Making Healing Infusions

Making Healing Infusions

 
The most common way to take herbal medicine is in an herb tea infusion. Drinking a medicinal tea is different however from drinking an herbal tea as a beverage. Medicinal teas are stronger. They usually require 1 ounce of the herb per pint (2 cups) of water. The container you use to prepare the medicinal herbal beverage is important also. Heatproof glassware and earthenware are best, as they do not impart any of there own qualities into the preparation. Avoid containers made of aluminum or cast iron, these can taint the herbal preparation. Heavily chlorinated tap water or water with a high mineral content should also be avoided. Pure spring water, or distilled water is best to use.

 

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Herbal Preparations

Herbal Preparations

Decoctions


A decoction is herbs that have been simmered in water.
It is the best method for drawing the healing elements from tough plant parts such as bark roots, stems and heavy leaves. To make a decoction use 1 ounce of dried herbs to 1 pint of water that has been brought to a boil. Keep water just below boiling for about 30 minutes and let herbs simmer. Simmering may take up to 1 hour, depending on plant used.
A higher heat than infusions is necessary because of the toughness of the plant parts.


Decoctions should always be strained while hot, so that the matter that separates on cooling may be mixed again with the fluid by shaking when the remedy is used. Use glass, ceramic or earthenware pots, or clean, unbroken enameled cast iron. Do not use plain cast iron with astringent plants.

 


Electuary


When powders are mixed with syrup, honey, brown sugar, or glycerin to produce a more pleasant taste or to make them easier to use internally, they are called electuarys. These are rarely prepared in advance, but are done when needed. Different substances need different proportions of syrup. Light vegetable powders usually require twice their weight, gum resins 2/3 their weight, mineral substances about half their weight. If an electuary is made up in advance and it hardens, add more syrup. If it swells up and emits gas, merely beat it in a mortar.

 


Extracts


Extracts are solid substances resulting from the evaporation of the solution of vegetable principles. The extract is obtained in three ways: by expressing the juice of fresh plants, by using a solvent such as alcohol, or simmering a plant tea and reducing it to a thickened state.
The last is done by simmering a plant and by repeating the process until most of the water used has evaporated, making a decoction. This gives a distillation of the most active principles in the plant. Add 1/4 teaspoon of alcohol (brandy, gin or vodka will do), glycerin, or tincture of benzoine to preserve the extract.

 


Fomentations


A fomentation is a strong herbal tea in which a clean cloth is dipped.
The cloth can be filled with herbs. The cloth is then applied to the affected part.

 


Infusions


This is the origin of the idea of witches potion. It is a process of soaking herbs in water.

 


Hot Infusion 

 

To make an infusion boil water. Add the boiled water to 1 teaspoon dried herb. Cover and let steep for 9-13 minutes. Strain, cool. Infusions are drunk as teas, added to bath, rubbed into furniture and floors, and to anoint body. Powdered Bark, root, seeds, resin and bruised nuts, seeds, bark and buds may be used in hot infusions.

 


Cold infusion

 

Steep in cold water or cold milk for several hours. Wet, mashed herbs can be used internally as a tea or ad poultices on body.

 


Oils


Aromatic oils and rectified alcohol can be combined. The oils seep into the alcohol to produce an essence. Oils may be captured by evaporation from flower petals. Vegetable, nut, or fruit oils can be used as a medium for steeping aromatic plants to extract volatile oils. Aromatic oils can also be steeped in alcohol to extract essence.


To make an oil, pick your own fresh herbs or purchase dried herbs form a reputable source. Pack a large jar with the chosen herb and pour in any favorite mono unsaturated or polyunsaturated oil. Use enough to cover the herb. Close tightly. Label the jar and place in a sunny place for several weeks. Strain out the herb by pouring through cheesecloth into a fresh jar.


Hold the cheesecloth over the opening of the jar containing the herbs and secure with a rubber band. Invert the jar and pour the infused oil through the cheesecloth. Before discarding the herbs, squeeze all the oil out of them. Repeat the entire procedure.


Repack a clean jar with more of the same herb. Add the infused oil, plus enough additional oil to cover the herbs. Store again in sunlight. Strain again through cheesecloth. Pour the oil into a labeled jar and store until needed.

