Herb of the Day
The art of making potions goes back to the earliest civilizations and in terms of history, as one of the oldest crafts known to humankind. Brewing beer, making wine, and infusing potions are traditions that have been perfected through time. Many of the techniques making a great beer, wine or potion are the same. The mixture is often called a wort. The wort is then put through a process, which in the case of potions, gives it magickal properties.
The different ways of making potions stem from ancient medicinal and alchemical recipes, formulas that you can put together from basic ingredients in the privacy of your own kitchen. Historically magick love potions also called
philters, were often made of unappealing ingredients. You had to be extremely thristy or unaware of the contents to sip one. Today, this isn’t the case as most potion ingredients are tasty and appealing.
Potion brews can be anything from an herb tea to a fruit smoothie. One of the main things to remember when making any potion is to make it taste good if a person is going to drink it. If you are using a potion primarily for its scent, for example in a powder form, then make sure it smells good. Try to avoid unfortunate situations like the infamous wizard Aleister Crowley found himself in when he developed a perfume potion for sex magick called “It.” Great idea Aleister, but nothing came of “It,” because the stuff reputedly had a horrid smell!
Before you make your potion, be sure that you have all the ingredients and tools you will need at your fingertips. Following is a list of potion-making tools you will need:
*A ceramic, earthenware, glass, or wood bowl
*A pot, preferably one that is NOT made of metal, for brewing the potion
*A wooden spoon for stirring the potion
*Cheesecloth for straining the potion
*A mortar and pestle for grinding potion ingredients
*A container for the potion
Clean, preferably sterilize, all of your tools, especially the potion container. You can clean containers by carefully pouring boiling water into them, or you can put the container in the dishwasher, running it through the entire cycle and turning on the heat/dry cycle. This also does a good job of sterilizing contatiners. If you don’t have time to properly clean the chalice, cup, glass or other containers the potion is going in, then just make sure that it is as clean as possible. Any residue may taint the potion.
The kind of water you use is important when preparing a magick potion. Spring, well, rain, and distilled waters are better than tap water, which often contains chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride. Well water with no harmful contaminants can be used; rain water can be used as long as there aren’t any pollutants in it; and distilled water can be used for potions, but it is inert. Unless the recipe calls for it, I seldom use sea water or mineral water due to their mineral content.
Witches and wizards make potions by mixing one, two, a few or many ingredients together into one. Sometimes the ingredients are used just as they are. Other times they are ground up, shredded, pureed or crushed with your fingers or with the mortar and pestle. The herbs that go into your potion can be either fresh or dried. If you use fresh herbs, it take three times more of them than dried herbs. For example, if a potion recipe calls for one teaspoon of dried sage leaves and you want to use fresh sage, it would take three teaspoons of fresh sage to make the potion.
Processes call infusions and decoctions are also employed. An infusion, the most common method of internal herbal preparation, is usually in the form of a tea. It can also take the form of magick water. The infusion method works best when the potion you are making requires soft plant parts, such as leaves, flowers or green steams.
When using the infusion method of preparing potions, there are a couple of things you can do to make your potion more effective. One thing is to brew aromatic ingredients such as garlic and clove, in a pot with a lid that fits
on tight. The reason for this is to keep from losing the natural oils of the aromatic ingredients to evaporation. These natural oils are important for the effectiveness of the potion.
Some ingredients are sensitive to heat, so you can make a cold infusion by soaking the herbs in water for anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. A sealed earthenware pot is best for cold infusions. When preparing potions using the infusion method, only make enough for immediate use as infusions rapidly lose their potency.
The method for making a decoction potion is similar to the infusion. You begin by grinding your ingredients into a powder that you can then make your potions. Ingredients that are hard, such as bark and stems, require more heat to release their magickal properties. The use of more heat to release the natural oils of an ingredient is primary difference between the infusion and decoction methods of potion making.
The decoction method would be the one most associated with the traditional use of magick cauldrons. In this way, dried herbal ingredients are ground into powder and are cut into small piedes, and then added to the potion. The potion is made in a pot, and the ingredients are simmered and boiled in order to release their magickal properties. Again in the case of aromatic ingredients, you should use a lid on the pot to slow the evaporation process. The amount of time that you heat the mixture depends on the potion recipe. Usually decoction are strained to eliminate the hard bark and stems before using them.
