Herbs During Pregnancy

Herbs During Pregnancy  

These are herbs that will help the mother and baby in the early development stages.

Black Haw – used in the early stages of pregnancy to help prevent miscarriage    

Blessed Thistle – used in the latter stages of pregnancy as a liver tonic and builder, as well as a stimulant of blood flow to the mammaries, and used to  increase milk production; also reduces hemorrhaging during childbirth    

Burdock Root – has a high concentration of vitamins and minerals and is a liver booster    

Chamomile – lifts the spirits and calms the nerves, used for digestive disorders during pregnancy, is combined with ginger to help morning sickness, and has  a high calcium content as well as an anti-inflammatory aid    

Dandelion – greens and root – a high source of vitamins and minerals, aids digestion, nourishes and tones the system, diuretic, useful for fatigue and  exhaustion, liver booster    

Ginger Root – used for morning sickness and digestive problems, safe during pregnancy for treating colds, sore throats, and congestion    

Kelp – high in vitamins and minerals, aids thyroid    

Nettle Leaf – rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially iron, so it is very useful for those suffering from chronic fatigue and exhaustion due to low  iron, aids in enriching and stimulating flow of milk; good for use throughout all stages of the pregnancy    

Red Raspberry Leaf – tones and nourishes the uterine muscles, rich in vitamins and minerals, enriches and increases milk flow, restores the system after  childbirth; good for the entire pregnancy    

Sprulina – high in vitamins and nutrients    

Bee Products – – royal jelly, propolis, bee pollen, raw honey – many nutritional benefits     Always remember to eat a very healthy diet when pregnant and/or nursing!

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A Story For Autumn

A Story For Autumn

Author: Janice Van Cleve   

Let me tell you a story . . .

Once upon a time there was a little yellow flower petal named Dandelion. Her full name was Dandelion 232 because she shared the crown of the mother plant with 231 of her sisters. Dandelion was very happy. She basked in the sun with her siblings and gloried in her comfortable and easy life. Her mother fed her every day and brought her water to drink. Every night the mother closed her green sepals around the petals to protect and shelter them.

One day there was a distinct chill in the air and Dandelion noticed that the days were growing shorter. Soon she began to feel herself changing. Her lower half grew into a seed while her bright yellow petal transformed into a stem with a white parachute on top. This was very strange and she knew not what it meant. Yet she still felt the security of home. She still shared the cozy flower crown with her sisters and her mother always closed her sepals around them at night.

One night, the mother did not close her sepals. The petals stretched open their parachutes and by the dawn, they had spread out into a great round puffball. A couple of them even blew away in the breeze! “I won’t leave you, Mother! ” cried Dandelion. Mother tried to explain to her little daughter what was happening. She tried to tell her that this was part of the cycle of all things. Dandelion would not listen. She feared the changes that were happening. The next day the wind blew stronger and more of her sisters floated away. Terrified, little Dandelion pleaded, “Please, Mother, don’t let go of me!” She held on with all her might but to no avail. The mother plant died, and there was nothing left to hold onto. Another gust, and Dandelion was plucked from the secure home she had always known and was cast to the wind.

For many days Dandelion was blown about, tumbled around, and bumped by all manner of obstacles until finally her parachute and stem broke off. She lay on the ground bruised and sore and very much afraid. “I’m lost and alone, ” she wailed, “woe is me. It cannot get any worse.” Then along came a bird.

The bird was hungry. It spied Dandelion and decided she would be tasty. Before Dandelion knew what was happening, she was swallowed down. “Oh no! ” cried Dandelion, “this is much worse. At least on the ground I could still see the light. It’s pitch dark in here.”

Several hours later the bird lightened its load and Dandelion found herself buried in a bird deposit. “This is it – the absolute worst, ” sighed Dandelion. “I’ve been torn from my home, abandoned by my mother, abused, battered, and bitten, and now here I am, alone in a strange place and in deep poop!” So Dandelion relinquished all she had known and held dear. She resigned herself to what is and let go of what she wished it to be. She unclenched her grip on life as she knew it and let it unfold as it would.