 


Syrups


Medicinal syrups are formed when sugar is incorporated with vegetable infusions, decoctions, expressed juices, fermented liquors, or simple water solutions. Sometimes tinctures are added to a simple syrup, and the alcohol is evaporated. The tincture is sometimes combined with sugar and gently heated, or exposed to the sun until the alcohol is evaporated. The syrup is then prepared with the impregnated sugar and water. Refined sugar makes a clearer and better flavored syrup. Any simple syrup can be preserved by substituting glycerin for a certain
portion of the syrup. Always make syrups in small quantities.

 


To make an herbal syrup, add 2 ounces of dried herb with 1 quart water in a large pot. Boil down and reduce to 1 pint, then add 1-2 tablespoons of honey. If you want to use fresh fruit, leaves, or roots in syrups, you should double the amount of herbs. Store in refrigerator for up to a month. Honey-based syrups are simple and effective way to preserve healing qualities of herbs. Syrups can soothe sore throats and provide some relief from coughs.

 


Teas

 

Home-made herbal teas are much more potent than the store bought teas. Their flavor can be quite strong and sometimes unpleasant.

 

To make a tea, boil 1 pint of water. Add 1 ounce of dried herb tops ( leaves flowers, stems) steep 3 -5 minutes.

 


Tinctures


Tinctures are solutions of medicinal substances in alcohol or diluted alcohol. To make a tincture, grind plant parts with mortar and pestle (or a blender). Add just enough high-quality vodka, whiskey or grain alcohol to cover herbs. Let sit for 21 days then add a small quantity of glycerin (about 2 tbs per pint) and about 10 % volume of spring water.
Strain and store in airtight amber colored glass. If kept cool and dry it will last for up to 5 years.


Dose is usually 20 drops in a cup of tea or warm water, 4 times a day.
For a stronger tincture place herbs in a cone-shaped piece of parchment paper. Pass alcohol repeatedly through the powdered or cut herb. Catch the slow drippings in a jar.


When it has passed once, you may use it, but the more you repeat the process, the stronger the tincture will be. It is acceptable to dilute any alcohol tincture with water.


Add 4 ounces of water and 1 teaspoon of glycerin for every pint of alcohol. The glycerin is optional, it is an additional preservative.

 


Non Alcoholic Tincture


Alcohol is a near perfect preservative of plant attributes.
If for some reason you wish to evaporate the alcohol, add the tincture dose to a cup of water then add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of boiling water. Some herbs can be steeped in milk to make a milk tincture. Strain out the herbs, and store in a labeled jar in the refrigerator.

 


Ointments


An ointment is a soothing, healing, slightly oily or fatty substance into which the essence of a healing plant has been dissolved. This is done by heating the fat or oil with the plant until it loses its normal color and the oil or fat has absorbed the healing chemical principles. the plant is then strained out, and beeswax is added to harden the ointment.

Preservatives such as drops of tincture of benzoin, poplar bud tincture, or glycerin are optional additions. If you make ointments in small batches and keep them tightly closed with paraffin wax, they don’t decompose. The traditional folk, herbal, and pharmaceutical base for ointments is pork lard. Purify it by simmering and straining. It has healing abilities even without the addition of herbs, but so do a lot of fats and oils. It is said to have great drawing power. Purified, liquefied anhydrous lanolin is also used as a base for ointments. Lanolin is the substance washed from the wool of sheep. It comes in many levels of purity, so the results vary depending on the product. This oil is the closest to skin oil.


Almond oil, cocoa butter, wheat germ, and vitamin E are neutral bases for ointments. If no other product is available, Vaseline may be used, but is listed here in case nothing else is available. All ointments must contain one substance that will thicken the final product. Lanolin is a thickener, as is cocoa butter. Both are non sticky and mix well with most other oils.


Other useful but sticky thickeners are glycerin, honey, or liquid lecithin.
Also, various powdered resins and gum swell up and thicken when first soaked in cold water, then simmered in gently boiling water, and added to preparations. Agar-agar and Irish moss are seaweed thickeners.
Green apples provide and excellent acid fruit pectin that is a good addition to creams and ointments. While any of the above sticky and non sticky thickeners will help swell a product and keep it emulsified, you will still need some wax to harden a cold cream or ointment. Beeswax is perfect, although expensive. It may be combined with paraffin wax.

 


Poultices


A poultice is a raw or mashed herb applied directly to the body, or applied wet directly to the body, or encased in a clean cloth and then applied. Poultices are used to heal bruises, putrid sores, soothe abrasions, or withdraw toxins from an area. They may be applied hot or cold, depending on the health need. Cold poultices(and compresses) are used to withdraw the heat from an inflamed or congested area. Use a hot poultice or compress to relax spasms and for some pains.


