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

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