Category Archives: Herbs

Herb of the Day for May 14th is Eucalyptus

Herb of the Day

Eucalyptus

(Eucalyptus globulus) Leaves, oil

Medicinal Uses: Eucalyptus oil is a powerful antiseptic, and is used to treat pyorrhea (gum disease), and is used on burns to prevent infections. The oil breathed in will help clear the sinuses, as will the steam from boiling the leaves. The leaves and their preparations have been successfully used as a tonic and gently stimulating stomachic, in atonic dyspepsia, and in catarrh of the stomach and typhoid fever; also advised in mucous catarrhal affections generally; in pseudo-membranous laryngitis, in asthma, with profuse secretion, and in chronic bronchitis, with or without emphysema, and in whooping-cough; it has likewise proved efficient in chronic catarrh of the bladder, where the urine is high-colored, contains an abnormal amount of mucus, or, perhaps, some purulent matter, and micturation is attended with much pain.

When mixed with water or vegetable oils, it makes a good insect repellant. A small drop on the tongue eases nausea. Externally applied, the oil gives relief in some forms of neuralgic and rheumatic pains. The oil is often combined with Thymus.

Magickal uses: Healing energies come from the leaves. A branch or wreath over the bed of a sick person will help spread the healing energies. The oil is added to healing baths, and for purifications. Stuff healing poppets and carry for good health. Ringing three green candles with the leaves and pods may relieve colds. Then burn the candles all the way to the socket while visualizing the inflicted person. For sore throats, wear a necklace made of the green pods, strung on green thread. Place pods beneath your pillow to protect against colds. Carry the leaves for protection.

Properties:Antiseptic, deodorant, expectorant, stimulant, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, febrifuge.

Contains volatile oil, the major component of which is l,8-cineole (=eucalyptol), 70-85%; with terpineole, a-pinene, p-cymene and small amounts of sesquiterpenes such as ledol, aromadendrene and viridoflorol; aldehydes, ketones and alcohols. Polyphenolic acids; caffeic, ferulic, gallic, protocatechuic and others. And flavonoids including eucalyptin, hyperoside and rutin.

Growth: Eucalyptus reigns among the tallest trees in the world, capable of reaching heights of over 250 feet tall. It thrives only in areas where the average temperature remains above 60 degrees, and is adaptable to several soil conditions. The trunk is covered with peeling papery bark. The leaves on the young plant, up to 5 years old, are opposite, sessile, soft, oblong, pointed, and a hoary blue color. The mature leaves are alternate, petioled, leathery, and shaped like a scimitar. The flowers are solitary, axillary, and white, with no petals and a woody calyx. The fruit is a hard, four-celled, many-seeded capsule enclosed in the calyx cup.

Boil mature leaves In water and condense the vapor to recover the oil.

An infusion may be made with 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the leaves to a cup of boiling water. Let infuse for 10-15 minutes. The dose of tincture is 1 ml. three times a day.

 

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Herb of the Day for May 4th is Chickory

Herb of the Day


Chicory

Coffeeweed

(Cichorium Intybus)

Medicinal Uses: The herb was cultivated in Egypt over 5000 years ago, and was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it as a salad ingredient and a vegetable. Its use as a coffee substitute is thought to date from 1806 when Napoleon’s Continental blockade prevented imports of coffee. It was widely used for the same purpose during the World Wars.

Chicory tea taken internally is believed to be effective in treating jaundice and liver problems. A tea made from roots or leaves appears to be useful for those with digestive problems. Save a little tea and try dipping a cotton ball into it for a refreshing and soothing eye wash. You can also add a spoonful or two of honey to thicken and use as syrup for a mild laxative for kids. For external use, bruise fresh Chicory leaves and apply to areas affected by gout, skin eruptions, swellings, skin inflammations, and rheumatism. The dried, crushed root is made into infusions and decoctions for digestive upsets and to improve appetite. A tea made from the flowers promotes the production of bile, the release of gallstones, and the elimination of excessive internal mucus. Homeopathically it is used for the help in relieving liver and gall bladder ailments.

Magickal uses: Gather in perfect silence at noon or midnight on Midsummer using a gold knife. Take the herb gathered this way and place it against locked boxes or doors to open them. Carry to remove obstacles in your life. Carry specially cut chicory to become invisible. Spread chicory juice over your body to gain favors from a great person. Carry to promote frugalness. Place fresh flowers on altar or burn as incense. Chicory is masculine, ruled by the Sun and is associated with the element of Air.

Properties: Tonic, stimulant, laxative, appetizer, astringent, carminitive, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, hepatic.

Growth: Chicory is a perennial herb. Chicory, or succory, known botanically as Cichorium intybus L., is a perennial member of the daisy family (Asteraceae), native to Europe but now found growing wild along roadsides and in neglected fields throughout North America. Attaining a height of three to five feet or more, it is conspicuous for its attractive azure blue flowers.

Laxative: 2 Tbsp Root to 2 cups Water. Let come just to a boil, take off burner and let cool. Take 1 to 1 1/2 cups a day, a mouthful at a time.

