Herb of the Day for Jan. 4th – Sunflower

Herb of the Day



Medicinal Uses: Native Americans used the tea of the flowers for lung ailments and malaria. Leaf tea was used for high fevers; poultice of roots on snakebites and spider bites.
Seeds and leaves are diuretic and expectorant. Seeds contain all the important nutrients that benefit the eyes and relieve constipation.

Useful against dysentery, inflammations of the bladder and kidney. The leaves are astringent and used in herbal tobaccos.

Sunflower seeds are simmered in water (one ounce seed to one quart of liquid) until half of the water is absorbed or evaporated. Add six ounces of gin as a preservative, and honey to taste. The preparation is a good syrup for lung and throat problems, coughs, and colds. The oil can be used for the same conditions; ten to fifteen drops, three times a day. A tea of the toasted seed has been used to treat fevers, and is a substitute for quinine.
Pollen or plant extracts may cause allergic reactions.
Magickal uses: An herb of happiness. The sunflower is said to protect one from smallpox by either wearing them like a necklace or in a small bag around your neck. When eaten they help a woman conceive. Place one under your bed to know the truth. They will also grant wishes. Cut it at sundown while making a wish. One who has been anointed with the juice from the stem of the sunflower will be virtuous. Grown in the garden they bring luck. In Aztec temples of the sun, priestesses carried sunflowers and wore them as crowns. As sun symbols, these flowers symbolize the healthy ego, the wisdom, and the fertility of the solar logos.
Properties: Diuretic, expectorant. The seeds are exceptionally rich in polyunsaturates (approx. 80%) and high quality plant protein, plus natural vitamins and minerals. (thiamine (B1), niacin, potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, iodine, fluorine, magnesium, sodium, vitamins D and E).
Growth: Sunflower is an annual plant growing 6-10 feet high; leaves mostly alternate, rough-hairy, broadly heart or spade-shaped. The flowers are orange-yellow; disk flat, flowers from July to October. Found on prairies, roadsides. Minnesota to Texas; escaped from cultivation elsewhere. A North American native plant.
Make sure the seeds are fresh.
Decoction: 2 oz. of seeds to 1 quart of water: boil down to 12 oz. and strain. Add 6 oz. of Holland gin and 6 oz. of honey. The dose is 1-2 tsp. 3 or 4 times a day.
Oil: unrefined oil has similar properties to the seeds. Take 10-15 drops or more, 2-3 times a day.

Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbs | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Herb of the Day for January 1st is Amaranth

Herb of the Day


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.
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for December 30th is Coltsfoot

Herb of the Day


Medicinal Uses: The plant received the Latin name of Tussilage because the word meant, “cough dispeller,” one of the usages of the plant.                                                                                       
Used to treat respiratory problems, and is soothing to the stomach and intestines. Combine with horehound, ginger, and licorice root for a soothing cough syrup.                                                                                                                        

A leaf and flower tea is a demulcent and expectorant for sore throats, coughs, asthma, bronchitis, and lung congestion. Warm infusions of the leaves sooth irritated mucus membrane tissues, helps bring up phlegm, and relieve spasmodic types of coughs. Coltsfoot may be used in chronic or acute bronchitis, irritating coughs, whooping coughs. Coltsfoot a role in most respiratory conditions, including the chronic states of emphysema.        
The leaves can be used externally in poultices on the chest that relieve fevers and pulmonary blockages, on swellings and skin irritations to draw out inflammation and irritating substances, and for bruised or sore feet.             

Native Americans smoke dried leaves to open up bronchial congestions, coughs, and asthma. The smoke of the herb is believed to impede the impulse of fibers of parasympathetic nerves and act as an antihistamine and anticholinergic.  The fresh bruised leaves can be applied to boils, abscesses and suppurating ulcers.

Coltsfoot contains traces of liver-affecting pyrrolizidine alkaloids. It can be potentially toxic in large doses.

