Cramp bark

The term cramp bark is related to the properties of the bark’s ability to reduce smooth muscle tightness. It is called cramp bark as relieving this type of muscle tightness is most often associated with relieving women’s menstrual (period) cramps. However, this can also be used during pregnancy for cramps or pain and general muscle cramping. It is also known to ease headaches, arthritis pains, back pain, and as a cardiovascular tonic.

Cramp bark comes from the small shrub, Viburnum opulus, which grows in the northern half of the United States. Multiple species are native throughout the northern hemisphere. The twigs can be harvested in the spring to make tinctures and teas. Topically, cramp bark oil can be used to help relax muscles and restore blood flow to injured joints and surrounding tissues.

Parts Used:  Bark

Main Constituents: Bitter (viburnin), valeric acid, tannins, coumarins, saponins 

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Antispasmodic, astringent, cardiotonic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, mild sedative, anti-inflammatory

Energetics: Cooling & Drying

Dosage: For a tincture, take 1tsp 3-5 times daily as a relax and for nervous or muscular tension, or for pains affecting the digestive or urinary tract. For decoctions or strong teas, take 1 cup every 3-4 hours for period pain or colic. Can be used with other remedies for excessive menstrual bleeding. Teas can also be used to help with back pains and for arthritis relief.

Magickal Properties: This feminine plant associates with Saturn and the element of water. Also associated with the astrological sign of Capricorn. There isn’t much folklore surrounding cramp bark, what few references there are refer to women’s magic and protection.

Planet: Saturn

Element: Water

Rose

Roses have long been known for love and harmony, but many don’t realize all of the wonderful benefits that lay beneath the sweet scent of the flower. The flowers vary in color; Rose oil is extracted by steam distillation and is said to be good for the skin and soul.

Rose water has been used for centuries to aid in clarifying and toning skin; Essential oil can be used to lift your mood; Teas made from the petals also help in calming you when tense, and can help with high cholesterol.

Parts Used: Flowers, Essential Oil, Hydrosol

Main Constituents: Geraniol, nerol, citronellol, geranic acid

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Mild Sedative, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, reduces cholesterol levels, astringent.

Dosage: For Tincture; take 1 dose twice per day for nervous disorders, poor digestion, or to help lower cholesterol; For Essential Oil, add a few drops of rose oil to any lotion you use to help with dry or inflamed skin conditions, or add a few drops of Rose oil to a bath to ease depression, sorrows, or insomnia; Brew a tea, let it cool, and spray onto your face for a light skin toner; Drink the tea to help lower cholesterol when you can’t take the tincture, the tea also helps clarify your skin and aids in digestion.

Magickal Properties: Love, Clairvoyance, Fertility

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Folk Tales & Mythology

According to myth, the first roses did not have thorns. While Venus’ son Cupid smelled a rose, a bee came out and stung him on the lip. Venus then strung his bow with bees. She removed their stingers and placed them on the stems of the roses.

Myth also says that every rose was white until Venus punctured her foot on a thorny briar and some of the white petals were dyed red with her blood. Roses are also said to attract fairies to the garden.

In ancient Greece, the Rose was affiliated with the goddess Aphrodite. It is said that Rose bushes grew from the ground through Aphrodite’s tears and the blood of her dead lover, Adonis.

Meditation Ritual for a Sad Heart

This Meditation Ritual is something to do when your heart is aching. I did this one while I was grieving for my mother, and have used it often when I have lost a loved one; can be done when simply missing someone you haven’t seen in a while. I noticed when I did this, I saw my mother in dreams more often.

This meditation is best in a bath with rose petals and essential oil added; if you do not have a bath (like me) you can place in front of you, fresh rose petals in a bowl of water with a few drops of essential oil.

Light Rose incense; or, in a fire-proof bowl, burn a dried rose flower or petals.

Close your eyes and envision yourself sitting in a field of roses. Breathe in and out steadily, each time taking in the scent.