Time passed. After several months the sun returned to warm the land again. The bird deposit had dried and cracked and now it decomposed itself to become nutrient for the soil. Instead of being the worst of fates, it had been a protection for Dandelion from the harshness of the winter. Dandelion could see the light again. Then she felt a stirring within her. Her seedpod swelled and split open. One long tendril grew out and extended itself down from her into the dirt. Another stretched up into the air and leaves sprouted from it. As the days grew warmer, Dandelion grew bigger. Soon she was a strong and healthy plant with a deep taproot and many lush green leaves.

Summer came and Dandelion began to feel a new stirring. Up from her center grew a stalk. On that stalk grew a crown with sepals and many little petals. She opened the sepals and discovered to her delight a crown of hundreds of little yellow petals basking in the sun. She fed them every day and brought them water to drink. She held them high so they could receive as much sun as possible. They grew and swelled with pride in their bright yellow finery. Every night Dandelion closed her sepals around her daughters in protective embrace. She was very happy.

One day the air turned chill and Dandelion noticed that the days were growing shorter. She knew what was coming. She released the special hormone that triggered seed and parachute formation and fed it to her daughters. She continued to protect them as long as she was able, but at last her sepals would not respond any longer. She recalled how once before she had let go of home and mother and all that she had loved and held dear, and now she knew it was time to let go again. She remembered her mother’s last words about the cycle of all things and she was prepared now for the next turning of the cycle.

The wind began to blow. One by one she felt her daughters plucked from her crown. She knew what they would face but she was confident also in their future and that they would be reborn and become mothers in their own right. She knew that they would have petals of their own and that the cycle of all things would renew as it always had and as it always would. One of her daughters, however, was still holding on to her crown tenaciously and repeating, “I won’t leave you, mother! I won’t leave you!”

And the mother sighed and said, “Dandelion, let me tell you a story

Dandelion Root Coffee

Dandelion Root Coffee




  1. Find dandelions which should be easy. The best plants are at least two years old because big roots are the best. Autumn is a good time to harvest as they have been storing nutrition in the roots all summer.
  2. Dig up dandelion roots using a narrow trowel or you can use a shovel to loosen the roots. If there is not enough in your lawn, go to a country place where weed killers are not used. Best not to go to city parks as they often do use weed killers.
  3. Soak the roots in water to loosen the soil.
  4. Wash the dandelion roots to remove all of the soil; you can use a vegetable brush.
  5. Then rinse them well.
  6. Cut the roots off just below the tops. Save the flowers and leaves.

The leaves are nutritious; they can be steamed or small amounts added to a salad. The flowers can be made into dandelion syrup and pancakes.


  1. Rinse the roots well outside to get rid of most of the soil.
  2. Slice the roots into sections.
  3. Chop up the roots coarsely.
  4. Spread the chopped roots thinly on cookie sheet.
  5. Roast in at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 hours.*
  6. They are ready when the roots are dark brown the colour of coffee beans. Take care not to burn them.
  7.  Store roasted roots in an airtight container in a very cool place until you are ready to make dandelion coffee.
  8.  Grind them up in a coffee grinder and brew them just like you would with coffee grounds.
  9.  2 Tbsp of grounds for 3 cups off beverage.
  10.  Add the grounds to simmering water and simmer while covered for 7–15 minutes.
  11.  Serve with your choice of milk (almond, rice, soy, cows, goats) and sweetener of your choice.

* Alternatively you can dry roast the dandelion root after it is fully dry and chopped in a frying pan (cast iron pan is best) until it has become dark brown

Eating Invasives: Delicious or Dangerous?

by The Nature Conservancy

By Matt Miller, The Nature Conservancy

Warm spring days evoke a strong memory of my grandmother. She’s hunched over the yard, seemingly picking randomly at the grass. Her short stature and rapid movements give the appearance of a dervish. She grips at a plant, plucks and plops it into the bucket, then moves a short distance away to resume her harvest.

My grandmother collected dandelions, a spring bounty she served with a bacon dressing. The bitter greens were not unlike spinach or kale, bitter yet tasty. My grandfather used the flowers to make a potent wine.