To make a poultice, use fresh or dried herbs that have been soaked in boiling water until soft. Mix with enough slippery elm powder to make poultice stick together. Place on affected part then wrap body part and poultice with clean cloth.

 


Vinegars


Herbs that are soluble in alcohol are usually soluble in vinegar, and are useful for salad vinegars, cosmetic vinegars, some liniments and preventive sickroom “washes”.

 


Waters


Steeped herbs, water, and alcohol and steeped herbs plus honey and other fruits are often called waters. Sometimes extracts or spirits of various herbs, such as lavender, are also called waters.

HERBAL BASICS

 

HERBAL BASICS
By Don Wildgrube ñ 1992

In Herbalism, the definition of herb is not the dictionary definition. Herb
refers to all parts of the plant, whether it is the leaves (dictionary
definition), stems, seeds, roots, flowers or fruit, and each are prepared
differently.

Unless noted otherwise, the rule of thumb for herbal teas are as follows:

1 Teaspoon of herb per cup of water. Most recipes call for 2 cups of water (one
pint) per person or dose. This would need 2 teaspoons, total, of the herb. If
three or more herbs are used, mix the herbs in proportion in a container then
measure out 2 teaspoons. Please note that some powdered herbs are too
concentrated to be used at this strength, for example cayenne pepper and
capsicum.

For regular teas (hot infusions):
Leaves and flowers are steeped. Boiling water is poured over the herb and
allowed to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes it is good to allow them to
steep longer to increase the strength, but herbs like Chamomile should be
steeped no longer then 5 minutes or they will become bitter.

Seeds should be bruised and steeped in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stems, bark, roots should be chopped and simmered for a minimum of 5
minutes.

Fruit coatings such as citrus can be “zested” and added to hot water to
steep. Do not boil or the volatile oils will go off in the vapor. Fruit juices
can be added while steeping or just before drinking.

Teas may also be made by COLD INFUSION, commonly known as “Sun Tea”. Please note that the Sun is not necessary. Just place the herb in cold water, in
the proper proportion as above, and let stand, in the shade, in the Sun or
wherever, for at least 2 hours. This is an excellent method to extract the
essence from very fragile hers, such as flowers. This way the essence will not
be “boiled off”.

Another method is called maceration. This means to soak in a liquid to get the
essence of the herb. It us usually done in one of two ways. The first is soaking
in oil, the result is an “oil”, the second is soaking in alcohol, and called a
tincture.

Oils are made by filling a bottle with the herb, pouring oil over the herb to
fill the bottle. Let it stand for a week or two, shaking daily, then strain the
used herbs out. If the oil is not strong enough, add more herb to the bottle or
jar and pour the same oil over it. Repeat as often as necessary.

The same method is used for tinctures and is an excellent way to extract certain
oils that can be damaged by boiling. Place the herb in a jar or bottle, pour
alcohol over the herb. Note: do not use rubbing alcohol, or wood alcohol. These
are very poisonous. Wood alcohol is made from just that and can cause blindness
and brain damage. Rubbing alcohol or other “denatured” alcohols are denatured by
adding things such as acetone. Use alcohol which is manufactured to drink. I
use Vodka, and I buy the plain label brands or the cheapest brand.

To make salves, put a large amount of herb in a bowl. Add 1 pound of lard or
other semi-solid fat, plus 2 to 3 ounces of bees wax (for firmness). Place in a
low-medium oven, 250-300 degrees for 3 hours. Strain, bottle and cool.

There are many more types of herbal preparations that are not listed here, they
may be found in many herbal books. I would suggest a good herbal book, such as
“The Herb Book” by John Lust. In regard to Herbal Books, some books have very
valuable information, but others have information that can be harmful. Be
cautious, check several sources. Some Herbal Books such as “Culpeppers Herbal”
base their information on planetary considerations, or the “doctrine of
signatures”. Planetary rulership of herbs is useful for magical purposes, but
may get you into trouble when used for other purposes. The “doctrine of
signatures” in essence says that Herbs heal parts of the body that they look
like, such as: Broad Leaf Plantain looks like the sole of the foot, therefore is
for healing feet, or Toothwort and Dandelion (Dent = tooth, of the Lion) is for
teeth because they look like teeth, or Boneset for setting bones because the
opposing leaves are joined at the stalk.