Imagine your loved one sitting in front of you. Their entire body glowing with a bright pink light. With each deep breath imagine that you are inhaling their light and as you exhale, you are returning it to them. Picture them smiling at you as you complete your breaths. They are happy, and here for you in every breath you take.

Be here with your loved one, as long as you deem necessary.

Slowly start to bring your awareness back and open your eyes.

You can collect any Rose petals you used, and bury them as an offering to your lost loved one.

Basil

Basil is one of the most popular herbs used in the kitchen. But this leafy herbaceous plant represents so much more than flavor! Basil is not only used as a food flavoring, but also in perfumery, incense, and herbal holistic remedies. Recent scientific studies have established that compounds the essential oil of basil plants possess potent antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.

Basil is used as an uplifting nervine for stress, low mood, anxiety, and poor memory and concentration. As with many nervines, Basil positively impacts the digestive system; it helps improve digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also eases indigestion, nausea, and intestinal spams, making this the perfect tea to drink after desserts or any heavy meals. It’s also used for respiratory conditions and is specifically indicated for excess mucus in the head and chest. Taken in a tea, this is helpful for colds, flu, and other respiratory infections.

Parts Used: Aerial Parts, leaves

Main Constituents: Volatile Oil, Flavoring

Energetics: Warming and Drying

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Alterative, analgesic, anticatarrhal, antiemetic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, galactagogue, nervine

Dosage: For infusions, pour 1 cup boiling water over 1-2tsp. dried basil and drink 1-3 servings throughout the day; For Tinctures, take 3 times per day.

Magickal Properties: Luck, Money & Abundance, Love, Peace, Purification & Greif.

Planet: Mars

Element: Fire

Basil Magick

Plant basil near the threshold of your home to repel negative entities and welcome friendly spirits. Plant just after a New Moon so that the Basil has time to absorb all the positive moon energy throughout the phases for strong roots.

Repel an unwanted love interest: Let a piece of Basil wilt under your bed to encourage their feelings for you to fade.

Burning Basil incense with a charged emerald crystal can encourage abundance and prosperity. No Incense? just burn dried basil in a fireproof bowl.

Add dried basil to a drawstring bag with some pennies to draw luck to your money or business matters.

History of Basil

There are now up to 150 different types of Basil, each with it’s own distinct flavor. While Basil has been around for about 5,000 years, the origin of the plant is up for debate. The most widespread belief is that it originated in either India or Asia and spread to the Mediterranean through the ancient spice trading routes.

Sweet basil, along with other basil and mint plants, belongs to the genus Ocimum which is derived from the Greek meaning “to be fragrant.” This is exceptionally true of the basil plant, which is often described as being very fragrant. The word basil itself, however, comes from the Greek word for “king,” thus associating it with wealth and royalty. Basil can be carried in your pockets to attract wealth or kept in cash registers or grown by the door to attract business. However, basil is more commonly associated with love than wealth and royalty.

Holy Basil, which is highly revered in India, is a sacred Hindu herb and is believed to be a manifestation of the Goddess Tulasi. According to legend, the god Vishnu disguised himself as Tulasi’s husband to seduce her. When Tulasi realized she had been unfaithful to her husband she killed herself. In some stories, Tulsai was a mortal named Vrinda who threw herself onto a funeral pyre after her husband’s death. In both cases, her burnt hair turned into Holy Basil (Tulsi). In both stories, Vishnu ultimately defied Tulasi’s wishes to die and declared she be worshiped by wives and would prevent said wives from becoming widows. As such, Holy Basil is the symbol of love, fidelity, eternal life, purification, and protection. Often times people swear over basil bushes to ensure they will tell the truth during court hearings.