This time of year, I so often encounter dandelions shriveled from hefty doses of herbicide. Recalling my grandmother, it seems a waste: here are delicious, nutritious greens that could be providing some free meals. Instead, they’ve become toxic reminders of the so-called “war on weeds“—the scorched earth approach to invasive control favored by both surburban lawn owners and conservationists.

Why aren’t we instead looking at some non-native, invasive species as a sustainable source for fresh, local food?

The idea is popular. Books like Jackson Landers‘ upcoming Eating Aliens encourage local foodies to eat such invasives as iguanas and nutrias. Marine conservationists have launched campaigns to encourage restaurants to carry lionfish, a species devastating coral reefs. Even governments have urged their citizens to eat non-native gray squirrels (in Britain) and camels (in Australia).

As history shows, people can certainly eat their way through populations of species. As such, eating invasives doesn’t only provide good food, it’s good conservation.

Or is it?

An upcoming paper by ecologist Martin Nunez and others to be published in Conservation Letters, the journal of the Society of Conservation Biology, encourages skepticism to this approach. In the paper, they argue that encouraging people to eat invasives may have unintended consequences. There’s a real risk, the authors argue, that people will start actually liking said invasives.

Entrepreneurs could develop markets for them; hunters could enjoy pursuing them. Invasives could become a part of the local culture. As a review in Conservation Magazine points out, native Hawaiians often oppose eradication measures for non-native pigs because pig hunting and eating is so clearly linked to their culture.

I can relate: On a recent weekend, my friends and organic gardeners Clay and Josie Erskine asked me to their farm to hunt the non-native (in Idaho) wild turkeys that had begun raiding their gardens. As we looked across their farm, ring-necked pheasants ran from the kale patch. Valley quail called from literally every corner of the property.

“Every one of them is a non-native species,” Josie sighed. “And they’re all absolutely devastating to vegetable farmers like us.”

Non-native quail, pheasants and turkeys have a constituency, though. Membership organizations advocate for their conservation. Landowners can receive government funding for practices that largely benefit these birds.

I reluctantly admit, as a non-native gamebird hunter, I would oppose any effort to eliminate these species.

Could campaigns to eat kudzu or camels or carp actually have the reverse effect? Could such campaigns lead to people protecting or spreading them?

It bears serious thought.

The risks need to be recognized. So, too, do the benefits.

Intensive invasive species control poses risks of its own. With its war metaphors and scorched earth campaigns, invasives eradication often requires hefty doses of toxic chemicals. And just as often, weeds or invasive animals still flourish. Aside from cases on small islands such as Santa Cruz, complete eradication is usually impossible.

Recognizing dandelions as a food source will not eradicate the plant. But spraying dandelions doesn’t, either.

In many ways, eating invasives is not a control measure so much as it is a new way of interacting with non-native species. Through eating them, they become part of our environment rather than “enemies.” And because they’re prolific and abundant, they make ideal sustainable, low-carbon, local food sources.

Despite our best efforts, invasive species already thrive in our midst. Is serving them for dinner really going to make them even more prevalent?

Doubtful. These species are here to stay. It’s time to recognize them as a truly sustainable and abundant food source. I’ll take the fried iguana served over a bed of dandelion greens, please.

Matt Miller is a senior science writer for The Nature Conservancy. He writes features and blogs about the conservation research being conducted by the Conservancy’s 550 scientists. Matt previously worked for nearly 11 years as director of communications for the Conservancy’s Idaho program. He serves on the national board of directors of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. An avid naturalist and outdoorsman, Matt has traveled the world in search of wildlife and stories.


