Tag Archives: tea

I <3 Herbs……Chamomile

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s hard to believe but our Summer has been amazingly mild here.  As a matter of fact, it has been so cool at night that leaves are turning and even falling on some trees already!  Birds and critters like squirrels and chipmunks have changed their patterns, my gardens are looking more like early fall then late summer, and we’ve had the house opened up for days instead of running the AC.  All of which I love! Even my herbs have slowed down their growth, gone to seed etc.  *Post…..I wrote this a few days ago…it is now HOT and Humid and 90’s all week! 🙂  Gotta love Ohio 🙂

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Speaking of herbs, for the Sunday Stew this week, I wrote about the herb Chamomile. A really wonderful herb in so many ways.  To read the Stew just click on the Cauldron on the right side of the page here.  As per usual, part of my post is there and the entire post is here.  At the end of this post here, you’ll find a link to again print out the info, if you wish, for your BOS or herb book.

 

Chamomile

I have hesitated a bit to write about Chamomile. I know several people who can’t drink the tea or even use external products with chamomile due to allergic reactions. So I’m going to start off by saying this: If you are allergic to ragweed, daisies, marigolds, or mums…you may not be able to ingest chamomile. You also may not be able to use it externally. So use great caution if you’ve never tried chamomile before ok? Allergic reactions can be a mild dermatitis or a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Now let me say this too, I have seasonal allergies due to ragweed and mold, but I have no trouble with chamomile. So again, be careful when and if you try it! Ok…warning done..so let me go on about all the wonderful things about chamomile for those of us who can enjoy this herb!

 

Alternative Names:

Matricaria recutita , Pinheads, Scented Mayweed, Sweet false chamomile, Whig Plant, Ground Apple, and Earth Apple

 

Growing and Cultivating

There are two types of chamomile…Roman and German. The German is used most often in the USA but if you buy chamomile essential oil it will most likely be Roman. Both varieties have the same effects medicinally and magically of course.

German Chamomile is an annual plant that will grow up to 2 1/2 feet high. The leaves are fern-like and the flowers look like small daisies..white flowers with yellow centers about an inch across. Roman Chamomile is a perennial plant that is wide spreading and only grows less than a foot tall. The leaves are slightly different and it has the same flowers. Roman Chamomile is often used as a ground cover. It can tolerate even being walked on!

These plants belong to the sunflower family Asteraceae . The flower heads are the primary plant parts used in herbal medicine. Commonly found all over Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North America and Australia. You can find chamomile in the wild…. near road sides, around landfills and in cultivated areas as a weed.

Chamomile requires Full Sun, and doesn’t tolerate really dry or HOT conditions. It can be planted from seed, cuttings and, of course, seedlings or small plants. Chamomile is self-seeding so even if you plant the annual version, it may come back. You can harvest the flower heads (the parts used for medicinal purposes) about 6-8 weeks after planting. Harvest them in the morning and when the flowers look fresh and healthy. The flower heads can be used fresh or dried for teas and other herbal preparations. You can dry the flower heads in a basket or on a screen best.

 

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Medicinal Uses of Chamomile

 Chamomile has a wonderful taste of apples that most people find appealing. The scent of chamomile is sweet and apple-y is well. Chamomile has many properties. It is used for:

– Anxiety and stress

-For calm and sleep aid

-To help heal burns

-Anti-inflammatory

-Anti-virus

-Analgesic

-Safe for children who have stomach aches or are teething or for trouble sleeping

-For any stomach ailments such as sick stomach, ulcers, cramps or diarrhea/constipation

-Dental/oral care

-Depression

-Soothes skin ailments such as eczema, reddened skin, rashes and sunburn

-Hemorrhoids

-As a hair rinse for light colored hair

-Bath products

-healing balms

 

A cup of chamomile tea before bed is a must for many people I know..it just calms and comforts and helps you feel drowsy. But you can use it for so many things as you can see above. Put a cup of brewed tea in your bath to calm and soothe your skin and to let the scent calm your anxiety or stress. A bath in it will also help with hemorrhoids. Make a hair rinse using flowers brewed in water or apple cider vinegar. Make a poultice for cuts, rashes or sunburned skin. Make a cool compress to ease eye puffiness. Make a good healing balm or oil for muscle aches, swollen joints or a burn. Rinse your mouth with warm chamomile water or tea for sore gums. You can apply a drop of chamomile oil straight on an abscess in your mouth. A cup of chamomile tea with ginger added will aid nausea too. Just some of the ways you can use it!

 

Children can use chamomile too in small amounts as a tea. You can also buy chewable chamomile tabs to help them to fall asleep or ease teething and sore mouth. Works to soothe a child who is anxious or stressed as well.  My grandkids have used it with success.

 

Aromatherapy

Chamomile essential oil blends well with cedarwood, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, lavender, rose, marjoram, neroli, orange, rosewood and ylang ylang essential oils. It works wonderfully in a simmering potpourri and in bath salts. If you are sensitive to chamomile..you may still be able to use the essential oil if it’s diluted well with a base oil etc. But again, try it on a small area before bathing in it or slathering it on your skin.

