Pagan Blog Project – Herbs

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Like many of us I have herbs growing in my garden. Some of them have a wonderful fragrance when their leaves are rubbed, some are used for cooking, some for healing, some go in teas or tinctures and some like sage and Rosemary have multiple uses one of which is to cleanse space.

Unlike a herbalist, as a shamanic healer I don’t worry over much about the scientific properties of any of my herbs for this information is not what I need when I wish to work with them. Instead what I need to know is the spirit of the plant and how it will work either with me or with my client. I am though sensible and do always Google a herb or plant to check there are no contraindications.

To connect to the spirt of anything I journey to meet it and herbs are no different. Then having met the spirit I take in all that it has to share with me. This might be what it can be used for, how it will work in this instance, how much and how long it is to be used for and how it is to be used which could for example be in a tea, a tincture or even in a bath.

The very first time I wanted to use a herb in healing I decided to journey to see which herb if any wished to work with me. I was shown a plant that I recognised as wild garlic. Within the journey I was told to work with the leaves, take them and dry them, that they were to be made into a tea which I was to take three times a day for three days. I was also told to make up a lot of the tea and store it in an airtight jar in the dark for then I would always have it when I needed it.

After journeying I looked up the medicinal properties of Wild Garlic as I knew nothing about it and found it is beneficial in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, respiratory failure, coughs and pulmonary tuberculous as well as having antiviral properties. It can also be used to help lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, as a diuretic, a stimulant, a vasodilator and as a tonic. There are no contra-indicators although it can be confused with the autumn crocus which is poisonous.

As I am asthmatic and have to be careful when I get a cough I use this tea often. It has saved me time after time by making sure the cough doesn’t cause further problems for me.

The making of teas with herbs is easy and quick. All you really need to do is pick some, rinse it and then let it steep in hot water. For herbs that I use a lot in teas and which are only available for a short time such as wild garlic, I pick, dry and then store a dark place in air tight jars. There is nothing more wonderful than a pot of freshly picked herb teas and many herbs combine nicely so do experiment and see what you enjoy. One of my favourite teas in the summer is lemon balm.

Tinctures are also easy although they need to be left for around four weeks before being used. For a tincture herbs are picked and placed in an air tight bottle. The bottle is then filled with vodka and placed again in a dry dark place. It does need to be taken out and shaken every few days though. The mixture can then be taken as required.

Sage or Sage and Rosemary bundles for clearing space are also easy to make. The herbs are picked and bundled together. I often fold the bundle in two so it is quite thick. The bundle is then rolled back and forth inside a piece of carpet or similar which removes some of the moisture. The bundle then needs to be tied at one end with thread, the thread then should be wound round the bundle in a spiral to the other end. Here it is wound around a few times then wound in a spiral down the bundle once more and tied off. This bundle then needs to be wrapped tightly in newspaper held in place with an elastic band and then stored in a dry place out of sunlight. After a week the bundle should be unwrapped and rolled again tighter and then left until completely dry.

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