Headache Salve

I had a migraine today, so decided to share one of my remedies with you guys today.  While it shouldn’t be the sole replacement for medicine, it really does help with your headaches.

Ingredients

½ Tsp of Pine (you can gather it from the ground)

½ Tsp of Peppermint

½ Tsp of Lemon Balm

2 cups of Olive, Almond, or Sunflower Oil

⅓ cup Beeswax

Peppermint Essential Oil

Jar/Tin

Instructions

  1. Put the oil in a pan and set the stove on low; you want it warm but not simmering (if simmering it’ll cause the oil to go bad faster)
  2. Add the herbs in.  If you have an empty tea bag or muslin bag to put them in, then do so as then you won’t have to strain the oil.
  3. Let this mixture sit for three hours on low heat
  4. Strain herbs out of oil (or remove the tea/muslin bag)
  5. Add beeswax to pot and add oil back in
  6. Wait for the wax to melt, then pour concoction into the jar or tin
  7. Add essential oil
  8. Let cool/harden (putting it into the fridge speeds up the process)
  9. Rub on temples (side of the head) when your head hurts

~Elyce

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Healing Salve

This is one of my favorite salves, I use it for chapped skin, lips, and cuts.  Since it contains St. John’s Wort, it’ll also keep away faeries.  It also contains comfrey, which makes the injury close faster, so make sure you clean the injury before using this.

Ingredients

½ Tsp of St. John’s Wort

½ Tsp of Comfrey

½ Tsp of Plantain Leaf

½ Tsp of Calendula

2 cups of Olive, Almond, or Sunflower Oil

⅓ cup Beeswax

Essential Oil of Your Choice

Jar/Tin

Instructions

  1. Put the oil in a pan and set the stove on low; you want it warm but not simmering
  2. Add the herbs in.  If you have an empty tea bag or muslin bag to put them in, then do so as then you won’t have to strain the oil.
  3. Let this mixture sit for three hours on low heat
  4. Strain herbs out of oil (or remove the tea/muslin bag)
  5. Add beeswax to pot and add oil back in
  6. Wait for the wax to melt, then pour concoction into the jar or tin
  7. Add essential oil
  8. Let cool/harden (putting it into the fridge speeds up the process)
  9. Use on light cuts/scrapes or chapped skin/lips

~Elyce

Tea

The second most widely consumed beverage in the world (after water), tea originally comes from China.  More than just “hot leaf juice” (thanks Zuko from The Last Airbender), these beverages are extremely healthy.  With more than six different kinds of tea, there’s a wealth of drinks to choose from.

Black Tea: Helps with heart and oral health, high in antioxidants which strengthen the immune system, promotes healthy bones, lowers risk of cancer and diabetes, good for people with high cholesterol.  Includes: Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast

Herbal Tea: A mixed bag of flavors, herbals teas don’t actually have one set of health benefits.  Rather, they draw from the herbs that make them up.  A lot of herbal teas include not only what herbs are used in them, but what they’re good for, like stress relief.  Includes: Peppermint tea, Lavender tea, and Chamomile tea

Red Tea: Good for allergies, insomnia, headaches, hypertension, weak bones, asthma, premature ageing, and eczema.  These teas do not contain caffeine, so they’re the perfect late night drink.  Includes: Ginger, Chai, and Hibiscus

Green Tea: This tea helps people with managing diabetes, cholesterol, and heart disease.  It’s also a really good oral health tea as not only does it help dental hygiene, drinking it can actually whiten your teeth.  It’s also antibacterial. If it’s applied to the skin it can help reduce wrinkles.  Includes: Gunpowder tea, Hot green tea, Cold green tea

Oolong Tea: This tea is good for managing heart disease and diabetes, providing antioxidants, lowering cholesterol, and keeping skin and bones healthy. While it’s very helpful with weight management, it also has a high caffeine content, so be aware of this.  Includes: Yellow tea, White tea, Jasmine tea.

