Herb of the Day for April 17th is Catnip

Herb of the Day


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.

Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

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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.

Author: Crick
Website: The Whispering Woods

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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 This & That, Incense, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Herb of the Day for April 15th is Bloodroot

Herb of the Day


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.



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

WOTC Extra (a) Preparing the Soil


Preparing the Soil


Once the ground has been cleared you need to determine what kind of soil you have. It will be obvious whether it is very stony, sandy or heavy clay that sticks together, but you need to know how acid or alkaline it is. To do this you can get a PH tester kit from the garden centre and follow the instructions. Take time to know and understand the requirements of your herbs. Pennyroyal, violets and thyme are quite happy to grow between cracks in paving slabs. Feverfew, pellitory, houseleeks and wall germanders will grow next to a wall. Some plants like shade, including alexanders, angelica, chervil and woodruff. A clay soil supports foxgloves, mint and parsley, while broom, lavender and thyme will be happier on a sandy soil.

Though herbs generally prefer a poor soil, most flowers and vegetables need added nutrients. Soil usually needs to be improved with plenty of organic matter to enrich its nutrient content, and help it to retain water. This is done by adding manure or compost. I get my manure from the ponies belonging to my neighbour or from the dairy farm down the road. This needs to be well rotted before it goes on, or it may be too ‘hot’ and will burn young plants. I also add home compost, and every garden, however small, should have its own compost heap. You can buy a plastic bin or make a wooden box from palettes, and throw in all your uncooked kitchen waste – eggshells, vegetable peelings, rotten fruit, non seeding weeds, leaves and other soft garden matter. Do not add meat, cheese, cooked food, seeding weeds and perennial weeds. There are supposed to be all sorts of secrets to good composting, but I just keep adding stuff on the top and getting nice crumbly compost out of the bottom.

The ash from my garden fires is rich in potash, and the fruit trees and bushes get a good dressing of this every spring.



Hearth Witch (The Eight Paths of Magic)

Anna Franklin


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Let’s Talk Witch – It’s Gardening Time, Clearing the Ground To Get You Started

Strange Brew

Clearing the Ground


Both my present allotment and garden had been sadly neglected when I bought them. They were knee high in couch grass, brambles, thistles, horsetails, docks, dandelions and other weeds. I didn’t have the time or energy to devote to clearing this by hand, and I knew I wasn’t going to use weed killers, so I bought a heavy duty petrol strimmer and flattened the lot. Then I covered the allotment in black plastic bought from a builder’s yard and left it for a year- all 150 ft X 29 ft of it. If you are going to do this, the plastic has to be black to keep light from the ground and prevent weeds from growing, though old bits of carpet and lino will work equally well for smaller areas.

The first year I uncovered a third of the allotment. Then we made several deep beds from wooden frames. I decided to do this, as with ME I could no longer cope with a conventional method of allotment gardening as I had in the past, which involves a lot of back breaking digging several times a year. If you are making deep beds remember that the idea is that you do not dig them over frequently in a conventional fashion, and that you should be able to weeds them without standing on them. Mine are 4 ½ feet wide by 12 ft long.  The paths between them we sowed with grass seed.  I continued to expose more of the allotment every year and adding more beds for five years, until it is now all under cultivation. I recommend this method if you have never had an allotment before, as you will be discouraged by the amount of work involved. Each winter, after all the crops have been harvested, the beds are manured and covered with oblongs of black plastic weighed down with old tyres and left till spring.



Hearth Witch (The Eight Paths of Magic)

Anna Franklin


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

Herb of the Day for April 13th – Balmony

Herb of the Day


Turtle Bloom, Bitter Herb, White Turtlehead


The name of the genus Chelone comes from the Greek word meaning a tortoise, from the resemblance of the corolla to a tortoise-head.

Medicinal uses: Balmony is beneficial for a weak stomach and indigestion, general debility, constipation, and torpid liver, it also stimulates the appetite, and in small doses is a good tonic during convalescence. In addition, Balmony is an effective antheimintic. Balmony is an excellent agent for liver problems. It acts as a tonic on the whole digestive and absorptive system. It has a stimulating effect on the secretion of digestive juices by way of its laxative properties. Balmony is used in gall stones, inflammation of the gall-bladder and in jaundice.

It stimulates the appetite, eases colic, dyspepsia and biliousness and is helpful in debility.

Externally it has been used on inflamed breasts, painful ulcers and piles.

It is very useful after malarial fevers when used as a tonic.

Externally, it is used for sores and eczema. The ointment is useful in relieving the itching and irritation of piles.

For the relief on constipation, Balmony may be combined with Butternut. For jaundice it will best be used with Milk Thistle and other toning hepatics such as Golden Seal.

Infusion: Use I tsp. leaves to I cup water. Take I to 2 cups a day.

Tincture: Take 10 to 20 drops in water, three or four times a day.

Magickal Uses: Balmony is used in hexes. Wrap a persons name in a bundle of balmony and it will cause them to become ill.

Properties: Cholagogue, hepatic, anti-emetic, stimulant, laxative, antheimintic, aperient, cholagogue, tonic. Contains gallic acid

Growth: Balmony has a simple, erect, square stem that reaches a height of 1 to 3 feet. Opposite and short-petioled, its shining, dark green, pointed leaves are serrated and oblong-lancealate in shape. Blooming from July to September, the white flowers, often tinged with pink or magenta, grow in dense terminal or axillary spikes. The two-lipped corolla of the flower somewhat resembles a turtle’s head. The fruit is an ovoid capsule.



Author: Crick

Website: The Whispering Woods

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

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