Magickal uses: Coltsfoot is added to love sachets and is used in spells of peace and tranquility. It is smoked as part of a shamanic vision quest. Coltsfoot is feminine and ruled by the planet Venus. Its associated element is Water.

Properties: antihistamine, antitussive, bactericide, collyrium, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, spasmolytic, styptic, sudorific, and tonic. Contains flanonoids; rutin, hyperoside and isoquercetin, mucilage, consisting of polysaccharides based on glucose, galactose, fructose, arabinose and xylose; and inulin, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, including senkirkine and tussilagine and tannin.

Growth: Coltsfoot is a perennial that prefers damp, clay soils. It grows 5 to 18 inches high, and likes full to partial sun. It is a perennial that grows to the height of 4 – 8 inches. The yellow flowers appear before the leaves in early March and consist of a disk of numerous long, narrow, petal-like ray flowers. The flowers are 1inch wide and closely resemble a dandelion, of which they are commonly mistaken for. The flowers appear on the ends of 1/8 inch thick stems that are grayish-green, wooly, and covered with reddish-purple scaly bracts, giving them the appearance of asparagus stalks. Several stems arise from the same root crown, reaching a height of 2 – 6 inches when the flowers appear, and continue to 12 – 20 inches by the time seeds mature. As the flower head matures, it turns into a white ball with tufted seeds. The seeds are 1/8 inch long, cylindrical, and yellow or reddish-brown.

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried flowers of leaves and let infuse for 10 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day, as hot as possible.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Combinations: In the treatment of coughs it may be used with White Horehound, Mullein or Elecampane.
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for December 28th is

Herb of the Day


Medicinal Uses: Clove oil will stop a toothache when it is applied directly to the cavity. It is very warm and stimulating to the system, and is very useful with people who have cold extremities. Cloves will promote sweating with fevers, colds, and flu. It is often used in remedies for whooping cough.
Cloves are also safe and effective for relieving vomiting during pregnancy.
Cloves are also well known for their antispasmodic and stimulative properties. The oil contains eugenol, a strong anesthetic and antiseptic substance. Add clove oil to neutral oils for topical pain relief of arthritis.
Small amounts of clove in a tea for nausea. 3 cloves in two cups of boiled water, steeped for 20 minutes, as an antiseptic and mouthwash. Former alcoholics can suck on one or two cloves when the craving strikes to curb the desire. Clove kills intestinal parasites and exhibits broad antimicrobial properties against fungi and bacteria supporting its traditional use as a treatment for diarrhea, intestinal worms, and other digestive ailments.

Magickal uses:  Cloves worn in an amulet will drive away negativity and hostility, and stop gossip. It is often carried to stimulate the memory, and can be added to attraction sachets. Clove oil is also worn as an aphrodisiac, and the buds when eaten are said to stir up bodily lusts. It is placed in sachets with mint and rose to chase away melancholy and to help one sleep soundly. Carried, it can also bring comfort to the bereaved and mourning. Carry in a pouch or amulet to attract love. Clove is masculine and associated with the element of Fire. It is ruled by the planet Jupiter.

Properties: Antiseptic, mind and body stimulant, analgesic, antibacterial, carminative. Clove oil is 60 to 90 percent eugenol, which is the source of its anesthetic and antiseptic properties.

Growth: Clove trees are originally from Indonesia. The dried flower buds, clove, are extensively used as spice.

Infusion: Use 1 teaspoon of powdered herb per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 20 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day.
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for December 24th is Allspice

Herb of the Day


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
Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods
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Herb of the Day for December 23rd – DogBane

Herb of the Day


The common name, Dogbane, refers to the plant’s toxic nature, which has been described as “poisonous to dogs.” Apocynum means “Away dog!” and cannabinum means “like hemp,”. This is in reference to the strong cordage that can be made by weaving together the stem’s long fibers.The fiber was particularly useful in making fishing and carrying nets, for string and for ropes, and to some extent for weaving rough cloth.