 

Magical Uses

 ELEMENT: Water

GENDER: Masculine

PLANET: Sun or Venus

Chamomile can be used in Magic for

-Power or Energy

-Peace and Calm

-Healing

-Money

-Midsummer

-Sleep

-Love

-Purification

-Protection

-Divination

 

-Plant chamomile in your garden for protection

-Place chamomile in a mojo bag before doing something stressful such as taking a test or a doctor appt

-Take a chamomile bath to soothe and calm or to bring love and romance to your night

-Simmer chamomile on your stovetop with lavender to bring Peace to your home

-Drink chamomile tea or place some on your altar before practicing any divination

-Use it as an incense to smudge your house for purification and protection

-Use in a sleep pillow to aid sleep

-Place a few flowers in cool water to wash your face when you’re upset or stressed

-It is said that you can wash your hands in it before playing a game of cards or gambling to bring money to you

-Use with spells to draw money, to divine, to rid of negativity or to protect

– Sprinkle the dried flowers around your property to protect from spells or curses.

Anoint your healing candles with chamomile essential oil

 

I’m sure that you can come up with many ways to use chamomile in your daily Craft. Also, though I say that this is some of the magical uses for Chamomile….and for that matter with any herb I’ve talked about. The herbs may mean something completely different to you. That’s fine….use it for that purpose!!

 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
William Ewart Gladstone

 

Chamomile is a very important herb in any Witch’s arsenal of supplies. Put it on your list of must have or at least must try!

You can print out this information for your BOS or herb book here:  Chamomile2

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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How to Make Herbal Preparations……

Merry Meet everyone.  I hope that you all had a wonderful Beltaine celebration!  I know I did!  Today, again the Sunday Stew comes out and this article will be continued from there to here. (Here is the link for the Stew.  http://networkedblogs.com/WzCt4     Be sure to read the Stew in it’s entirety! It’s a plethora of Witchy info, articles, recipes etc. Here is what I wrote about this week 🙂

Today here on the Stew…I thought I’d post some basic information on how to make herbal preparations. I’m going to tell you how to make a tea infusion, a tincture, an oil and a salve/balm. They are all so easy to make and all wonderful ways to use herbs for medicinal or magickal purposes and some of them for culinary use.

 

We will start off with a bit about herbs in general. You want to be sure that your herbs..whether grown yourself or bought or wildcrafted….are organic. You don’t want to be putting chemicals in your body in any way! When using fresh herbs..be sure to use the parts of the herb that are useful….for instance the flowers and leaves of yarrow…but not the stalk or roots. That is where the good stuff is! Fresh herbs should be washed carefully. You can just rinse them well…or even give them a swish in half strength white vinegar water. Then allow them to dry well. You don’t want any moisture in your preparations…except for teas of course.

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Ok..we will start with TEA:   You can make a tea several ways.  In general, you want 1 tsp of dried herb or 2 tsps fresh herb to one cup of hot water. Most herbals will want to steep for about 10-20 mins. That’s all you need to know to make one cup of tea. Now of course, you can add more herb (as long as it’s a safe dosage) to your taste. Rosemary Gladstar, in her Herbal course “The Science and Art of Herbology” recommends that you make a quart at a time. Especially if you’re taking the tea for medicinal purposes. Two or Three cups a day of tea is recommended for most medicinal herbal teas. She says 2-3 TBS in one quart of water is good.

-You can infuse tea a couple of ways. One is to place the herbs in a jar with a lid, pour the boiling water over it. Quickly seal the lid to the jar. Allow to steep for 10-20 mins or so. Strain and drink.

-A stronger medicinal infusion can be made by placing the herbs in a pan of cold water. Place a tight fitting lid on the pan and slowly, over a very low heat, bring the water to boiling point. DON’T BOIL. This makes a stronger infusion medicinally.

-There are other ways to make teas too. You can skip the hot water part..fill the jar and make a solar infusion by sitting it out in the Sun for a few hours..I’m sure you’ve heard of Sun Tea! There are also Lunar infusions….so magickal for us Witches who use the Energy of the Moon!

Keep in mind that many herbs don’t necessarily taste good. Herbs are often bitter and can smell like dirt LOL.   Use honey to help sweeten them. You can also add teas to other drinks like juices to help. Also a tea infusion is wonderful to add to your bath or to soak your feet!

 

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The next preparation we’ll talk about is TINCTURES: A tincture is a concentrated liquid form of an herb this is easy to make and easy to take. Tinctures preserve and concentrate the medicinal properties of herbs making them more effective. By the way…save your glass jars! They are the best way to make herbal preparations. Ball or Mason jars are great to have around..so are pickle, mushroom, fruit, honey jars..etc etc. Re-use and re-cycle!