c. 2002, Susun S Weed

Calling it stomach ache. The stomach (fortunately) does not ache. Usually when people say their stomach aches, they mean they have a gas pain. Gas pain can be severe pain. My friends who work in emergency rooms say you wouldn’t believe how many people come in for what turns out to be gas pain.
Herbalists, myself included, see heartburn as a lack of HCL (hydrochloric acid) in the stomach, instead of the prevalent opinion, that it is caused by too much acid. So instead of trying to turn off production of HCL (as drugs attempt to do), herbalists seek herbs that increase HCL, such as dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). In my book Healing Wise I devote an entire chapter to dandelion, with lots of recipes and ideas on how to use it.
You can use any part of dandelion: the flowers make dandelion wine, you can cook the greens, or eat them in salad, you can even cook the root, or make a vinegar with it (my favorite), or tincture it. Some people make a coffee substitute from roasted dandelion root. Any way you take it seems to work. (A standard dose would be 10-20 drops of the root tincture taken at the beginning of the meal.) Dandelion, and its friend chicory (Cichorium intybus), which is a fine substitute should you have access to one and not the other, are true tonics. That is, the more you take them, the less you need them. You don’t have to keep taking this remedy forever. After 3-6 weeks you’ll find you need it less and less.
In Europe it is customary to take bitters before a big meal. Most mild bitters, such as yellow dock (Rumex crispus), cronewort/mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), gentian (Gentiana lutea), barberry (Berberis vulgaris), and Oregon grape are liver tonics and digestives. They aid in digestion, and decrease risk of heartburn, by increasing production of both HCL and bile.
A few more tips for those who suffer from heartburn:
~ Eat less at each meal
~ Stay upright after eating; no lounging around or sleeping
~ Avoid eating late at night
~ Reduce the amount of coffee you drink
~ Don’t overdo it with the orange juice, either
~ Use slippery elm lozenges (available in health food stores) for immediate relief from heartburn
The herbs that increase HCL in the stomach, such as dandelion, also decrease ulcers, which are the result of a bacterial infection. When stomach acid is increased, that bacteria has a harder time of it and is less likely to cause ulcers.
Amusing isn’t it that medical science says “OK, there must be a mind/body connection, because gastrointestinal ulcers are caused by stress”; only to find out what my herbal teachers taught me long ago: bacteria cause ulcers.
Here’s one way to kill that bacteria (besides taking drugs): Get a food grater with a very fine grating side. Grate a large potato as finely as possible. Into another bowl, grate ¼ to ½ of a cabbage. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes, until liquid starts to collect in the bottom of the bowls. Use your hand, or something hard, to press and squeeze the potato until it is dry. Throw away the pulp and keep the liquid. Repeat with the cabbage. Don’t use a juicer. There are plant starches that you don’t get when you use a juicer. A food processor is ok.
Put the liquids in separate jars in the refrigerator, taking 1-3 tablespoonfuls 2-3 times a day. The more severe the symptoms, the larger and more frequent the dose would be. I expect symptomatic relief within 36-48 hours. But this remedy is safe to take for weeks at a time if needed.
If you can’t make the potato liquid, you can buy potato starch and mix it with water. Instead of the cabbage liquid, you could buy coleslaw. It isn’t the same as grating the potato and the cabbage, but it is better than nothing. And even if it doesn’t work as fast, if that is what is available to you, use it.
To me, this means gas pain. Herbs that relieve gas pain are called “carminatives” because they make you “sing” (carmen). Many aromatic herbs are carminatives, especially the seeds of members of the Apiaceae family including dill seed, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, anise seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds. Just put a big spoonful in a cup, cover well with boiling water, steep five minutes, sweeten if you like, and drink.