At times, potions use both methods in their recipe. In this case prepare the two separately as a decoction and infusion, and then mix the ingredients together after the decoction has cooled. By doing so, the infusion ingredients are not ruined by the heat that the decoction process requires. Always stir clockwise.
Items You Will Need:
A piece of paper (written on it what needs to be healed from the Goddess)
Healing herbs such as calendula, lemon balm, lavender, or mint.
The spell can be done for healing of any kind: physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. It can also be done for a pet.
Light the candle and place the piece of paper you are working to cure for yourself in front of the candle. Visualize you being surrounded with blue healing light. If you are casting the spell outside, you can toss the herbs into a bonfire for extra effect.“God and Goddess Grant me healing Of body, mind, heart and spirit Send your healing energy To mend what is broken Center what has become unbalanced And soothe what is painful. So Mote It Be.
You can do this spell anytime you have a need too.
* ( to promote:)
* Adder’s Tongue
* Balm, Lemon
* Balm of Gilead
* Goat’s Rue
* Golden Seal
* Horse Chestnut
* Job’s Tears
* Life Everlasting
* Pepper Tree
* Plum, Wild
* Sorrel, Wood
* Yerba Mate
* ( to maintain:)
* Life Everlasting
* St. John’s Wort
* Sorrel, Wood
Healing herbs are often used in combinations when combatting an illness. Herbs are combined to give the benefits needed from each, some to give a boost to others, some to boost the body with healing energies. Below are some of the more popular herbal combinations. The herbs can be taken singly for these illnesses as well, although the suggested combinations are best. Don’t fret if you don’t have all of the suggested herbs for any given combination – use what you have, and add the rest as soon as you can. These combinations can usually be in any form you choose – teas, tinctures, capsules, etc. You will want to use equal parts of each herb, or use more of the herb most needed, with equal parts of the booster herbs.
Remember that in any herbal healing undertaken, diet is also very important. These combinations are not meant to be used in the place of a doctor’s advice. Also realize that you should not take herbs continually over a long period of time on a daily basis, as your body may build an immunity to the herb itself, or you may experience side effects. The exception to this would be when treating a chronic illness, but even then, there should be time off for your body from the herbs on a regular schedule. Herbs are medicine, and should always be treated as such.
Often, when taking antibiotic herbs, or prescription antibiotics, the natural bacteria in our digestive system is destroyed, making digestion difficult (and sometimes causing constipation) for several days to several weeks. To combat this, eat fresh real yogurt daily (not the stuff with lots of sugar and flavors, and make sure it has active cultures), or take acidophilus or probiotic capsules, to restore the natural digestive bacteria. This can also help to alleviate vaginal yeast infections in women.
When using an herb or herbal combination to combat an illness or strengthen various systems in the body, it is best to start with a small amount, and then wait a few hours to be sure you are not going to have an adverse reaction, before continuing with the therapy. Stop any ingestion of herbs at the first sign of any adverse reaction.
This is of course not a complete list, this is only to give you a general idea of what may be needed for common ailments. My book has more information on additional illnesses, and there are plenty of naturopathic doctors available, including myself, to answer questions about other ailments. This listing is not meant to diagnose, only to inform. Your body and medical history may dictate that you need very different combinations from these to treat your specific ailments.
Herbs Used: Evening Primrose Oil, Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, Dandelion, Lemon Grass Recipe for Acne Help Bring to a simmer in a non-metallic pan 2 quarts water, 3 tablespoons Witchhazel bark, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground cloves; let simmer for 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme, 1 cup fresh chopped peppermint leaves, and 1/2 cup fresh chopped marjoram. Simmer 5 more minutes, set aside until cold. Mix 1/2 cup of the simmered mixture with 2 teaspoons cider vinegar, 2 ounces grain alcohol(vodka is best), 4 drops lemon oil, and enough water to make one pint. Apply with cotton to acne prone areas after washing. A good aloe moisturizer afterwards is recommended.
Herbs used: Blessed Thistle, Scullcap, Goldenseal, Cayenne, Marshmallow, Lobelia, Burdock.