Chai Tea: Contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory agents in it.  It supports digestive health and is considered a healthy alternative to coffee.  It does have caffeine in it, so don’t drink this right before bed.  Includes: Chai tea latte, Bubble tea, Milk tea

~Elyce

A Rose by Any Other Name

In honor of Valentine’s Day (and all the discount candy tomorrow), I’ve decided to cover roses for today.  The classic romantic flower, roses come in a rainbow of colors and each color has a different meaning.  While some roses are solid colors, others have multiple colors within them.  These draw in the meanings for those specific colors.

Red: Love, desire, lust, romance, beauty, perfection, passion, courage, respect

White: Purity, charm, innocence, new beginnings, weddings, remembrance, secrecy, silence

Pink: Admiration, grace, gentleness, sweetness, joy, happiness, sympathy

Yellow: Joy, warm feelings, happiness, cheerful, friendship, welcome back

Lavender: Love at first sight, wanting to continue a relationship

Orange: Enthusiasm, energy, excitement, desire, passionate romance, sincerity

~Elyce

Elderberry Syrup

This recipe is great when cold or flu season comes around.  Just a teaspoon a day will help keep colds away and one every three to four hours will help banish a current cold.

Ingredients

½ cup of dried elderberries (1 cup of fresh or frozen)

5 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon of ginger

2 cups of water

1 cup of honey

Directions

  1. Combine the elderberries, water, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger in a small sauce pan
  2. Bring water to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer
  3. Leave covered for about 20-30 minutes or until the water is reduced by half
  4. Strain into a bowl and add honey

This syrup is good for a couple weeks, but can also be frozen to last longer.  Just remember, if you have an autoimmune disorder, such as Aids or HIV, do NOT take this.  Elderberries affect the immune system and aggravate symptoms for these conditions.

~Elyce

St. John’s Wort

The anti-faerie herb, St. John’s Wort is a protective agent that derives its name from the time of year it’s harvested.  Traditionally harvested on June 24th, or St. John’s Day, it’ been used as a religious icon to ward off evil for many years.  It’s also very poisonous to livestock in large doses, leading to increased heart rate and breathing.  This, coupled with the vast amount of side effects that can come from taking St. John’s Wort, lead me to wonder if this should be counted as an herb, or a poison.

Medically, St. John’s Wort is one of the most frequent herbs used for depression.  However, this is for mild or moderate depression, severe depression (especially thoughts of suicide) should be treated by a licensed physician.  It’s also being used to treat sciatica, or numbness in the lower back and runs down the legs and rheumatic pain.  People will also use it on wounds and burns due to the anti-inflammatory properties.  Studies are currently being done on how St. John’s Wort can help with alcoholism and HIV (though it currently reacts badly with most other medications).

There are some side effects associated with St. John’s Wort, so read carefully before you use this herb.  Common effects include confusion, fatigue, dry mouth, stomach issues, and headache.  It should also not be taken by women actively taking birth control as it lowers estrogen and the effectiveness of the pill.  For people with schizophrenia, it has been linked to an increase in psychosis and consuming the herb is not recommended for people with bipolar disorder.  Combining the herb with an anti-depressant could lead to an increase in serotonin, which can result in muscle spasms or even a coma.  If you are on any medication, check with your doctor before taking this herb to ensure the consumption there of will not be hazardous to your health.

Drawing from the metaphysical side of things, you can wear St. John’s Wort to ward off colds and the flu.  Carrying it can also strengthen convictions and courage, so carry some when you’re facing nasty situations.  If placed under a pillow, it will bring about prophetic, possibly romantic dreams.  As a protection herb, it acts as a barrier against all kinds of dark magic, spirits, faeries, lightning, and fire.  Do be careful when burning it though, as the smoke can cause the same side effects as ingesting.

~Elyce

Garlic

Garlic is one of the most useful and versatile plants, both in cooking and medicine.  Both a vegetable and an herb, garlic is in a class off of its own.  Closely related to the onion and the leek (if you couldn’t tell by the smell), it’s been used for over seven thousand years by humanity.  Originally from Asia, it’s a staple in the Mediterranean and Ancient Egyptians used it both in medicine and food.  There are many different types that grow all over the world now, from the wild and crow garlic that grow in Britain to the meadow garlic in America and the single bulb, or pearl garlic that is native to the Yunnan province in China.