Ginger is another readily-available carminative. Especially warming to the guts. You can make a tea with powdered ginger, or use up to a tablespoon of fresh ginger per cup of water for a strong brew. Ginger works best sweetened with honey. NASA found it would counter the nausea of space-sickness. You can also buy crystallized or candied ginger to take traveling with you.
The fastest remedy for gas pain is two capsules of acidophilus. I expect pain relief in 5-10 minutes. And I don’t pay much attention to the expiration date on it. I keep mine in the refrigerator, and use them so rarely that I often have a bottle for ten years – and they still work.
Eating yogurt helps prevent gas pain, and can be used as a remedy, but it is not as fast as the acidophilus. A quart of yogurt a week is a good goal. And buy plain yogurt. No need to pay a fancy price for white sugar and poor quality fruit. Add maple syrup or honey and fruit of your choice, fresh or frozen at home. Make your own fantasy yogurt creation.
And the bitter tonic herbs mentioned above are also excellent allies to take long-term if you have frequent gas pains.
When I was in Spain I often had to eat late at night. Then I would take a sip of their very strong coffee, served in tiny cups. It had just the right amount of push to get that food into my digestive tract and still allow me to fall asleep at a reasonable time.
But most people in America drink coffee in the morning on an empty stomach. Might this be one reason so many are in such digestive distress? Instead of coffee, try this:
~ Put one ounce by weight of dried peppermint leaf in a quart jar and fill to the top with boiling water.
~ Cap tightly and allow to steep for 4-8 hours. (OK to let it steep while you sleep.)
~ Strain the plant material out after the allotted time, squeezing it well.
~ Then drink the liquid: hot or cold, salty or sweetened, with milk or whiskey or what have you.
~ Refrigerate what you don’t drink then. This will stay good in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Peppermint helps move the intestines and make you feel really awake, just like coffee. I would not use it if someone were feeling nauseated, as it tastes vile on the way back out.
(See above)
With dandelion, you often see results in the first 24 hours.
(See above)
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 90% of the health care given on any day is given in the home by the woman of the home. Just by cooking dinner a woman can heal her family and keep them healthy. She can protect her husband’s heart by using lots of garlic. And protect his libido by serving less soy.
Many Americans have food phobias. Think about how many people are frightened of drinking milk. How many won’t eat bread. I go into the health food store to get bread and there are loaves with no flour, and those with no yeast, and those without wheat, and I wonder where all the bread has gone.
We have a national history of food phobias, starting with Graham (inventor of the healthy graham cracker), continuing with Kellogg (of breakfast flake fame), and right into the modern day’s current fads (no fat? no carbs? all protein? all raw?). Not too much has really changed. More and more people are learning about herbal medicine, but I am sure many of them think it is difficult and arcane. They may be unaware that herbal medicine is the medicine for the people, of the people, and by the people.
I specialize in safe, food-like herbs. I prefer them to drug-like herbs. The remedies I have suggested here are as safe as foods, taken in food-like quantities. When herbs are powdered and encapsulated, they can be dangerous. They are more like a drug and you have to be more careful. I use herbs because they aren’t drugs.
Beans! The magical fruit. So good for us, but so hard on the guts. And even worse when they are soy beans. The gas people get from tofu and tempe and soy beverage is outrageous.
From regular beans, try this simple five-step approach – guaranteed to reduce how much you “toot”
(i) Soak your beans overnight in a generous amount of cold water. Add a piece of wakame or kombu if desired.
(ii) Rinse beans thoroughly in cold water (retain seaweed).
(iii) Cover beans with fresh cold water, add retained seaweed, and cook until tender.
(iv) Cool.
(v) Reheat beans to serve.
Yes, I believe all peppers are upsetting to the digestive tract. I suggest avoiding black pepper and cayenne, jalapeno and all others if you are prone to heartburn, have frequent gas pain, or suffer from irritable bowel or even simple diarrhea.
Green Blessings!
Susun Weed