The myth of Isabetta is one of importance when reading up on Basil. Isabetta was a young woman from a wealthy family who fell in love with a lower class man named Lorenzo. When Isabetta’s brothers discovered her secret, they lured Lorenzo into the woods where they killed and buried him. Lorenzo visited Isabetta in her dreams, informing her of her brothers’ deceit and asked that she give him a proper burial. Isabetta dug up his body, but didn’t have the strength to carry him back, so she cut off his head and took it home, and buried it inside a pot of Basil, watering it with her tears of grief. When her brothers discovered this, they took the pot and destroyed the evidence, assumingly by burning it. Isabetta dies of a broken heart shortly after. Click link here for full poem: https://www.bartleby.com/126/38.html

Catnip

Also knows as Catmint, this herb got its name due to the love and affection received by cats! Why do cats love this so much? When the leaves/flowers are bruised, it gives off a scent that is very similar to the pheromones exuded by a cat in heat. So, if you’re growing this at home, make sure to protect it from any cats that may …umm… attack it and ruin the leaves. Native to Mediterranean and European regions, it is now naturalized in many parts of the world.

Catnip is used for Digestive Disorders or feverish chills.

Parts Used: Aerial parts; Flowers, leaves

Main Constituents: Volatile Oils, Glycosides; Warming energetics

Dosage: For Infusions or teas, drink one cup three times per day for colds, flu, stomach issues/indigestion; For Tinctures, take up to 1tsp. three times daily with infusion/teas for headaches associated with digestive disturbance; alternatively, use 1-2 tsp. of tincture externally as a rub for arthritis

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Analgesic, anticatarrhal, antispasmodic, aperient, bitter, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, sedative.

Catnip relaxes muscle spasms, especially in the smooth muscles of the intestines. It opens the pores of the skin, promoting peripheral circulation, and stimulates sweating, which can be helpful in managing a fever.

Catnip also helps dissolve mucous, soothes inflammation of the mucous membranes, and it can be helpful in sinus or respiratory infections, and is especially helpful with the cold and flu.

Magickal Properties: Healing , Sleep, Tranquility, dreams, psychic ability, Love, Luck, Friendship, Happiness.

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Catnip is used to represent love and friendship. Grow near your home or hang over a door to attract good spirits and luck.

Historically known to give soldiers courage when chewed prior to battle.

Catnip can be burned with incense to help get rid of bad habits.

Catnip in History

It is said that the Egyptians grew this and gave it to their cats as a form of affection. (cat-birthday gift?)

The Romans regarded catnip highly and used it as a culinary herb and for medicines.

Catnip was introduced to America in the 18th century. Settlers took plant cuttings with them for food and medicinal purposes when they traveled to the New World and there is a recipe from Massachusetts 1712 that includes catnip in the list of ingredients. Native Americans also began to use catnip in their medicines and recipes when they came accross it.

Thursday is Request Day – Airship, Fox, Chickens,Butterfly, Rosary, Herb,  Dragonfly | Catnip plant, Vintage seed packets, Herbs

Lady’s Mantle

As the name entails, this herb is for the ladies; it helps with menstrual cramps, calms the uterine walls, and helps restore fullness to breasts after breastfeeding.

Its scientific name, Alchemilla vulgaris expresses how much this herb was revered by alchemists at the time of its discovery. Many alchemists and priests would collect juices from the leaves for healing properties.

Parts Used: Aerial; flowers, leaves

Main Constituents: Tannins, salicylic acid, saponins, phytosterols, volatile oil, bitter principle.

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Stringent, Menstrual regulator, digestive tonic, wound herb, anti-inflammatory.

Dosage:

Create an infusion by adding dried leaves to boiling water and straining. Drink 1 cup of tea up to 5 times per day for acute diarrhea or gastroenteritis, or to ease heavy menstrual bleeding period pains. This infusion could also be gargled to ease sore throats, laryngitis or as a mouthwash

Take 1-2ml of Tincture 3 times daily to regulate menstrual cycle, or take with St. John’s Wort to ease period pains.

