Every witch or magical practitioner will come across herbs. What are herb? Ellen Dugan writes that herbs are plants which are used for “medicine, food, flavoring, or scent. An herb may be a tree, shrub, woody perennial, flower, annual, or fern.”
Spells, rituals, teas and more require them. I’m no herb-guru, but I have a deep love for nature and am always reading and learning about herbs to help broaden my magical knowledge of them.
There are of course different ways to work with herbs, such as: cooking, incense/smudge sticks, spells, offerings, tea, etc. It’s up to the witch to choose which method works best for him/her.
Personally I like to add some magic to my cooking with them. That reminds me of an enchanting novel by Sarah Addison Allen called “Garden Spells”, a must-read for every kitchen witch! (http://www.sarahaddisonallen.com/) But of course you can also just use herbs to lay on your altar as an offering or to enhance an energy or purpose in a spell/ritual.
A few fantastic books to own that will always be of great help when working with herbs are:
*Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs – Scott Cunningham
*Herb Magic for Beginners – ELlen Dugan
*Herbs & Things – Jeanne Rose
This one is colored and is pretty nice, but not as in-depth as Cunningham for example:
*The Green Wiccan Herbal – Silja
And then here are three more that are witchy garden books that also mention herbs:
*Wicca Garden – Gerina Dunwich
*HedgeWitch – Silver RavenWolf
*The Real Witches’ Garden – Kate West
The reason I mention all of these books is not that you should go and read all of them. Pick up one or two and familiarize yourself with the basics. How to recognize basic herbs and their magical qualities; how to use them in tinctures, oils, or teas; how to harvest them from nature. You don’t want to just go out into the woods and rip out random plants! That is a no no! Not just because you could poison yourself, but because how you harvest or buy plants is important.
You have to honor and treat the plant with respect. If you don’t, the magic will possibly not work. As much as we all wish that the Harry Potter world was real, our magic requires more than the swish and flick of a wand. <3
I won’t go into detail but here is a list of some herbs that every witch should try and have in her cupboard. I found this list and really like it, checked my own collection and say I basically always have all of these either fresh or dried. (http://www.gone-ta-pott.com/witches_garden.html)
*Rosemary: Improves memory, aids sleep, can be used for purification, love, healing, protection, and intellect.
*Sage: A must-have. Smudging is usually done with sage and/or lavender. It has very strong protection and healing properties along with several others.
*Parsley: Lust, protection, and purification. This herb unfortunately has associations with death and evil, but this is not so. Cunningham states in his book that “the Romans tucked a sprig of parsley into their togas every morning for protection. It is also placed on plates of food to guard it against contamination.”
*Mint: Is your belly savior. I’m serious! I drink ginger-mint tea a lot when I have an upset stomach. You can also chew fresh mint leaves for fantastic breath!
*Catnip: Cat magic (obviously ), love, beauty, and happiness.Hang or grow near your home to attract good spirits and luck.
*Marjoram: Good for money sachets and also for getting rid of depression.
*Thyme: Soooo many uses. Health, healing, sleep, psychic powers, love, purification, courage…..
*Basil: Grow basic inn your kitchen to keep away negative spirits.
*Mugwort: Clairvoyance, psychic dreams, astral projection, protection.
~I hope this post was helpful! Many blessings. ~