Medicinal Uses: DogBane was dried, crushed, and then snuffed for coughs in head colds.
The root was made into a tea and was used to help a baby’s cold, earache, headache, nervousness, dizziness, worms and insanity.
This tea was also taken for heart palpitations, but care should be observed if using it for cardiac disorders. It acts as a vasoconstrictor, slows and strengthens the heartbeat, and raises blood pressure.
The root could also be used as an emetic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, cathartic, anodyne, hypnotic, laxative, treats vomiting, diarrhea, hydrocephalus, urinary difficulties, dropsy, jaundice, liver problems, and stimulates the digestive system. It has been successfully employed for alcoholism.  A wash made of crushed root can be used to stimulate hair growth, remove dandruff and head lice.
The milky juice can remove warts.
A poultice of the leaves reduces tumors, hemorrhoids, and inflammation of the testicles. The poultice placed over the eyelids works on opthalmia and eye diseases.
The leaves ground into powder can dress wounds, sores and ulcers.

DogBane can be toxic if ingested without proper preparation.

Magickal Uses: The flowers are used in magickal love mixtures. Dogbane is an herb of protection and is ruled by Jupiter.  Native American women kept track of important events in their lives by knotting a piece of hemp from the Dogbane. These knots were adorned with bead, shells and so forth in accordance to the event being remembered.

DogBane is harvested for its fiber. The stems are cut in the fall; they are then split open and the long, silky fibers removed. The fibers are then twisted into string, which provides cordage. String, thread, rope, baskets, snares, netting, and clothing can be made from these fibers.

Properties: Dogbane contains: Strophanthin, apocannocide, choline, trigonelline, cymarin, rosins, fixed oils, starch and proteins.

Growth: The flowers of DogBane are small, white to greenish-white, and produced in terminal clusters (cymes). The flower size is 1/4 inch wide. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue on into late summer. The flowers are borne in dense heads followed later by the slender, pointed pods which are about 4 inches in length.
Many small insects, such as wasps and flies, pollinate the flowers.
The leaves are ovate or elliptic, 2-5 inches long, 0.5-1.5 inches wide, and arranged oppositely along the stem. Leaves have short petioles (stems) and are sparingly pubescent or lacking hairs beneath. The lower leaves have stems while the upper leaves may not. The leaves turn yellow in the fall, then drop off.
The leaves lack hairs, and often have a reddish-brown tint when mature, it becomes woody at the base, and are multi – branched in the upper portions of the plant. The stems and leaves secrete a milky sap when broken.
Dogbane has a long horizontal rootstock that develops from an initial taproot.
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for December 22nd is the Wild Rose

Herb of the Day

 Wild Rose

Medicinal Uses:The rose comes originally from Asia Minor, where it is cultivated mostly in Bulgaria, Iran and India. Rosewater was prepared by the Arab physician Avicenna (CE 980-1037) during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the rose was esteemed as a remedy for depression.        
Rose hips are very nourishing to the skin, as well as containing vitamin C. It is used as a blood purifier, and for treatment of infections, colds, and flu. Rose petal syrup can be made by adding twice the petals’ weight of sugar and infusing in hot water. Alternately, the fresh petals can be ground with a little boiling water and strained, and the liquid combined with honey. The resulting liquid is a natural laxative and a tonic for the stomach.  Rose hips are particularly good for digestion and produce a diuretic effect without irritating the kidneys. Kidney stones or gravel; rose hips are used as a preventative or arrestant. Use for kidney and bladder inflammations. By eliminating uric acid accumulations, brier hips help in gouty and rheumatic complaints.  
A decoction of crushed achenes is also sometimes used for fever and as a beverage tea. The rose hips should be gathered after the first frost. They will be red and ready for drying or making into jam. The jam or jelly is used for coughs. The dried hips are opened, the seeds and hairs removed, and the skins used for an excellent sore throat tea; use two teaspoons per cup of water and simmer for ten minutes. An infusion of the petals, one ounce to one pint of water, makes a soothing eye lotion; strain it first through cheesecloth.