Culinary wise, garlic is used all over the world to help flavor dishes.  The bulb is the main part of the plant used in cooking, which are normally divided into multiple sections known as cloves (except for the single bulb varieties).  Cloves can be used either raw or cooked and have a very distinct flavor.  Some people eat the flowers and the leaves of the plant, though the flavor from these is not nearly as strong as the bulbs.  Green garlic that is picked prematurely and used in cooking, while it has the same flavor, lacks the spiciness.  In Southeast Asia and China, green garlic is commonly used in stir-fry, hotpots, and soups.  A papery skin covers the bulb and this should be thrown away rather than eaten.  Oils within the garlic are also used in flavoring everything from vegetables to meat.  

Medically, garlic is extremely useful and has been used by humans for thousands of years.  Nutrition wise, garlic is chalk full of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, vitamin B, selenium, fiber, calcium, vitamin C, copper, iron, and potassium.  It’s also used to help with blood pressure and heart issues, including heart attacks, cholesterol issues, and hardening of the arteries.  Some people also use it to treat different types of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer, and it’s also used to treat enlarged prostates.  Garlic can also be used to treat fevers, colds, menstrual issues, stomach and joint point, and whooping cough.  Used externally, garlic oil has been used to treat fungal infections, corns, and warts. In 2015, scientists also discovered that garlic was an integral ingredient in an Anglo-Saxon eye remedy that is actually capable of killing antibiotic resistant MRSA. The eye remedy was created by finely chopping garlic and another allium (onion or leek), crushing them in a mortar and pestle for two minutes, and then adding 25 milliliters of English wine (for the sake of the experiment, wine from a historic vineyard near Glastonbury was used). Then bovine salts are dissolved in distilled water and added to the mixture. The final step to create this remedy was found to be chilling it for nine days at four degrees Celsius.

Perhaps the most famous supernatural power that garlic has is the ability to keep vampires away, therefore falling into the protection category.  While Bram Stoker was the first author to use garlic’s repelling powers in a book, the belief is an ancient one.  Yet the question is, why would this simple vegetable turn away an undead terror?  There are a couple different beliefs about how this little herb gained its reputation.  The first being comes from garlic’s use as an insect repellent.  People believed that since mosquitoes drank blood and didn’t like garlic, that vampires, who also drank blood, therefore wouldn’t like garlic.  Since garlic is an extremely powerful antibiotic, the belief could also stem from the fact that in a lot of mythologies, the vampire infection was spread through a bite.  Garlic is also known throughout the world to repel evil, so vampires naturally fall into that category.  

Outside of vampires, garlic has other magical properties.  Drawing from it’s vast medical properties, garlic is good for health and healing spells.  It’s also used to invoke the goddess Hecate and as a charm for protection and purification.  It was used by the Ancient Egyptians as an offering to gods and the Roman soldiers ate it before a battle for strength and bravery (anyone who can eat a whole garlic clove is strong and brave to me).  If hung in the home, it will bring the family together, ward off evil, and keep your willpower strong.  It is also believed that if fresh garlic is rubbed across an ailing body part, it will absorb the illness, and then should be tossed into running water.  

~Elyce

Anglo-Saxon Eye Remedy Source:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-32117815

Ginger

Unlike the previous herbs I’ve talked about, the main part of ginger that is used is not the flowers or the leaves, but rather the root.  It’s believed to have originated in the Indian subcontinent, but no longer grows wild.  The Romans used it extensively in their meals.  It also became popular in England when it was brought over through the spice trade.  Its use is very common in Indian cuisine including in curries, teas, and coffees.  It’s also a very popular spice come December, where it’s used in gingerbread cookies and houses.  

Most people know how ginger helps in settling the stomach, I’ve used it enough for that in the past.  It also has a large variety of vitamins, containing Vitamin C, copper, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.  Hot ginger tea actually increases cardiovascular circulation as it releases gingerol and protease compounds.  Ginger is also very good for cancer patients as it not only acts as a protector against many forms of cancer and osteoarthritis pain, but it also helps lessen the effects of chemotherapy.

