

Infusion: use 1 oz. rootstock with 1 pint boiling water; steep for 1/2 hour. Take 2 tbsp. every 2 to 3 hours, in hot water.

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Categories: Articles, Herbs | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Samhain Incense and Oils

Samhain Incense #1

  • 1 part Powdered Allspice
  • 1 part Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 parts Clove Powder
  • 1 part Myrrh
  • 12 parts lightly crushed Rose Petals
Samhain Incense #3

  • 1 part Rowan Berries
  • 1 part Blackthorn Wood
  • 1/2 part Galangal Root
  • 1/2 part Chervil
  • 1/2 part Vervain
  • 1/2 part Parsley
Samhain Incense #2

  • 1 part Crushed Holly Leaf
  • 1 part Crushed Oak Leaf
  • 1 part Dragon’s Blood Resin
  • 1 part Cedar Berries
  • 1 part crushed Rose Petals
  • 2 parts crushed Mugwort Leaves
  • 2 parts Frankincense Tears
  • 4 parts Myrrh Resin
  • 4 parts crushed Rosemary Leaves
  • 4 parts Chrysanthemum Flower Petals
  • 4 parts crushed Pine Needles
Samhain Oil

  • 2 parts Pine Oil
  • 1 part Frankincense Oil
  • 1 part Patchouli oil
  • 1 part Lavendar oil

From: http://www.wiccanway.com/Samhain-Solitary-Ritual-Guide_c_198.html

Categories: Coven Life, Herbal Corner, Herbal This & That, Incense, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Herb of the Day for April 15th is Bloodroot

Herb of the Day

 Bloodroot

Sweet Slumber, Indian Paint, Red Root

Medicinal Uses: Used by Native Americans to induce vomiting and as an expectorant; the orange juice of the plant was dripped onto lumps of maple sugar and taken for coughs and colds. Used to treat bronchial, respiratory tract and throat infections, including bronchial asthma (combined with Lobelia inflata), chronic bronchitis, bleeding lungs, pneumonia (1 to 2 drops tincture repeated often through day), whooping cough, croup, laryngitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, sinus congestion, catarrh, scarletina, and colds, as well as to improve peripheral circulation and for sluggish liver, scrofula, jaundice, dyspepsia,, and dysentery.

Externally the sap, or liquid extract of the root, was applied directly for sores, eczema, ringworm, ulcers (especially those associated with varicose veins), warts (combined with Chelidonium majus), and other skin problems.

Used to treat gingivitis; the extract is found in toothpaste and mouthwash; sanguinarine has the ability to prevent dental plaque and gum disease. It may be used as a snuff in the treatment of nasal polyps.

Used in very small doses as overdose can be fatal. Excessive use depresses the Central Nervous System. Not to be used by pregnant or lactating women. Seeds are extremely dangerous! Contain a violent narcotic which produces fever, delirium, dilated pupils and other symptoms of poisoning.

Magickal uses: Ruled by Venus and its astrological sign is Scorpio. Wear or carry the root to draw love and to avert evil spells and negativity. Place near doors and windows to protect the home. The darkest red roots are considered the best and the ones known as ‘King root’ or ‘He root’.

Properties: This herb affects heart, lungs, liver. It is bitter (extremely so), acrid, alterative, warming, cathartic, emetic, expectorant, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, nervine, sialagogue, slows heart rate (once used in cases of palpitations and rapid pulse), locally anesthetic, antifungal, antibacterial.

Contains Sanguinarine, protopine (also found in opium), allocryptopine, orysanguinarine, homochelidonine, sanguindimerine, cholerythine, chelerythrine, berberine, whelidonine, chelidone acid, red resin, starch.

Growth: Flower (closes at night or on overcast days) is solitary, waxy white with 8 to 10 petals (2 to 4 inches across), growing in a whorl, and with golden-yellow stamens and a lightly cup-shaped corolla; leaves are deeply cleft, palmate, with orange veins beneath the paler underside, on a single stem which arises from a bud at the end of the thick, horizontal rhizome and which clasps the flower bud in the early stages of growth; fruit is a 1 inch long, 2-valved seed pod containing a number of reddish-brown, oval seeds.

Decoction: 1 tsp dried root in 1½ cup water, steeped 30 minutes; strained and cooled; 1 tsp traditionally taken 3 times daily, up to 6 times, as expectorant.

Ointment: 1 oz. dried root in 3 oz lard; brought to boil, then simmered several minutes; strain.

Dye: Ratio: 8 oz. chopped root to 4¼ gallons water.

Fresh rootstock yields red juice for dye which will give orange to orange-red with no mordant; rust with alum and cream of tartar; reddish-pink with tin.

 

 

Source
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbs | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Quick Note About Moon Gardening

~My Finest Hour~

A Quick Note About Moon Gardening

 

I’m experimenting with gardening according to the phases of the moon. While the moon is a constant presence in the night sky, it is ever changing. As she waxes and wanes, pulling with her the tides of the sea, she influences all that is living. As the moon waxes the energy flows upwards into the leaves and stalks of the plant, as it wanes the virtue travels to the roots. Plants to be harvested for their roots should be planted and gathered at the waning moon, and plants required for their flowers, leaves and fruits should be planted and gathered at the waxing moon.

 

Hearth Witch (The Eight Paths of Magic)

Anna Franklin

 

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbal This & That | Leave a comment

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