PBP2014: D – For Divination

Divination has played a large part in my pagan lifestyle.  When I first discovered Wicca (as we all do), the first thing I learned was how to shield.  But the second…the second thing I learned was how to divine the future.  I started with throwing stones in the playground, and it transformed into using the Ouija Board (until my mother found out, and banned it from the house).  And that transformed into quartz crystals, and finally, tarot cards.

I can still remember my first tarot deck – a sultry purple, kept hidden in my underwear drawer until I felt comfortable enough to come out with my first altar (and that, I remember too – a pathetic thing, with four candles and a mirror – it took me a long time to realize that the “Wiccan” way of doing things meant little and less to me).  The Mythic Tarot, a play on images of my favourite Grecian myths, which lead me and guided me through the bulk of my teenage years, and well into my early twenties.

I can still remember my trepidation, as I realized whenever I used the cards, they told me of ill fortunes to come – nearly all of which came true.  I remember pulling the Death card, and the Devil, more times than I can count.  I remember them telling me over and over, no matter how many different questions I asked, that my life would be a struggle, and I would come out stronger for it.  My first breakup: you will come out stronger for this.  My first surgery: you will come out stronger for this. The first time I failed a course: you will come out stronger for this.

I didn’t believe them.  For the first time in my life, I didn’t believe them.  Nothing could be worse than this, my young adult brain thought.  This is the end of you.

And I put the cards away. I hid them, sequoistered within the confines of my altar cabinet, collecting dust.  Coming with me move after move, and never being touched for years.

I became afraid of my cards.  They only predicted the bad things to come, and I didn’t want to know.  I wanted to live in the present, or be stuck in the past, but I definitely did not want to know the future.  The future was a problem for my future self (and in some ways, I still believe this.)

Finally, two years ago, I bought a new deck of cards.  And I finally have a new understanding.  They don’t predict the bad things in my future.  They don’t predict anything.  They are a tool which lets me know, that if I follow on the course I’m on, they are one of a thousand likely outcomes.  Now, sometimes my fortune comes true, and sometimes, in a rare while, I make a conscious choice not to let that future become true.  And just sometimes, a bad thing still happens, but rather than wallow in my own self-destruction, I look for the other reasons that the fates have led me here, and I try to find joy in it.

Now, I have one tarot deck, two Rune sets (both handmade, one by me, and one by a long-distance acquaintance), and I can read the Homeric Oracle*.

And now, I let the Fates guide me, but I don’t let the Fates control me.

*For more information, please see my guest post over at nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com 

PBP2014d

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PBP2014: D – For Divination

Pagan Blog Project 2014 – B for Brewing

I’m still a little behind with the Pagan Blog Project , but I’m trying to catch up.  Today’s topic is BREWING.

Brewing is a favourite hobby of mine, and I feel that it relates to my path because I am taking the substance of the earth, and turning it into a euphoric drink, which I then in turn – drink with, cook with, return back to the earth in the form of offering, and which I gift to friends (who are also of the earth).

While I have yet to try beer-making, I have made mead, dandelion wine, port and cider (both of which are in the process of being made as we speak).

According to Wikipedia, archaeological evidence suggests that brewing has been around for over 9000 years (over 9000.  I thought it too.)  That’s 9000 years of taking a sugar (be it honey, fruit, dextrose, or sucrose), letting it sit in water in a jug, and leaving it be, up to the fates of the wild yeasts that float around in the atmosphere, and then coming back to it sometime later and finding a product which is drastically different, and positively intoxicating.

It’s only natural that one would want to repeat the process, and give thanks to the gods, who took their pot of honey, and turned it into nectar.

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(from last summer)

PBP2014d

Pagan Blog Project 2014 – B for Brewing

Musings

Once again, I don’t use this as often as I ought to.

I am out of work on time off right now, but I go back in a little under a week, where I will likely fall off the radar again.  I can’t help it, work has been crazy busy.  I don’t just mean “Oh, I worked a little overtime last week” busy, but rather I have been pulling 11-15 hours a day, 7 days a week, for three weeks straight.  I sleep 6 hours a night IF I’m lucky.

I love what I’m doing, but I’m just knackered, and the internet in camp doesn’t work so well at night.  So I thought I’d play a little catch-up while I can.

Drink of the Day: organic Santa Cruz cranberry delight

Forages of the week: I haven’t much time at home, and nobody takes care of my garden, so it’s gone a bit crazy, but in the last few days, I have harvested raspberries, strawberries, peas, lettuce, rhubarb, and calendula from my garden.  My mugwort will be ready to harvest next month when I’m home, and I can harvest my nettles now, I just have to get my lazy bum out there in proper clothing to do it.  My chives are good to go as well, but I don’t really like them dried, and I’ve been too lazy to go buy ice cube trays to store them frozen.  Maybe before the week is out…

As for actual foraging, today I picked a bunch of saskatoon berries in the local park, and tomorrow I have plans on stealing all the fireweed flowers from the railyard to make jelly.  If I get around to it, I’ve been canning and jamming lately, and I’ve got some recipes to share.  I just need some time to actually sit down at the computer.

