Herbalism (also known as herbology or botanical medicine) is the practice of using plants for medicinal or therapeutic use. Herbs can be used in many different ways including; teas, tinctures, ointments or in a herbal bath, to name but a few.
Wiccans can use herbs not just for their medicinal properties, but for their magical use, because herbs hold the Earth’s energy in them. This energy can be drawn upon when herbs are used in spells.
Herbs can be used fresh, dried, or as an essential oil.
Growing your own herbs is a good way of having access to fresh herbs. The excess can be dried or frozen for future use. No garden? No problem, you can still grow herbs on a balcony or windowsill. Depending on the type, several different varieties of herbs can be grown in the same pot, such as rosemary and lavender. Harvest herbs in the morning before the heat of the day sets in.
If you can’t grow your own, you could go foraging for herbs. Take a course, or read a book, and go and explore the hedgerows. Just be careful to take only from land with the owner’s permission, to never completely strip an area of herbs, and to make sure you have enough knowledge to identify what you are picking correctly.
Dried herbs are useful in spells, teas and to bathe in. Drying is also an ideal way of making herbs available to you all year round. You can dry herbs yourself by hanging them upside down in small bunches. Make sure that air can circulate around them.
If you can’t grow or find herbs in the wild, then you can purchase them in many shops -supermarkets and health food shops will stock the most common herbs, and you can even buy them online (this handy 20-herb Starter Set would be a good choice for the beginner).
- Bath: Make a sachet, such as a hessian bag tied up with string, add in fresh or dried herbs and place in your ritual healing bath.
- Oils: You can buy pre-made oils, or make your own by placing fresh herbs in oil, letting them steep for a few days and then strain.
- Incense: Herbs can be burned for the scent, different properties, or as a ritual incense.
- Teas: You can drink different herbal teas for their different properties. Teas can be bought as pre made bags or loose leaf with a strainer. If you have fresh herbs they can be seeped in hot water to create a fresher tea.
- Charms and Sachets: Fill a small bag with herbs and use for its intended purpose.
- Spells: Herbs are used in various spells.
Here are some of my favourite herbs, their meanings and ideas for their use:
For protection and to avoid being hexed or jinxed.
- Place under your pillow to induce prophetic dreams.
- Scatter on the floor, then sweep up for protection.
- Carry to avoid evil.
For strengthening your powers.
- Carry echinacea to give you strength during difficult times.
- Place in a vase in your house to encourage prosperity for your household.
- Include echinacea in a spell or charm can to increase its effectiveness.
To promote energy, communication and vitality.
- To aid headaches, inhale the steam from the leaves placed in boiling water.
- Make into a floor wash to invite happiness and good fortune into your home.
For luck and to attract love. Prosperity wishes, use to attract money, use as an amulet for prosperity.
- Chamomile tea is a great relaxer.
- Use as incense to aid sleep or meditation.
- Add to a bath or use to wash your face and hair to attract love.
- Bathe children in chamomile tea to protect from the evil eye, useful in breaking curses cast against you.
For sleep, peace, love and purification.
- Burn lavender incense during meditation to help you relax and open your mind.
- Use in sleep pillows and bath spells.
- Hang lavender in your home, or carry a few sprigs in a sachet to bring love into your life.
Traditionally used in memory spells. Was known as ‘elf leaf’ and was once used to keep witches out.
- Use in love and lust incenses and potions.
- A tea of rosemary helps the mind to be alert.
Remember that herbs can be very powerful. Take care before using any herbs to read up on the safe way of using them and in what quantity. This is especially important if ingesting herbs, using when pregnant or using on children.
Gathering, growing and using you own herbs can be a great way of deepening your connection with the Earth. I hope you enjoy your journey.