Herb Use in Urban Witchcraft

Herb Use in Urban Witchcraft

Author: Elevander

Herbs play an integral role in Witchcraft and Wicca, whether it is in incense, natural healing, spellcraft or in ritual food, and they can literally be found all around us. But what about in the city? Practitioners living in the city may be forgiven for feeling out of touch with the harvesting and use of herbs, particularly if they do not have a garden or green space of their own. This is understandable, but as I myself have discovered; where there is a will there is a way! So I have developed my own methods of gathering and using herbs, some are traditional and some are adapted to suit modern life. Hopefully, this article will help others wherever they live to bring the power of herbs into their home.

First of all, there are some basic ground rules to follow when harvesting herbs:

1. Never take more than you need
2. Take care not to damage or disturb other plants and wildlife in the area
3. Do not take more than one third of an individual plant’s growth, or anything from very young plants that may not recover.
4. Be safe. If it is a secluded or out of the way place you are going to, then be sure to let someone know where you are going.
5. Always use areas that are public, or that you have permission to be in. Do not trespass on private property.

The first thing to consider is where you can find herbs. The truth is that you can find them everywhere. Many of the roadside trees have their uses (for example, the Hawthorn, crat gus oxyacantha, is a sacred tree closely associated with the Goddess, and is used in rituals as well as for protection and fertility magick) . Garden ‘weeds’ are often incredibly useful (Dandelion, taraxacum officinale, can be used for psychic and divinatory purposes. Dock, rumen obtusifolius, for protection, or Avens, geum urbanum, has a wide range of protective uses and can repel or guard against negativity) .

A wide variety of herbs can be found in natural areas of city parks, on commons, waste-ground, and of course areas of countryside. Once you have an idea of where to look, you need to have an idea of what to look for. In terms of magickal and remedial use, there are a good many books that have been written on the subject, a few of which I have included in the bibliography. These will give you an idea of what herbs can be used, what parts of the plant are needed and what they can be used for.

In practical terms it is important to be able to correctly identify the trees, plants and herbs you are looking for. I suggest first having a look through one or several of the listed books to get an idea of what you can, or think you may like to use. Once you have a rough idea in your head, purchase a good, detailed identification guide on native plants and trees. Some plants look very similar to others, and while we all may recognize a dandelion or a buttercup, eyebright or skullcap may feel more obscure. Armed with your guide and a notebook, go to your chosen area (s) and look closely at what is there. What seems like a patch of grass with a few weeds may actually turn out to be a valuable resource. Make a note of all the plants and trees that you find, perhaps making a note of where to find it if the name rings a bell from your earlier research.

If the area is large, or there are several, then it may take a few visits to get a good idea of what you can find there. Also, remember that the natural world is constantly changing, and so there may be different plants at different times of year, and whether you can harvest seeds, fruit or leaves will also be dependant on the season, so renew your research regularly. When you have done this you will be able to review your list of what you need against what is available to you. Then you are ready to harvest.

Being properly prepared before you set off will ultimately save you time in the long run. You will need some sort of container to carry the harvested herbs in. Ideally it should be made of a natural material, but don’t worry if you have to resort to a carrier bag. You will also need your notebook, identification guide, working knife or boline, and offerings to leave in payment of what you have taken (Common offerings are gemstones, a few grains of salt, a pinch of tobacco, or a hair from your head) . A key part of harvesting herbs is in the method by which you do so. The herb has within it the innate abilities for which we use it, but these can be strengthened and amplified by our own intent as we work with them, and the plant should always be harvested in a way that is respectful to the plant and the earth for the sacrifice it has given us. A generalized harvesting method is described here:

• Locate the desired plant or tree.
• Cup your hands around the herb and take a moment to clear your mind, and connect with the energy field of the plant.
• Say these or similar words aloud or in your head; it is intent not volume that matters: “Hail tree/plant/flower of [name of herb] I ask that I may harvest some of your growth/flowers/fruit/seeds in the service of the Lady and Lord, and for the benefit of others”.
• If the plant’s energy feels willing, then harvest what you need using a sharp knife, and preferably using a single stroke. If the plant does not feel willing then do not take anything from it, either try again another day or move on to a different plant.
• Place your offering within the plant/tree or buried at the foot of it in the earth and say these or similar words: “I thank you and recognize your sacrifice, and leave this offering in payment for what has been taken and in honor of the earth”.
• The harvesting ritual is done.

The easiest and one of the most practical ways of storing your herbs is by drying them. Tie each herb individually in a bundle, or spread out on sheets of greaseproof paper, making sure you label them with the name, date, and location they were harvested from. Then either hang or place them in a warm (but dry) , dark place to dry out. On average this will take around two weeks, but keep checking on them. When they feel dry and crumbly to the touch then they are ready. At this point you can either store the parts whole or grind them to a powder using a pestle and mortar; it depends entirely on your preference and in what manner you will be using the herb. For instance, ground herbs are very useful when making non-combustible incenses, and so doing this beforehand will save time later. Store the herbs in glass jars (preferably opaque) away from sunlight, labeled with its information.

