Please note that this is in no way meant to take the place of regular medical advice or treatment.
Please see a doctor if conditions persist or worsen
What follows is a short list of herbs commonly found in kitchens, or easily found in most supermarkets. This list is alphabetical by herb.
Anise (Pimpinella ansium)
Anise helps expel gas, relieves nausea and stomach pain caused by gas.
To use: crush anise seeds into a powder. Put 1 teaspoon of the powder into 1 cup of warm water. Drink up to three times a day to relieve symptoms. ——————————————————————————–
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is another anti-nauseant that also relieves gas, and promotes normal bowel function.
To use: Make a strong tea using 1 teaspoon of the crushed dried herb in a half- cup of water. Drink as needed, not to exceed three cups a day. ——————————————————————————–
Capsicum or Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens)
Cayenne helps stimulate the appetite and acts as a milk stimulant. It may reduce discomfort from the common cold.
To use: make a tea out of the dried herb, 1 teaspoon per cup of hot water. 2 cups per day only.
Note: Cayenne irritates hemorrhoids and should never be used by people with stomach problems. Do not exceed recommended dosage as high doses can cause stomach and kidney problems. ——————————————————————————–
Caraway (Carum carvi)
Caraway works as an expectorant for coughs due to colds. It also improves the appetite and may increase breast milk in nursing mothers.
To use: Chew some seeds three or four times a day. ——————————————————————————–
Dill (Aniethum graveolens)
Dill eases indigestion and upset stomachs.
To use: make a strong tea by steeping 2 teaspoons of dill seeds in 1 cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink one half-cup 2 to 3 times daily. ——————————————————————————–
Fennel (Foeniculum velgare)
Fennel is a digestive aid and is known to relieve cramps. The oil is used to relieve stiff joints.
To use: 15 drops of extract in warm water with honey, one daily, as digestive aid. Rub oil directly on affected area for pain alleviation. ——————————————————————————–
Fenugreek (Trigonella graceum)
Fenugreek relieves sore throats and is useful for treating irritations and other inflammations.
To use: as a gargle for sore throat – mix 1 tablespoon of pulverized seed in 1 cup hot water. Let steep for 10 minutes and strain. Gargle 3 times a day, every 3-4 hours. As a poultice for skin irritations – pulverize enough seed so that when mixed with 8 ounces of water, it forms a thick paste. Apply paste to affected areas once a day. ——————————————————————————–
Garlic (Allium satvum)
Garlic helps fight infections, lowers blood pressure and may be able to destroy some cancer cells.
To use: stir-fry cloves for a few minutes to cut down garlic-breath. Eat 2 or 3 a day for maximum effectiveness. ——————————————————————————–
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
Ginger eases cold symptoms, soothes skin inflammations and minor burns, calms upset stomachs, and is a natural remedy for morning sickness.
To use: for burn and inflammations – mash fresh ginger root, soak cotton ball and then rub juice on the affected area. For all else – add ginger extract to hot water, 10 drops per cup. This can be taken up to three times daily. ——————————————————————————–
Parsley (Petroselinium sativum)
Parsley settles stomachs after meals. If also helps clear congestion due to colds and is soothing for asthma.
To use: make a strong tea using 1 teaspoon dried, ground parsley in 1 cup hot water. Let steep 10-15 minutes. Take once a day. ——————————————————————————–
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Mint is an anti-spasmodic and is excellent for relieving cramps and stomach pain. It also relieves gas and aids in digestion. It can help reduce the sick feeling associated with migraines.
To use: drink one cup as a tea. Commercial teas are available. (Make sure it is only mint, not mint flavored.) Drink as needed. ——————————————————————————–
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is used for most head pains.
To use: as tea, to relieve nervous tension, make a strong tea. Rub rosemary essential oil on the temples to relieve headaches. Mix essential oils or leaves with olive oil to make a dandruff treatment. ——————————————————————————–
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage reduces perspiration and can be used to ease sore gums.
To use: to relieve perspiration, medium tea, one time daily. To ease gums, strong infusion, gargled, 3 times daily. ——————————————————————————–
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is good for chronic respiratory problems, cold flu and sore throat. It is also an anti-fungal.
To use: make a tea of the dried herb, drink daily. As an anti-fungal, rub extract on affected areas. ——————————————————————————–
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric promotes good liver function and helps prevent gallbladder disease. It also may help prevent over-clotting of blood cells, and may help relieve arthritis symptoms.
To use: take 300mg up to 3 times daily. ——————————————————————————–
Sage has long been burned to purify and cleanse a space. The ancients burned dried sprigs of sage in temples and during religious rituals. The Greeks and Romans wrote that the smoke imparted wisdom and mental acuity. In the tenth century, Arab physicians said that sage brought about immortality, or at the very least, a long and healthy life. In England, seventeenth-century servants of the royal family scattered a blend of sage and lavender on the floors at court to help disguise the aroma of day to day life.
Medicinally, Dioscorides says a decoction made from sage leaves and branches helps with urination and hair regrowth. He adds that it can help prevent ulcers and sores from festering, as well. In the essential herbal Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss tells us that sage is “one of the best remedies for stomach troubles, dyspepsia, gas in the stomach and bowels… will expel worms in adults and children. Will stop bleeding of wounds, very cleansing to old ulcers and sores… Also in liver and kidney troubles.” He also recommends it in treatment of sexual disorders — either excessive sexual desire or a decreased libido. In other words, sage is pretty much the go-to herb for a number of ailments.
In magic, carry sage leaves in your wallet or purse to promote financial gain. Burn leaves to increase wisdom or gain guidance from your spirit guide (be warned – burning sage does smell similar to marijuana, so keep that in mind if you think the neighbors might be inquisitive). Make a wish and write it on a sage leaf, and then hide it beneath your pillow — if you dream about your wish over the next three nights, your wish will come true.