Magickal uses: Rose water is used in gourmet dishes and in love potions. Petals are used in healing incense and sachets, and burned to provide a restful night’s sleep. The essential oil is used in ritual baths to provide peace, love, and harmony within the self. The hips are strung like beads and worn to attract love. Rose petals sprinkled around the home will calm personal stress and upheavals in the home. Rose buds are added to bath water to conjure a lover. Place some in a red cloth bag and pin it under your clothes. Add red rose petals to healing formulas and spells. The rose is a Goddess her belonging to Venus and the Water element. The rose is an herb of love. A chaplet of roses or a single rose on the altar is powerful additions when performing love rituals. A tea made from the buds, which is drunk before bed will bring prophetic dreams. To answer the question, “which one”, take the green leaves from a rose. Inscribe the name of each of your lover on the leaves. The leaf that stays green the longest is the right one. Use in healing rituals. A cloth soaked in rosewater and placed on the temples will relieve headaches. Add to mixtures and potions for luck to add speed. Carry or place in the home for protection and peace Planted in the garden they attract fairies. It is also said that stolen rosebushes grow the best.

Properties: Astringent, carminative, diuretic, tonic. Contains Citric acid, flavonoids, fructose, malic acid, sucrose, tannins, vitamins A, B3, C, D, E, and P, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc

Growth: Roses of all varieties are adaptable to most soils as long as they have adequate water, and are occasionally fed through the growing season. There are varieties that will grow throughout North America. Plant them where you can enjoy their beauty and fragrance.

Infusion: use 1 to 2 tsp. hips (without seeds) with 1 cup boiling water.

Decoction: use 1/2 to 1 tsp. powdered achenes with 1 cup water. Boil until 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Drink in the course of the day.

Rose hip tea: Long served in northern Europe. Very high in vitamin C and good for daily use. The dried, finely chopped rose hips must be soaked in a small amount of water for 12 hours before using. The tea is made by simmering 1 tbsp. rosehips in 3 cups of water for 30-40 minutes. A small amount of dried hibiscus flowers makes a nice addition to this tea, giving it a lemony flavor and a very attractive burgundy color.
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for December 19th is Myrrh

Herb of the Day


Its name is derived from the Hebrew murr or maror, meaning “bitter.”

Medicinal Uses: Especially valued as a disinfectant, myrrh is used as a wash for wounds. Use as a wound wash only after the wound has been well cleaned. It has the tendency to seal wounds once it is placed on them. Use the alcohol tincture in water or the tea as a wound wash.
Myrrh promotes circulation and increases heart rate and power. Said to move stagnant blood through the uterus, it has been used for menopause, menstrual irregularities , and uterine tumors. Myrrh benefits diabetes and obesity; the dose is one to fifteen grains. Combined with echinacea and mullein to one quarter part myrrh; steep two teaspoons per cup of water for twenty minutes; take a quarter cup every four hours. Myrrh, goldenseal, arnica, and cayenne can be soaked in rubbing alcohol for a few weeks to make a liniment for bruises and sprains.
Myrrh is used in mouthwashes to soothe mouth and throat irritations.

Prolonged internal use of myrrh (longer than a few weeks) can lead to kidney damage.

Magickal Uses: Myrrh , which is sacred to Isis, is burned to purify sacred space. Myrrh increases the power of any incense to which it is added. Myrrh is also used in healing incenses and sachets. Its smoke is used to consecrate and purify objects such as amulets, talismans, charms, and magickal tools. It also aids meditation and contemplation. The essential oil can be added to blends designed to enhance spirituality and meditation.

Properties: Antibacterial and antifungal. Myrrh contains volatile oil, resin (myrrhin), gum, ash, salts, sulphates, benzoates, malates, and acetates of potassa.

Growth: Myrrh grows as a  small tree or shrub. The bushes yielding the resin do not grow more than 9 feet in height. They are sturdy built, with knotted branches, and branchlets that stand out at right-angles, ending in a sharp spine. It is of the botanical family “Burseraceae”.
Author: Crick
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