Magically, ginger draws in adventure and new beginnings.  Used in general spells, it will increase the energy and help things come to fruition faster.  If carried in an amulet or pouch, it promotes good health and protection.  It can also be used to consecrate an athame as it both energizes and strengthens the blade.  If the root is in the form of a human, it can be used as a very powerful poppet.  This herb is also important in Hoodoo, giving protection in addition to being used in money and love spells.  If kept under a pillow, it’ll help drive off nightmares, hag riding (hallucinatory sleep paralysis), and evil spirits.  

~Elyce

Rosemary

Connected with the goddess of beauty and the Virgin Mary, it is no wonder that this plant is so popular.  Originating in the Mediterranean, it’s a member of the mint family and this evergreen known for it’s light blue flowers.  The Greeks associated it with Aphrodite, believing that it draped around her when she first rose from the sea.  According to Christians, when the Virgin Mary was resting one day, she spread her blue cloak over a rosemary bush with white flowers.  These flowers then turned blue, earning the plant the name “Rose of Mary” or rosemary.

Mentally and physically, rosemary is a wonderful plant to add to your diet.  When taken regularly, it can help improve memory and reduce stress, thus improving people’s moods.  The stress relief can also be obtained by aroma therapy or applying rosemary oil to your skin.  Like many mints, rosemary is good for soothing upset stomachs and as a breath freshener.  It also helps boost the immune system and is extremely potent against bacterial infections.  Acting as a pain reliever, it can also help stimulate blood flow.  Rosemary is also a popular remedy for migraines and can help detox the body and improve skin health.  One important note, if you are allergic to other members of the mint family, you are probably allergic to rosemary as well.

When you take into consideration all the health benefits, it’s no wonder that it’s associated with healing and health spells.  Drawing from its connection with Aphrodite, it’s also used in love spells and potions (though using magic to affect someone else’s will is not a good idea).  Also used as a purification herb, if sewn into a sleep pillow, it will ward off nightmares and help improve memory.  This herb is also great for students, as wearing it will not only help improve your memory, but also help in most tasks that involved clear thinking.

~Elyce

Bay

While mint is my all time favorite herb, bay is the one that I use the most in my spells and witchcraft.  Whether whole leaves or powdered, I add it to a lot of the bottles and charms that I make.  The most common type of bay used is bay laurel and the leaves are used, both fresh and dried, to add flavor to any meal.  Unlike basil, the fresh bay leaves are actually less potent than the dried ones, reaching their peak of flavor a few weeks after drying.  This herb is commonly used in Mediterranean cooking, appearing in soups, stews, and meat dishes.  If you are cooking with whole bay leaves, make sure to remove the leaves before eating.  This is because even after cooking, the leaves remain hard and can scratch the digestive tract or cause choking.

Healthwise, the fresh leaves are chock full of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and folic acid, making them a wonderful addition to your diet.  Outside of the rich amount of vitamins, bay is also good for your digestive track as it stimulates both urination and vomiting, so it can be taken if you ingest something toxic.  Taken moderately, the chemicals actually help settle upset stomachs and bowels, and can even lessen the symptoms of Celiac’s disease.  A salve made from the essential oil can be applied to the chest to help ease respiratory conditions and chemicals in the leaf can help prevent cancer and help with cholesterol issues.  Mentally, the chemicals in bay lower levels of stress hormones in the body and gives relief from anxiety.

The reason why I use bay so much in my witchcraft and spells is because it’s an extremely strong protection herb.  As the bay laurel is sacred to Apollo, this herb is also associated with the sun and healing.  Also associated with wishes and fortune, a simple spell is to write your wish on a leaf and then burn it to bring that wish into fruition.  Burning it in your home also help purify the space, whether to get rid of negative energy or make the space yours.  Used in potions and spells, bay can help enhance psychic ability as well and can be placed into dream pillows to help bring about psychic dreams.

~Elyce

Sources: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/bay-leaves.html