In addition to its medicinal and magical uses, sage makes a great addition to your kitchen pantry. Use it to season fish or chicken dishes, or toss fresh leaves into a green salad.
Other Names: Garden sage
Planetary Connection: Jupiter
Smudging: How to do it — how not to do it
Michelle Chihacou White Puma Klein-Hass
I came across a very interesting article from “Shaman’s Drum” which was reprinted for Vision Quest Bookstore. I will attempt to convey the gist of it, along with my views, as a student of the Ways of the Teneh, about it. Smudging is a way of using the smoke from burning herbs as a way to cleanse the body, an object, or a given area of negative influences. I myself use smudging to “cleanse” crystals before using them in jewelry projects I may do, and for protecting my home from some recent “bad vibe”-producing events. (landlord troubles!) I imagine that the skillful use of the proper herbs could help in warding and banishing ceremonies as well, if used properly and with reverence. The three most used plant material for smudging are sage of all types, cedar and sweetgrass.
- There are two major genii and several varieties of each genus of Sage that are used for smudging. Salvia, or the herb sage used for cooking, comes in two major varieties: S. officinalis, commonly known as Garden Sage, and S. apiana, commonly known as White Sage. Salvia varieties have long been acknowledged as healing herbs, reflected in the fact that its genus name comes from the Latin root word salvare, which is the verb “to heal” or “to save.” Artemisia is the genus commonly considered “Sagebrush”, and is more common in the wilds out here in California. There are two major varieties to the Artemisia genus: A. californica or Common Sagebrush, and A. vulgaris or Mugwort. There are many other varieties of both Salvia and Artemisia, and all are effective in smudging. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies to drive out evil spirits, negative thoughts and feelings, and to keep Gan’n (negative entities) away from areas where ceremonials take place. In the Plains Sweatlodge, the floor of the structure is strewn with sage leaves for the participants to rub on their bodies during the sweat. Sage is also used in keeping sacred objects like pipes or Peyote wands safe from negative influence. In the Sioux nation, the Sacred Pipe is kept in a bundle with sage boughs. I would think special crystals could be so protected this way as well.
- True cedar is of the Thuja and Libocedrus genii. Some Junipers (Juniperus genus) are also called “cedar”, thus complicating things some. Some Juniper varieties are cleansing herbs, especially J. monosperma, or Desert White Cedar. But for smudging, the best is Western Red Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and California Incense Cedar (Libocedrus descurrens). Cedar is burnt while praying to the Great Spirit (Usen’, the Source — also known to Plains nations as Wakan Tanka) in meditation, and also to bless a house before moving in as is the tradition in the Northwest and Western Canada. It works both as a purifier and as a way to attract good energy in your direction. It is usually available in herb stores in chipped form, which must be sprinkled over a charcoal in a brazier. I like a piece of charcoaled mesquite for this purpose, rather than the commercial charcoal cake.
- Very important to the Sioux and Cherokee nations, its botanical name is Hierochloë odorata. In these tribes, the sweetgrass is braided like hair braids. It could be burnt by lighting the end of it, or (more economically) by shaving little bits of it onto charcoal in a brazier. Again, use charcoaled Mesquite (I believe it comes packaged for barbecue use under the brand name “Red Arrow”) to burn it, not pressed charcoal tablets. Sweetgrass is burnt after smudging with sage, to welcome in good influences after the bad had been driven out. Sweetgrass is very rare today, and traditional Plains people have been attempting to protect the last of it. Myself, I believe that Cedar, which is not endangered, can safely be used this way. Also Piñon pine needles (used more frequently by the Southwest Teneh, like the Navajo and Apache as well as the Pueblo people and the Zuni) and Copal (used by the Yaqui and in ancient times by the Azteca and the Maya) have similar effect. The three mentioned here are readily available either through gathering yourself or, in the case of copal resin, from any good herb shop.
- Using Smudging
- Burn clippings of the herb in a brazier… not a shell as some “new age” shamanic circles do… it is an insult to White Painted Woman (The Goddess) to do this, especially with the abalone shell which is especially sacred to Her. If the herb is bundled in a “wand”, you can also light the end of the wand that isn’t woody and use that. I like the latter way. Direct the smoke with your hands or with a Peyote (feather) wand over the person or thing you wish to smudge. If you can see auras, look for discolored places in the aura and direct the healing smoke towards those places on the patient’s body. For cleansing a house, first offer cedar smoke to the four directions outside the house. Then, take a sage bough and go throughout the inside of the house, making sure the smoke penetrates every nook and cranny of the house. It might help also, if you have a power animal, to visualize your animal doing these things, to also dance your animal, and if you have a power song, to sing that too. Then finally, run through the house with a white candle that is well protected, to “light up” the house. Careful not to burn it down when you do it!!!
- Final Thoughts
- Smudging should be done with care, with reverence, and in an attitude of LOVE. Show your respect and honor to the plants that Usen’ has given us for our healing, and they will return the favor by keeping us well and free from disease and negative energy. Aloe Vera plants, though not to be burnt, are good for the cleansing angle as well. Keep one or more potted Aloe Veras in the house (modern varieties are too tender to plant in anything but full shade outside) in organic (wood or ceramic, never plastic or metal) pots. To honor the plant when you transplant it, sprinkle the roots with corn meal and smudge it with cedar once it is transplanted. The spirit of Aloe Vera is a good protective spirit, and if you burn yourself, can also be used to heal your skin. Be sure to ask the plant’s permission before cutting part of the leaf off for the healing juice. If you don’t, the protective power of the plant will cease, and you will be left with but an inert houseplant… and perhaps some bad karma to boot.
Hi-dicho, it is finished…. ENJU!