Halloween Herbs for Year-Round Health
“Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble,” chanted the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as they added ingredients to their brew. While an eye of newt and tongue of frog may not interest you, there are a few other herbs that are fitting for both Halloween and great health. Adapted from my book Arthritis-Proof, here are a few of my favorite Halloween herbs (based on their names) that are great year-round:
Devil’s Claw—With a name like that, pain wouldn’t dare mess with this herb. And that’s a good thing for anyone suffering from it. Devil’s claw is one of the most effective pain remedies I’ve used. It is effective for both joint and muscle pain, making it a good option for people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other type of pain disorder.
Witch Hazel—Small twigs of this North American shrub are distilled to create a witch hazel solution that is effective for cleaning cuts and wounds. Some herbalists recommend it as an application for varicose veins or diffused into the air to aid nasal congestion.
Witch’s Aspirin—more commonly known as willow bark. The effective ingredient in aspirin was originally found in willow bark, which is also sometimes called white willow bark. The plant version offers excellent pain relief when prepared as a tea or tincture (alcohol extract). It is a natural blood thinner so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood thinners.
Wolf Berry—More frequently referred to as goji berries, wolf berries are superfoods full of disease-fighting antioxidants. They are used in Chinese Medicine to improve eyesight, skin, and the kidneys and liver. They also have anti-cancer and anti-aging compounds, including: zeaxanthin, physalien, cyptoxanthin, sesquiterpenoids, triterpenes, and beta sitosterol. Like witch’s aspirin, wolf berries may thin blood so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood thinners.
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Mugwort, Your All Purpose Herb
To cleanse your divination tools, and in particular your crystal ball, you can prepare a Mugwort infusion to wash your crystal ball with.
To do this, gather 1 teaspoon of dried Mugwort, and 1 cup very hot water.
Place the dried Mugwort into the water and let this soak for about 10 minutes. Strain the tea, and use it as a cleansing agent for your crystal ball, or other tools. Simply dab a small bit of the tea onto a piece of cloth, and rub onto the ball, wiping it off shortly afterwards.
This would be ideal for metal or wooden objects, but do not use it for tarot. Use the Mugwort wash for cleansing rune stones, athames, candles, stones, jewelry, and any other durable item, including yourself.
Simply pour the Mugwort infusion into your bath water for a full body spiritual cleansing.
Basic Herbal Conversion Table
IMPERIAL — > METRIC
5/6 oz — > 25 g
1 oz — > 30 g
1 2/3 oz — > 50 g
7 oz — > 200 g
8 oz — > 250 g
14 oz — > 400 g
16 oz — > 500 g
21 oz — > 600 g
23 oz — > 650 g
25 oz — > 700 g
26 oz — > 750 g
28 oz — > 800 g
35 oz — > 1 kg
3 fl oz — > 100 ml
4 fl oz — > 120 ml
5 fl oz — > 150 ml
10 fl oz — > 300 ml
26 fl oz — > 800 ml
1 qt — > 900 ml
35 fl oz — > 1 litre
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Comfrey (root or leaves)
Before using this tea, or any tea, for an eye bath be sure to strain it through a folded handkerchief or several layers of paper towel. If you are using a handkerchief, it is a good idea to boil or even pressure cook it before pouring tea through it. Comfrey is soothing for inflamed eyes and conjunctivitis. The easiest way I’ve found to apply herbs is to dip a washcloth in the strained herb and lay the cloth over closed eyes, while you lie on your back. Enough of the tea will seep into the eyes to be effective. Put a towel under your head to catch the drips. This herb also promotes skin growth on scrapes, cuts, burns and bruises. (It was great when I got mugged. My hands were completely covered with skin again within a week — I also used aloe vera juice to draw the new skin together.) Do not let the leaves contact any part of the body for any extended period of time — the leaves promote skin growth, and skin will grow right to the leaf in a matter of hours. (I know — I did this after a motorbike accident.)
This herb can be added to any other tea. It tastes good and it helps fight
fever. It also helps many herbs, such as catnip and fenugreek, get to work
faster. I particularly recommend mixing it with raspberry leaves to reduce
menstrual flow and mitigate cramps. The only caution I have here is for those people who have mint allergies.
Eating this herb will help clear sinuses. that’s why you feel better after
eating spicy Asian foods when you have a cold. The cayenne helps, too. You can eat it raw or cooked. You can slice it into pill-sized wedges and swallow them with juice or tea as if they were pills. Garlic is also excellent for clearing up itchy vaginal infections. Depending on how sore you are, you can peel one (be sure not to nick it) and use it directly as a suppository, or you can wrap it in cheese cloth to prevent direct contact with sore tissues. Or if the infection has just gotten started and not done much tissue damage yet, you can put the garlic into a blender with plain yogurt and blend until smooth. Then apply the garlic/yogurt mix with a baster or spoon. A garlic suppository placed against the uterus will help fight uterine infections. (This is the only thing that worked to clear up an IUD caused infection — after prescribed medicines failed.) The garlic suppository works especially well in combination with golden seal capsules taken by mouth.
Golden Seal Root Powder
This is a very powerful herb. It tastes terrible (unless you have a bad cold).
It promotes healing throughout the body, anywhere there is a mucous membrane. If taken in overdose, it can cause blisters in the mouth and on other mucous membranes. I recommend taking one 00 capsule three times a day, with meals, no more frequently than at 4 hour intervals. If you have a beastly cold, you won’t taste it anyway, so you could put a 1/2 teaspoonful into a teacup of hot water and drink it.
Herbal First Aid Kit
Contents and Instructions
* Calendula Ointment – Use for minor cuts and grazes, red rashes and any minor skin rash.
* Comfrey Ointment – Suitable for all bruises and minor damage to external blood vessels and veins.
* St. Johns Wort Oil – Beneficial for itchy skin and irritable psoriasis. Also good for sunburn when applied at night.
* Liver Mixture – Has mild laxative properties and helps with the digestion of rich food. Take one teaspoon at night or 30 minutes before your main meal.
* Parasite Mixture – Effective against some common internal parasites. If infestation is suspected abstain from all food for 24 hours. Then take one tablespoon of the mixture in a little water and repeat this dose after four hours and then once again after another four hours. Your parasites should by then have died. You should be able to recommence eating four hours after the last dose, (Gasp!). May also be used as a skin wash for external parasites.
* Nervine and Sedative Mixture – Take 25 drops 3 x daily on an empty stomach as a general sedative. If you have trouble sleeping at night take one teaspoon in a little water 30 minutes before bed-time.
* Astringent Mix. – Good for internal bleeding and also as an effective remedy for occasional diarrhea. If you are stricken with “the runs” take one teaspoonful in a little water every two hours until symptoms subside. Follow up with Echinacea and Goldenseal tincture.
* Echinacea and Goldenseal – Similar in effect to an anti-biotic. Use only in the event of serious infection etc. Take 25 drops in a little water 4 x daily half an hour before meals. Continue for at least two weeks. May be used externally as an antiseptic and anesthetic lotion.
* Echinacea Tincture – Similar to the previous mixture but more suitable for use over a long period when taken internally. May be taken for up to one month in order to boost the overall effectiveness of the immune system.
Important – These remedies are in no way intended as a substitute for proper medical care and attention. If your symptoms persist please consult with a reputable health care practitioner.
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Tagged Echinacea, First aid, Goldenseal, Herb, John, Parasitism, St John's wort, Teaspoon