I hope that the above information will be of some help, and happy Wortcunning.

 

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Calendar of the Sun for December 3rd

Calendar of the Sun

3 Yulmonath

Mengloth’s Day

Color: White
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of white place a figure of Mengloth, cut from cloth and filled with herbs, a cup of herb-fortified wine, a pot of herbal tea with cups, a mortar and pestle, and bunches and jars of all the medicinal herbs in the House.
Offerings: Give natural medicine to someone.
Daily Meal: Anything healthy and well-balanced.

Invocation to Mengloth

Hail, Lady of Lyfjaberg,
Mistress of Gastropnir,
High on the highest peak
In the pure air of the north country
Atop snowy cliffs you dwell.
Lady whose roads are long and winding,
Lady whose roads are treacherous and fell,
Lady whose hidden fortress is sought
By the weak, the ill, the desperate,
Those whom all medicine has failed.
Lady of the Last Resort,
Healer of the wounds that cannot be healed,
This offering we make to you
And all the maidens that cluster around you;
Hlif and Hlifthrasa, Thjofvara, Aurboda,
Bjort and Bleik, Blith and Frith,
Colleague of Eir the Healer of Asgard.
We pray your healing hands, Jeweled One,
We pray your healing mind, Mountain-High,
We pray your healing magic shall shape us whole.
Svipdag’s beloved, Keeper of the Wand of Light,
May your favor shine upon us
As we ascend to the trials of your high road.

(The wine is poured out as a libation. Each comes forward then and pours a cup of the herbal tea, asking for healing for themselves or others, and drinks it.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for October 16th

Calendar of the Sun

16 Winterfyllith

Laufey’s Day

Color: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of pale green set a miniature willow tree in a pot, a goblet of fruit wine, five yellow and green candles, many mugs of some nourishing herbal tea, and many plates of nourishing oat-cakes.
Offerings: Plant trees.
Daily Meal: Tree fruits, soup and bread, herbal tea from tree-leaves.

Invocation to Laufey

Laufey, Wise Goddess, I hail You.
Mother of Loki, Nurturer of the flame,
I honor You.
You are rooted and ancient wisdom,
The strength of the trees that wind their roots
Deeply into the earth,
Of rich dark soil,
Of solitude, and seasons,
Dissolution and quiet change.
You are patient endurance,
Wise weaver of the threads of fate,
Luck-warder, mother of warriors,
Fierce defender, skilled healer.
All of these things You have been.
You restore and rebalance.
You sustain
And grant to Your children
The enduring strength of the forest,
The quickness of flame,
The swiftness of light, liquid and untouchable.
Lady of the Leafy Isle, no ornament
To Farbauti’s hall but to Your own alone
Wherein You shine, ever shall I speak Your praises.
Hail, Laufey.

(One who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual shall bring forth the oat-cakes and herbal tea, and all shall eat and drink of Laufey’s generosity. The wine shall be poured out as a libation, and then all should go forth from the House to plant trees in some place that is needful of them.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

LET'S TALK WITCH – CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS OF USING HERBS

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LET’S TALK WITCH – CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS OF USING HERBS

It would be pretty irresponsible to start taking herbs with little or no knowledge of herbal remedial treatments. By not taking the time to consider all the factors and seek advice you could be putting your health at serious risk.

For instance, women who are pregnant should be careful of the herbs they take because their baby may not be strong enough or sufficiently formed to handle the effects of such a nutrient and this can put the health of the baby and in fact the pregnancy in danger.

When compared to the synthetic medications your doctor may prescribe for you, herbal medications usually do have fewer side effects, if any at all, but again this reaction has to do with the individual person taking the herbs. For example one person may drink herbal tea with mint in it and have no problems at all whereas another person may do the same and develop a skin rash.

It is these risk factors which make it important to educate yourself before you decide to take herbs of any form and then you should test the herb for a few days at a diluted dosage before using it at its full concentration so that any adverse effects are mild rather than severe.

People who are diabetic should not be taking certain herbs; some herbs should not be taken when on certain medications and sometimes the combining of certain herbs will achieve a negative result. There are many rules which people neglect to learn before they jump into the herbal world with both feet. Take the time to do the research, find a reputable source of information you can trust, and learn what you can about herbal remedies so you can use them safely and without regret. It is your health; take the time to learn so you can take responsibility for it.