Each time you work with the herb (s) you should be concentrating on the properties you wish to empower and amplify within them. There are specific empowering rituals that can be used, but these are relatively easy to find or devise yourselves, so I will not devote time to them here. Herbs gradually lose their potency after harvesting; a general rule is that flowers can be kept for one year, while leaves, bark, fruits and seeds can be kept for two years. After this time any surplus should be returned to the earth and the stock replaced.

Another way to store your herbs is by infusing them within oil which can then be used for anointing etc. This is especially effective for flowers, but can be used for any herb. To do this, fill a jar with your chosen herb and add equal parts of olive and grapeseed oil making sure the herb is covered. Press out the air bubbles and store in a cool, dark place. For two weeks open the jar every few days to press out the air bubbles. Once this period has passed, seal and leave for a further four weeks before decanting into an opaque glass bottle and labeling.

The final area I wish to address is that of adaptation. Witchcraft has at its heart an ability to change and use whatever is available to the individual. Yes it’s nice to ‘do things properly’ but in an emergency you need to be able to utilize whatever is to hand, it’s no less effective, it’s simply more urgent. And so, on a smaller scale, can we be resourceful when it comes to ingredients. When looking over any spell or recipe etc. that contains items you do not have, ask yourself whether there is something you have that will do the same job. Consider what role or properties the ingredient is embodying and then review the properties of the herbs available to you; there may be a simple substitution you can make.

Grow your own herbs and plants to widen your options, use a plot in the garden or grow them in pots on windowsills if this is more suited to your lifestyle or circumstances. Find your local pagan/new age store or market stall and see what items they have to offer, they may even be able to order things for you if you request them. If there isn’t a stockist near you then try looking online, often stores in other cities will have a mail order service that you can utilize. Finally, at a pinch, you can buy dried herbs from the local supermarket or store. There are those in the Craft that say you must never do this because they won’t be effective, and to be fair there is some truth in this as you don’t know how long they have been there, and they won’t have been harvested in a ritual way, so I stress that this should probably be kept as a last resort. If you do choose to do this then make sure you empower the herbs properly and effectively, and use them relatively quickly as you do not know the time of harvest.

I hope that this article has been useful to people, and I welcome any feedback readers may have. So go out, experiment and explore the world you live in. Above all, have fun.

In love and light, blessed be



Beyerl, P. (1998) A Compendium of Herbal Magick, Phoenix Publishing, USA

Beyerl, P. (1984) The Master Book of Herbalism, Phoenix Publishing, USA

Cunningham, S. (1982) Magical Herbalism; the Secret Craft of the Wise, Llewellyn, USA

Gregg, S. (2008) The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants, Fair Winds Press, Singapore

Tonic for the Elderly

Drink this tonic daily and feel young again.

  • 1   tablespoon hawthorn berries to enhance the cardiovascular system and regulate blood pressure

  • 1   2 1/2 to 3 year-old echinacea root to enhance immunity

  • 1 teaspoon parsley root to support kidney function

  • 1   teaspoon licorice root, optional (not recommended for hypertension), ginger root may be substituted

  • 1   dandelion root to enhance bowel function

  • 1   tablespoon gotu kola leaves (fresh is best) or 1 tablespoon basil leaves or flowers.

Simmer hawthorn, echinacea, parsley, licorice, and dandelion in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes, covered.l Remove from heat and add gotu kola or basil. Steep, covered, for 10 more minutes. Strain and sip one cup daily.

Homemade Dandelion Syrup

Homemade Dandelion Syrup

posted by Melissa Breyer

I am wild about dandelions. Their greens deliver a fleeting sweetness at the first nod of spring (before succumbing to a load of bitterness) and inspired me to write about harvesting and eating them a few weeks ago, followed by a recipe for Cream of Dandelion Soup. So next up, I thought, I just have to make dandelion wine. I’ve tackled homemade paper and found making butter to be effortless, how hard can dandelion wine be?