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Beltane Herb of the Day for May 1st is Angelica

Beltane Herb of the Day

Angelica

Dead nettle, Archangel, Masterwort, Wild celery

 

Angelica is a good herbal tea to take for colic, gas, indigestion, hepatitis, and heartburn. It is very useful to add in remedies for afflictions of the respiratory system, as well as liver problems and digestive difficulties. It promotes circulation in the body. Angelica is an excellent tonic in diseases of the lungs, gout, and stomach troubles.

It is used for lack of appetite, dyspepsia, gastrointestinal pain, gas, sciatica, and the heart.

An infusion of dried root can be used as a remedy for coughs and colds and to dispel gas and to soothe intestinal cramps. It is also used to stimulate the kidneys. It is often used to stimulate the circulation in the pelvic region and to stimulate suppressed menstruation.
In China, angelica has been used for several thousand years to treat many kinds of female problems. It has been used for abnormal menstruation, suppressed menstrual flow, painful or difficult menstruation, and uterine bleeding. As well as for hot flashes associated with perimenopause.

Magickal uses: Grow it in your garden as a protection for garden and home. The root is often used as a protective amulet, and has been used to banish evil by burning the leaves. It is also used to lengthen life, and is used in protection against diseases, as well as to ward off evil spirits. Adding it to a ritual bath will break spells and hexes. It has often been used to ward off evil spirits in the home. Some American Indian tribes carried a talisman of this root for luck in gambling.

Properties: Stimulates appetite, carminative, expectorant, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, diuretic’ Contains essential oil with phellandrene, angelica acid, coumarin compounds (bergapten, linalool and borneol), bitter principle and tannins

Growth: Angelica needs rich, moist garden soil in partial shade. It prefers wet bottomlands and swamps, and prefers the cooler northern regions to grow best. It is a perennial that can reach up to 6 feet tall. Angelica is a biennial producing foliage the first year and stems and flowers the second. Flowering time is June to August.

Angelica should not be used by pregnant women or diabetics.

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Spells, herbs and Aromatherapy to Help with Fevers and Colds

Keep away Fevers {Folk Magic} # 4 

Ingredients: Honeysuckle

Another way of keeping fevers at bay, is to grow Honeysuckle above your front door, and/ or around the windows around your house.

Protection from Colds {Aromatherapy & Folk Magic} # 5

Ingredients: Eucalyptus Leaves

Another method of preventing colds from infecting you is to place eucalyptus leaves under your pillow before going to sleep. These can be fresh or dried leaves.

Flowers, Dawn (2012-03-24). The Spell Book of Wiccan Shadows (Kindle Locations 902-906). Under the Moon. Kindle Edition.

Herb of the Day for April 27th – Eucalyptus

Herb of the Day

Eucalyptus

Medicinal Uses: Eucalyptus oil is a powerful antiseptic, and is used to treat pyorrhea (gum disease), and is used on burns to prevent infections. The oil breathed in will help clear the sinuses, as will the steam from boiling the leaves. The leaves and their preparations have been successfully used as a tonic and gently stimulating stomachic, in atonic dyspepsia, and in catarrh of the stomach and typhoid fever; also advised in mucous catarrhal affections generally; in pseudo-membranous laryngitis, in asthma, with profuse secretion, and in chronic bronchitis, with or without emphysema, and in whooping-cough; it has likewise proved efficient in chronic catarrh of the bladder, where the urine is high-colored, contains an abnormal amount of mucus, or, perhaps, some purulent matter, and micturation is attended with much pain.

When mixed with water or vegetable oils, it makes a good insect repellant. A small drop on the tongue eases nausea. Externally applied, the oil gives relief in some forms of neuralgic and rheumatic pains. The oil is often combined with Thymus.

Magickal uses: Healing energies come from the leaves. A branch or wreath over the bed of a sick person will help spread the healing energies. The oil is added to healing baths, and for purifications. Stuff healing poppets and carry for good health. Ringing three green candles with the leaves and pods may relieve colds. Then burn the candles all the way to the socket while visualizing the inflicted person. For sore throats, wear a necklace made of the green pods, strung on green thread. Place pods beneath your pillow to protect against colds. Carry the leaves for protection.

Properties:Antiseptic, deodorant, expectorant, stimulant, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, febrifuge.

Contains volatile oil, the major component of which is l,8-cineole (=eucalyptol), 70-85%; with terpineole, a-pinene, p-cymene and small amounts of sesquiterpenes such as ledol, aromadendrene and viridoflorol; aldehydes, ketones and alcohols. Polyphenolic acids; caffeic, ferulic, gallic, protocatechuic and others. And flavonoids including eucalyptin, hyperoside and rutin.

Growth: Eucalyptus reigns among the tallest trees in the world, capable of reaching heights of over 250 feet tall. It thrives only in areas where the average temperature remains above 60 degrees, and is adaptable to several soil conditions. The trunk is covered with peeling papery bark. The leaves on the young plant, up to 5 years old, are opposite, sessile, soft, oblong, pointed, and a hoary blue color. The mature leaves are alternate, petioled, leathery, and shaped like a scimitar. The flowers are solitary, axillary, and white, with no petals and a woody calyx. The fruit is a hard, four-celled, many-seeded capsule enclosed in the calyx cup.

Boil mature leaves In water and condense the vapor to recover the oil.

An infusion may be made with 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the leaves to a cup of boiling water. Let infuse for 10-15 minutes. The dose of tincture is 1 ml. three times a day.

Source:
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

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

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

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