Lady’s Mantle Through History

Lady’s Mantle is a perennial herb found in Europe, North America, and Asia that has been used medicinally since the Middle Ages. The word Alchemilla is a derivative of the Arab word Alkemelych, which means alchemy, and was named for the plant’s magical healing powers. An astringent that affects the production rate of enzymes in the pancreas, lady’s mantle is commonly recommended for treating diarrhea and stomach ailments. In folk medicine, lady’s mantle was also used to soothe infections of the mucous membranes of mouth and throat. The tea and extracts were also used as a bath additive to treat skin irritations and wounds. The leaf tea and dewdrops from the leaves of the living plant are most commonly employed to help female conditions such as menorrhagia, menopause, and painful periods.

Valerian

Valerian plant is known to help those who take it …relax, take a nap, and let loose. This plant focuses on the nervous system and can be used as a mild sedative. Be aware that most people do not like the smell of this flower; some claim it smells like sweaty socks!

Scientific name: Valeriana officinalis: The name is from Latin ‘valere which means to be strong or healthy.

Parts Used: Root, Rhizome, herb

Planet: Mercury

Element: Water

Main Constituents: Volatile oils, valepotriates, akaloids

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Sedative, hypnotic, nervine, antispasmodic, expectorant, diuretic, hypotensive, carminative, milldly analgesic.

Dosage: 

  • Soaked in cold water for up to 10 hours: drink 1 cup strained water/tea up to 3 times daily for anxiety, nervous tension or blood pressure related stress. Take 1 cup before bed for insomnia.
  • Tincture: take 1tsp (1-5ml) up to 3 times daily for nervous problems. Doses can vary between individuals. Sometimes high doses can cause headaches for some; so it’s best to start with small doses. If taking other forms of medication, check with your doctor prior to consuming this tincture. Will not usually cause drowsiness/grogginess unless you are also taking other medications.
  • Compress: soak a pad in a cup with maceration or tincture and apply to muscle cramps or abdomen during period pains and colic.

Magical Properties: Protection; purification; restfulness; calmness; grounding; love and harmony.

Valerian is a well-known relaxant and is useful when muscle tension combines with anxiety or sleep problems. It relaxes smooth muscle spasms and cramping.

Most of the benefits are stored within Valerian’s volatile oils. Many find the tea tastes disgusting and the smell is disgusting (…think gym socks, yuck!) but many will struggle through that smell and taste for it’s amazing benefits!

As Nature it ordain’d its own like hurt to cure,And sportive did herself to niceties inure.Valerian then he crops, and purposely doth stampTo apply unto the place that’s haled with the cramp

Poet Michael Dayton

Although it is a fairly safe species its use is not recommended for extended periods of time and it should be used with caution for those suffering from liver failure. Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, or children under the age of 12.

Valerian Through History

During medieval times in Sweden, many grooms wore Valerian to ward off the envy of elves on their wedding day, or leading up to their wedding days.

Most of us have heard the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Germany who played his flute and led the rats out of town forever. Many feel the Pied Piper must have been familiar with valerian and put it in his pockets or rubbed himself with it. Rats love the smell, and it may have been the valerian, not the music, that enticed the rats to follow him!

The Nordic goddess Hertha is said to have used valerian as a whip to encourage the stag she rode to greater speeds.

In magic, it was used in love potions, and in Sleep Pillows.

Some people claimed that if valerian was thrown where people were fighting, they would cease immediately and that it could be used to tame the wildest of beasts.

The ancients Greeks would hang bundles of valerian in their homes, especially in their windows, to keep evil entities from entering. The Celts believed hanging it their homes would keep lightening from striking.

In the wizard world of Harry Potter, valerian was believed to have soporific qualities and was given in teas to encourage sleep.

It was generally regarded as a feminine element. Its powers were believed to be love, sleep, purification, and protection.

In addition to a sleep aid, valerian has been used for anxiety, stress, to treat addictions, convulsions, gas, pain, hyperactivity, intestinal cramping, migraines, aggression, nervous exhaustion, coughs, epilepsy,  and the flu. And the list goes on and on…