LOVE TEA FOR TWO

LOVE TEA FOR TWO

2 tsp. Rose petals

1 tsp. Spearmint herb

1 tsp. Licorice root (ground)

1 tsp. Hawthorn herb

A pinch of the following:

Coriander, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Vanilla or Ginger, Honey to taste

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Place the herbs and spices listed above in the hot water;
simmer on low for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes longer.
Strain tea before serving.

The Witches Magick for Wednesday, February 6th – A Protective Floor Wash

Protective Floor Wash

 

This protective blend is good to build up an aura of protective energy in your home and keep away anyone who would seek to do you harm. Mop the floors of your house with this after you’ve cleansed your house from a harmful spell someone has laid against you to keep up protections and avoid repeat magickal attacks.

Brew up a large cup of strong tea using Protection Herb Bath. Strain the herbs out and add this cup of herbal infusion to your mop water (along with whatever cleaner you regularly use – preferably a pine scented one). As you mop the floors in your house pray in the name of your Divinity to raise up a fiery sword of righteous divine light against your enemies to wrap your house in protective energy and keep all of your enemies, seen and unseen, away from your home.

Calendar of the Sun for December 3rd

Calendar of the Sun

3 Yulmonath

Mengloth’s Day

Color: White
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of white place a figure of Mengloth, cut from cloth and filled with herbs, a cup of herb-fortified wine, a pot of herbal tea with cups, a mortar and pestle, and bunches and jars of all the medicinal herbs in the House.
Offerings: Give natural medicine to someone.
Daily Meal: Anything healthy and well-balanced.

Invocation to Mengloth

Hail, Lady of Lyfjaberg,
Mistress of Gastropnir,
High on the highest peak
In the pure air of the north country
Atop snowy cliffs you dwell.
Lady whose roads are long and winding,
Lady whose roads are treacherous and fell,
Lady whose hidden fortress is sought
By the weak, the ill, the desperate,
Those whom all medicine has failed.
Lady of the Last Resort,
Healer of the wounds that cannot be healed,
This offering we make to you
And all the maidens that cluster around you;
Hlif and Hlifthrasa, Thjofvara, Aurboda,
Bjort and Bleik, Blith and Frith,
Colleague of Eir the Healer of Asgard.
We pray your healing hands, Jeweled One,
We pray your healing mind, Mountain-High,
We pray your healing magic shall shape us whole.
Svipdag’s beloved, Keeper of the Wand of Light,
May your favor shine upon us
As we ascend to the trials of your high road.

(The wine is poured out as a libation. Each comes forward then and pours a cup of the herbal tea, asking for healing for themselves or others, and drinks it.)

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for November 28th

Calendar of the Moon

Reed Month

Color: Blue-green
Element: Water
Altar: Upon cloth of blue-green place a vase of reeds, a single blue-green candle, a great bowl of water floating with wetlands plant leaves, and a knife.
Offering: Recycle something useless into something useful.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian soup and sandwiches. Only water or herbal tea to drink.

Ngetal Invocation

Call: Now is the time of the bleak cold.
Response: Now the reeds whisper in the swamp.
Call: Now is the time when we see the growing dark.
Response: Now is the time when we begin to shiver.
Call: Now is the time of bare trees.
Response: Now is the time of rain and wind.
Call: Now the rain fills the wetlands to overflowing.
Response: Now the swamp overflows into our lives.
Call: We feel our feet dragged down into the cold waters.
Response: Yet the wetland is the source of greatest life!
Call: We feel ourselves pulled into the unfamiliar.
Response: Unfamiliar to us, but no less of value.
Call: The damp cold begins to reach our bones.
Response: We must welcome its touch.
Call: We must keep it far away with fire’s warmth!
Response: We must welcome its touch.
Call: Why should we not ban it from our lives?
Response: For this, too, is a Mystery of water.
Call: Not the deep mystery of the Ocean…
Response: Not the running flow of the river…
Call: Not the crystal of snow and ice…
Response: But the secrets of the still waters.
Call: From the still waters springs the greatest number of lives!
Response: And it is this that we must honor.
Call: Welcome into ourselves the song of the whispering reeds!
Response: Welcome into ourselves the oncoming winter.

Chant:

Cold as stone
Marshes heart
We will own
What is apart

[Pagan Book of Hours]