 

 

To make a tincture…get a clean jar (some people sterilize them) with a tight fitting lid. You will need to fill the jar with clean, dry, fresh herb (chopped).  Or you can fill it about halfway with dried herb. Pour 80 proof vodka, rum, gin or brandy over the herbs til they are covered well…leave a little breathing room in the top of the jar..and inch or two. Poke the herbs with a stick or end of a spoon to get all the bubbles out etc. Seal the lid. Now place the jar in a warm, dark place. Shake daily for about 3 weeks. I brew my tinctures for about 6 weeks. You can brew from 3 weeks to 6 months. When the tincture is ready…just strain out the herbs using a sieve or cheesecloth. Store it in colored bottles with droppers for ease of use. Keep it in a cool, dark place. Some people refrigerate them but in general, you don’t have to.

*You can do a tincture with apple cider vinegar following the same directions except warm the cider first.

To administer a tincture…well, do your research. A lot of tinctures will say to take 1/4 tsp in water, tea or juice 2-3 times a day for a chronic illness. For acute illness, you can take 1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp until the symptoms (such as headache) pass. I know many people do the under- the- tongue administration too. I prefer mixing it with something, so it’s not harsh on my mucous membranes.

*You can also use tincture as a rub or liniment.

 

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Now on to HERB-INFUSED OILS: This is basically infusing a carrier oil such as Olive, Sunflower, Almond, Jojoba, Grapeseed etc etc….with herbs, to use for multiple reasons. Pick the carrier oil depending on the usage. If it’s for culinary purposes…pick olive, sunflower or grapeseed. It it’s for making lip balms or bath products..almond and Jojoba are wonderful. Use what you like..they are all wonderful.

 

There is a couple of ways (and more) to do this. One way is just like making a tincture, except to use Oil. Just fill your jar full with fresh herbs, and halfway with dried herbs, cover with the oil, stir, seal the lid, label and store in a warm, dark place. Shake daily.   Again, several weeks makes for a good strong concentration. Strain when ready and place in bottles or jars appropriate for what you are using it for. For example, a pretty tall dark bottle with a cork will work great for culinary purposes and a small blue or amber bottle will be great for massage oils.

Another way to infuse the oil faster (I use this method all the time for my Verbena Lane Botanicals products) is to let it infuse on the stove or in a slow cooker…keeping it warm but not too hot. You can infuse the herbs for an hour this way or more. I usually warm it for at a couple hours..very low. Then turn it off, cover it, and let it stand til completely cool. Strain, jar, label and store the same as above.

 

*Again, you can also make a solar infusion..there is nothing prettier then jars of herbs in oil, slowly infusing in a sunny windowsill in your kitchen. Just be sure that fresh herbs are really dry…water and oil don’t mix!

*There really aren’t any measurements for the amount of herb to oil. If using a jar method, just again, fill it well with fresh, chopped herbs and halfway with dried. Leave an inch or two of space at the top when you pour in the oil. For the stovetop method..I generally use a cup or two depending on the herb, then cover to two inches above the herb with oil.

 

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Lastly, we will talk about SALVES or BALMS.   Now some will say what is the difference between a salve and a balm? Some will say the words are used interchangeably and I can agree with that. For me, I think a balm is a bit firmer textured where a salve is a little softer and creamier..but that’s just me J

 

To make a Balm or Salve….you need about a cup of that herb-infused oil you make above. Let’s say we are making a Yarrow salve since I just posted about Yarrow last week here on the Stew. This is a good basic recipe for a healing balm.

You’ll need:

1 cup of herb –infused oil

1 oz of good beeswax (slightly less if you want the balm/salve softer and creamier)

1 tsp vitamin e oil (helps to preserve the oil and good for your skin!)

40-60 drops of essential oils if you like. (I use more!)

 

When using the stove to make balm or salve…you want to use a double boiler. A double boiler helps to keep you from burning or over-cooking your oils as you warm them. My method is to bring water to a simmer in a metal or glass pan….then I place a large glass measuring cup right in the water..that works well too. Don’t burn yourself removing the glass cup from the pan!

Place the cup of yarrow-infused oil in the pan or glass measuring cup. Start warming it. Grate or chop the beeswax and add it to the warmed oil. Stir occasionally until it melts all the way. Remove from the heat and add the vitamin e oil and essential oils if you wish. For healing, lavender, rosemary, and tea tree essential oils would be a wonderful combination. Pour into containers of your choice. A cup of this oil will make several 2 oz tins, a couple of 4 oz jars or one big 8 oz jar. Let cool. Label and use.

 

If you would like to copy this info into pages for your Book of Shadows or Grimoire…you can do that here.   How to Make Herbal Preparations 2

 

When I talked about Yarrow last week…I told you all the medicinal uses for Yarrow. Now you know some of the ways you can make a preparation to use it. These recipes work with just about every herb you can think of! I hope as Summer comes and we are planting our herbs…that you try them in some way medicinally. You’ll be happy you did!! Here’s to your health!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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