Well. After reading about secondary fermentation vessels and yeast varieties and fermentation traps, I thought, uhmm, actually, I think it was dandelion syrup that I wanted to make.

Dandelion syrup can be used in many ways, on top of pancakes or plain yogurt, anywhere you use a sweetener, really, you name it. I started imagining dandelion cocktails come summer; homemade dandelion ice cream sweetened with dandelion syrup and speckled with dandelion petals; dandelion this and dandelion that. Dandelion everything.

In this country, dandelions abound–yet go unloved by most. I will spare you my conspiracy theories about the defamation of the dandelion; this rant includes evil-genius chemical companies, the accidental discovery of phenoxy type herbicides in the 1940s and the need to find a public enemy (that would be the dandelion) to ensure a long and profitable demand for the new herbicidal product.

Anyhow, the Roundup parade isn’t marching around my neck of the woods in Brooklyn. Here, the dandelions earnestly shimmy up through sidewalk cracks and inhabit even the most desolate patches of soil, which is really so heartening. This would all seem a great harbinger for my dandelion syrup endeavor. However, urban foraging has its own set of considerations, which include dogs and their lifted legs, roadside exhaust and the possibility of rodent poison. Which all kind of suck the charm right out of it. As chance would have it though, there is a large lawn at a nearby high school that is wonderfully unruly and thankfully untreated with chemicals. It is being organically planted with vegetable beds by the students, and the grass was rampant with dandelions. I asked, they said, “uhmm yeah, sure lady, take ‘em.” And take I did, 100 of them.

Once at home, my daughters and I, hands sticky with bright golden pollen, plucked off the petals and had a bowl of the loveliest plant matter: Soft, downy almost, and redolent with the scent of asparagus and carnations. What an oddly endearing base for a syrup.

So, dandelion syrup. I have long been intrigued by it—it’s at once kind of down-home American as well as cool French granny. It is a basic herbal infusion made into a simple syrup. I felt like I didn’t want to boil the bejeezus out of the blossoms, so I just brought them to a simmer and let them soak overnight. The puzzle for me was what sweetener to use. Traditionally white sugar is used, but white sugar lands last on my list of happy sweeteners. So, I played around with some other alternatives as well, all with quite different results.

• White sugar made a syrup with a faint taste of vanilla and very slightly nutty, it was really just mostly sweet and somewhat plain.

• Sucanat, one of my favorite sweeteners, was, as I expected, too heavy in flavor to let the subtle dandelion taste shine through. That said, it was very interesting; like an herbaceous molasses.

• Honey has that smooth edge that became more pronounced after simmering. I used a mild clover honey and the result was like a somewhat spicy and grassy honey.

• Agave syrup worked beautifully because it is such a clean-tasting sweetener—the syrup made with agave was sweet and clean, with bright green undertones.

So pick your dandelions, pick your sweetener and make some syrup. Many recipes call for lemon, which gives it a little kick of citrus. Suit yourself.


100 dandelion flowers, or 1 and 1/2 cups petals
1 cup sweetener (see above)
3 cups water
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

1. Remove the petals from the sepal (the sepal consists of the small tight leaves that extend from the stem and grasp the flower). This takes a while to get the hang of, but gets much quicker as you go along. Be sure to not allow any green into the petals, it will add bitterness to the syrup.

2. Place the petals in a medium pot and cover with 3 cups water and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit overnight.

3. Strain dandelion water into a bowl, pressing on the flowers with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid.

4. Return water to pot and add sweetener, and lemon juice if using, and simmer over low heat until thickened.

5. Allow to cool, and pour into a clean jar or bottle. Store covered in refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups

Herb of the Day for 4/1 is Dandelion

Herb of the Day


Dandelion is a hardy perennial salad weed originating from Eurasia. Weed killers were invented for herbs like this. As a culinary herb, the leaves are an excellent blood tonic and diuretic. The roots can be roasted and brewed as coffee. Let the dandelion live near fruit trees and it will help them produce more fruit. Just don’t pull it up–it is a non-allergic lawn cover that blooms, perfect for xeriscaping.