Herbs Used: Red Beet, Yellow Dock, Lobelia, Burdock, Nettle, Mullein
Herbs Used: Cayenne, Garlic, Hawthorne, Parsley
Herbs Used: Yucca, Comfrey, Alfalfa, Yarrow, Cayenne, Lobelia, Burdock, Chaparral, Black Cohosh, Cat’s Claw, Lemon Grass
Herbs Used: For the acute phase of CFS, a combination of Echinacea, goldenseal, and licorice. If this combination is needed for more than seven days, add potassium-rich foods and/or herbs to your diet. For the chronic phase, a combination of goldenseal, astragulus, licorice, ginseng, and evening primrose oil. One month on, one month off is the recommended usage frame.
Herbs used: Chamomile, Slippery Elm, Cayenne, Goldenseal, Myrrh, Peppermint, Sage, Lemon Grass, Rose Hips, Garlic
Herbs Used: Alfalfa, Peppermint, Fennel, Catnip
Herbs Used: Aloe Vera, Slippery Elm, Barberry
Herbs Used: Elecampane, Wild Cherry Bark, Licorice, Comfrey Root, Lobelia
Herbs Used: Chamomile, Ginseng, Licorice, Cayenne, Gotu Kola Other uses: Endurance, Energy, Memory
Herbs Used: Oil of Mullein, Garlic Oil, or Lobelia Extract drops directly into the ear.
Herbs Used: Cayenne, Ginseng, Gotu Kola Also add: Bee pollen, bee propolis, royal jelly
Herbs Used: Goldenseal, Bayberry, Eyebright Other uses: Eyewash, Allergies, Hay fever, Cataracts
Herbs Used: Black Cohosh, Ginger, Raspberry Leaf, Blessed Thistle, Dong Quai
Herbs Used: Ginger, Cayenne, Goldenseal, Licorice
Herbs Used: Comfrey, Horsetail, Alfalfa, Slippery Elm
Before bed, mix together the juice of 2 lemons, 4 ounces olive oil, 6 ounces Coke Classic; drink. Upon rising, take 10 ounces of magnesium citrate (available in drug stores). Do not eat until you have had your first bowel movement. Bowel movements will continue sporadically for several hours, so do this on a day you are at home!
Herbs Used: Goldenseal, Myrrh (both internally and as a mouthwash)
Herbs Used: Hawthorne, Cayenne, Garlic Other uses: Arteriosclerosis, Cholesterol, Circulation
Herbs Used: Anise seed, Fennel seed, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Lavendar
Herbs Used: pau d’arco(taheebo), Echinacea, Burdock, Spirulina, Kelp, Cat’s Claw
Herbs Used: Echinacea, Goldenseal, Cayenne, Myrrh
For repelling insects on skin: Mix 1 teaspoon each of essential oils of pennyroyal, citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary, and tansy. Shake oils in 1 cup of vegetable or olive oil. Store away from light in a sealed container. Use by rubbing a small amount between the palms of your hands, and then apply to any exposed skin. Avoid applying to the face to prevent eye contact. Reapply as necessary. Discontinue using if a rash develops(some people are sensitive to pennyroyal oil. Test on a small area first). Also safe for animal use. DO NOT INCLUDE THE PENNYROYAL OIL IF PREGNANT OR NURSING!!
Herbs Used: Valerian, Scullcap, Hops
Other uses: Headaches, Stress, Hyperactivity
Herbs Used: Juniper, Uva Ursi, Marshmallow, Ginger, Goldenseal, Dandelion
Herbs Used: Dandelion, Parsley, Horsetail, Blessed (or Milk) Thistle, Chamomile, Lobelia, Wild Yam, Ginger, Sassafras, Kelp
Herbs Used: Comfrey, Fenugreek, Marshmallow, Mullein, Chickweed
Herbs Used: Gingko Biloba, Gotu Kola, Ginseng
Herbs Used: Black Cohosh, Licorice, False Unicorn, Ginseng, Squaw Vine, Blessed Thistle
Herbs Used: Cramp Bark, Ginger root, Raspberry Leaf, Yellow Dock, Vitex, Wild Yam
Herbs Used: Fenugreek, Thyme, Lobelia, Wood Betony, Feverfew Other uses: Fever, Flu, Headache
Herbs Used: Wild Yam, Dandelion, Ginger, Vitex
Herbs Used: Black Cohosh, Cayenne, Valerian, Ginger, St. Johnswort, Hops, Wood Betony
Herbs Used: Burdock, Mullein, Yellow Dock (bathing in a peppermint tea bath will relieve the itching as well as aid in drying up the oak/ivy)
Herbs Used: Evening Primrose Oil, Dong Quai, Vitex
Herbs Used: Black Cohosh, Licorice, Kelp, Gotu Kola, Ginger, Cayenne, Juniper, Uva Ursi, Taheebo, Saw Palmetto, Cat’s Claw
Herbs Used: Chickweed, Licorice, Safflower, Echinacea, Black Walnut, Hawthorn, Papaya, Fennel, Dandelion
Damiana, Ginseng, Saw Palmetto, Gotu Kola
Hops, Scullcap, Valerian
Herbs Used: Horsetail, Sage, Rosemary
Herbs Used: Marshamallow, Fenugreek
Herbs Used: Hops, Scullcap, Slippery Elm, Valerian, Lobelia Other uses: Cough, Nerves, Stress
Herbs Used: Irish Moss, Kelp, Parsley, Black Walnut, Sarsaparilla
Herbs Used: Chaparral, Red Clover, Taheebo (Pau d’arco) Other uses: Cleansing, Blood Disorders
Herbs Used: Cayenne, Goldenseal, Myrrh, Marshmallow, Calendula
Herbs Used: Cayenne, Garlic, White Oak Bark, Marshmallow, Mullein (all mixed together and used as a bolus)
Basic Herbal Fumigation
I want to talk to you about Safety. There are a lot of common misconceptions out there regarding herbal healing, and I hope with this to be able to clear some of those up. Safety with any treatment is essential for overall health and well-being, whether it be allopathic or alternative in nature.
Herbs Are Medicine!! They should be treated with the very same respect that most of us give to prescription drugs. Many herbs can be harmful in large or prolonged dosages, as can most anything in this life, I might add. Many herbs can be addictive after long term improper use. Some are poisonous. Some can have toxic side effects if not properly balanced with herbs that counteract those effects. They should not ever be used indiscriminately without the proper guidance of a health care professional. They should not ever be used on a daily basis without the proper guidance of a health care professional. Many people feel that just because herbs are natural, they can’t be hurt by them. Nothing can be further from the truth.
More Is Not Better!! Many people feel that if a little makes me feel better, a lot will make me feel fantastic. This is not the case with herbs. Dosages need to be carefully controlled, as with any medicine. You wouldn’t swallow a whole bottle of antibiotics at one time to kill a bacterial infection. Apply the same caution to herbal medicines. It is possible to overdose! Herbs work slowly, with the body and its own natural defenses. You must give herbs time to work before changing your dosages. In this modern world of a “pill for everything”, folks have come to expect instant cures, instant relief. You should note that with chronic illness, even prescription drugs take time to work. The same applies with herbal medicines. Give them time to work. Support them with a proper diet, with exercise, and with proper attention to yourself. If the herbs aren’t working for you, then you either have the wrong combinations, the wrong dosages, or you aren’t adhering to a proper healing regimen. Contact a health care professional for guidance as to what works for you.
One Dose Does Not Fit All!! You wouldn’t give a small child the same amount of cough syrup you give an adult. The same applies with herbal medicines. The dose must fit the individual. The dosages need to be based on the illness treated, your past and present medical history, your age, your weight, and several other factors. Combinations must be chosen so as not to interfere with any specifics with your particular body, and so as not to further aggravate that which is being treated. A health care professional can help you choose the proper combinations and dosages for your unique body and health concerns.
Tell Your Doctor What You Are Taking!! You wouldn’t hide the fact that you are a smoker or a drinker or have a heart condition from your physician. You shouldn’t hide the fact that you are using herbal medicines, either. Some herbs can have serious adverse reactions when improperly mixed with prescription drugs. Just because they are natural doesn’t mean there can’t be reactions! Many chemical drugs are derived from healing plant constituents. So you could be causing a serious problem for yourself if you are getting far too much of something that is supposed to be helping you. There is no reason to hide. Herbal healing is becoming much more mainstream today, and many physicians are learning about herbs as medicine. If yours isn’t, then help educate him or her. Or find a doctor that can help you work with your herbs. Most communities have herbal professionals, naturopathic doctors, Chinese Medicine practitioners, and other professionals that are trained in the proper uses of the healing herbs. Seek one out before you make some major mistakes with your precious body.