Exercise of the week: cycling.

I’ve been trying to get out there on my bike every day that I’ve been home, to make up for the lack of it while I’m away at work, and I’ve done a pretty good job so far.  21km the first day I got home, 28km yesterday (followed by a massage!), and today I took off from cycling in favour of foraging this morning – but I made up for it by going to aquafit class this evening.  Such a workout!  I’m always surprised by how tired I am after just one hour of aquafit.  I can cycle for three before I start to hurt.  Hopefully getting back out there tomorrow, too!

And a little tidbit of exciting news.  I’m going through the process to buy my first vehicle!  It’s a 1994 Ford Aerostar in surprisingly good condition for its age, and I’ve already started making dirty-hippie-campervan plans for it.

Musings

Magick Mondays: Ritual Magic of Flowers

Ritual Magick of Flowers

Acacia Blossom: Hidden Love, Friendship, Retirement, Platonic Love

Amaryllis: True Beauty, Pride, Innocence

Ambrosia: Love Returned

Anemone: Being Forsaken, Sincerity, Estrangement, Abandonment, Expectation, Illness

Apple Blossom: Good Fortune

Aster: Variety, Differences

Azalea: Fragility, Passion, Temperance, Symbolic Womanhood

Baby’s Breath: Sweet Beauty, Innocence, Purity, Modesty

Begonia: Heightened Awareness, Balance, Psychic Ability, To Send A Warning

Bells of Ireland: Luck, Good Fortune

Belvedere: Declaration Of War

Buttercup: Increasing Self-esteem, Verbal Communication, Childhood Reminiscence, Wealth

Camellia:

General: Gratitude, Admiration, Perfection, Masculine Energy
Pink: Persistent Desire
Red: Ardent Love
White: Beauty, Adoration 

Cactus: Dreams of Beauty and Wealth Coming to Fruition

Calla Lily: Beauty

Carnation:

General: Self-esteem, Healing, True Love
Red: Admiration From Afar, Desires That Do Not Come to Pass
Pink: True Sentimental Love
Purple: Changeability
Striped: Refusals of Love, Rejection
White: Innocent, Pure Love
Yellow: Rejections, Disappointments 

Cattail: Prosperity, Peace

Clover: Good Luck, Faithfulness, Compassion

Chrysanthemum:

Red: Love
White: Truth
Yellow: Scorned in Love 

Cinquefoil: Parental Love and Care of the Young

Cornflower: Refinement, Elegance

Daffodil: Inner Beauty, Chivalry, Clarity of Thought, Vanity, Unrequited Love, Energy That Comes From Being In Love, Sunlight, Respect

Dahlia: Spiritual Evolution, Dignity, Refinement, Instability

Daisy:

White: Decisions, Inner Strength, Heightened Awareness, Creativity
Red: Unconscious Beauty 

Dandelion: Spirit Magick, Wish Magick, Prophecy

Dogwood: Indifference

Dragon’s Blood (also known as Dragon Lily): Inner Power

Edelweiss: Nobility

Forget-me-not: True Love, Remembrances, Links To The Past

Foxglove (also known as Dead Men’s Bells and Fairy Thimbles): Stateliness, Deception, Youth

Fuchsia: Good Taste, Love Secrets

Gardenia: Refinement, Purification, Emotional Support, Secret Love

Geranium: Returning Joy, Healing, Difficulties and Frustrations Passing Away

Green Grass: Submission

Heather:

General: Inner Healing From Within, Initiation, Immortality, Luck, Rainmaking, Protection From Violent Crimes And Theft, Weather Working, Warding Off Inappropriate Suitors
Purple: Solitude, Admiration
White: Protection, Wish MagickHellebores: Protection

Heliotrope: Devotion

Hibiscus: Obsessive Love, Feminine Energy, Sensuality, Warmth, Creation, Fragile Beauty

Honeysuckle: Ties Between Lovers

Hyacinth:

General: Overcoming Grief, Games, Gentleness Of Nature, Impulsivity
Blue: Consistency
Purple: Regret, Sadness, Jealousy
Pink: Harmless Mischief
Red: Harmless Mischief
White: Shyness, Prayers For Those In Need
Yellow: JealousyHydrangea: Ruthlessness, Frigidity, Hex Breaking, False Pride

Hyssop: Protection, Purification

Iris: Purity, Faith, Wisdom, Hope, Valor, Magick and Energy For Pure Aims

Jasmine:

General: Material Wealth, Love, Divination, Dream Magick
Indian: Fondness
Spanish: Sensuality
Yellow: Modesty, Refined Beauty, Elegance
White: SociabilityJonquil: Sympathy, Having Your Affections Returned To You, Desires Fulfilled

Lavender: Devotion, Magick, Love, Protection, Healing, Distrust, Inner Sight

Lilac:

General: Pride, Beauty
Purple: First Love, Infatuation, Pure Love
White: InnocenceLily:

General: Birth, Honor, Divinity, Humility, Purification
Calla: Beauty
Day: Motherhood
Eucharis: Enchantment, Glamoury
Lily of the Valley: Sociability, Joy, Humility
Orange: Hatred, Dislike
Tiger: Wealth, Pride, Prosperity
Water: Soothing
White: Virginity, Purity, Majesty, Youth
Yellow: Happiness, Lies, GratitudeMagnolia: Determination, Nobility, Fidelity

Marigold: Protection, Fidelity, Dream Magick, Longevity, Jealousy, Psychic Abilities, Legal Matters Cruelty Between Lovers, Despair, Evil Thoughts

Mimosa: Love, Protection, Purification, Secret Love, Divination

Morning Glory: Death and Rebirth, Affection, Spontaneity

Motherwort: Secret Love

Narcissus: Beauty, Vanity, Formality

Orchid: Love, Beauty, Refinement, Fertility, Consideration

Pansy: Cheerfulness, Romantic Thoughts

Passion Flower: Faith, Peace, Spiritual Enthusiasm, Sleep, Friendship

Pennyroyal: Protection, Strength, Banishing, Peace

Peony: Exorcism, Protection, Anger, Shame, Marital Bliss, Compassion, Shyness

Periwinkle (also known as Vinca and Myrtle): Love, Recollections, Lust, Memories, Mental Powers, Money, Protection

Petunia: Anger, Resentment, Disdain

Poppy:

General: Eternal Rest, Oblivion, Imagination, Fertility, Sleep, Invisibility, Red: Pleasure
White: Consolation
Yellow: Success, MoneyPomegranate Blossom: Fertility, Binding, Incarceration, Elegance, Divination, Wealth, Un-reciprocated Love Magick

Poplar: Flying, Wealth

Primrose:

General: Obsessive Love, Feminine Energy
Evening: Inconstancy
Red: Unsolicited RecognitionPussy Willow: Motherhood

Rhododendron: Learning Who Is Against You, Power To Overcome Enemies, Banishing, Stirring Up Agitation

Rose:

General: Love, Passion, Strength Through Silence
Black: Impending Death
Bridal: Bliss
Christmas: Relief
Coral: Desire
Damask: Inspiration For Love, Refreshing Love
Green: Masculine Energy
Hibiscus: Fragile Beauty
Lavender: Magick
Orange: Wonder
Pink: Perfection, Everlasting Joy, Secret Love, Grace, Indecision
Peach: Immortality
Red: Love, Protection, Healing, Respect, Beauty
Dark Red: Shame, Shyness. Mourning
Tea: Enduring Desire
Thorn-less: Immediate Affection, Love At First Sight
Wild: Ferocity
White: Innocence, Secrecy, Silence, Purity, Humility, Exorcism
White (Dried): Death
Yellow: Joy, Jealousy, FriendshipRosebud: Youth, Innocence, Beauty, Virginity

Snapdragon: Force of Will, Protection, Creativity, Clairaudience

Snowball: Heavenly Journeys

Spider Flower: Impulsive Acts Of Love

Star of Bethlehem: Reconciliation, Atonement

Strawberry Blossom: Luck, Love

Sunflower:

General: Wish Magick, Fertility, Happiness, Wisdom, Healing
Dwarf: Adoration
Tall: Pride, Fleeting Wealth, Lies About MoneyTansy: Declaration Of War

Toadstool: Weather Working

Tuberose: Pleasures That Inevitably Cause Pain, Addictions

Tulip:

General: Lust, Sensuality, Romance, Notoriety
Red: Declaration Of Love
Variegated: Image Magick
Yellow: Charisma, Hopeless Love, Making Friends, SociabilityVenus Flytrap: Incarceration, Confinement

Violet:

General: Modesty, Affection, Virtue, Psychic Sensitivity
Blue: Watcher Conjuration, Fidelity, Love
White: Impulsive Acts Of LoveWisteria: Protection, Love

Zinnia:

Magenta: Lasting Affection
Mixed: Memories Of Those Beyond Your Reach
Scarlet: Constancy
White: Goodness
Yellow: Haunting Memories

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Magick Mondays: Ritual Magic of Flowers

Arnica Oil, Three Methods, and an Ointment

(this was meant to be posted a few weeks ago when I actually made the arnica ointment. sorry…)

Medicinal Oils:

Making infused oils with plants (fresh or dried) is an easy way to preserve their medicinal properties. This works because many plants contain oil-soluble components, such as essential oils, resins, basalms, waxes, and vitamins which can be extracted when placed in a carrier oil for a length of time. These infused oils can last up to one year, depending on the type of carrier oil you use. Olive oil is a classic example, because it has a long shelf life, and is readily absorbed by the skin, but many other options are available. Lighter oils, such as almond, jojoba, or sunflower oil can be used, or they can be blended together to utilize the benefits of multiple oils at once. Squeezing the gel out of a vitamin E (tocopheral) capsule, or adding tea tree oil can also help to preserve shelf life. Even hard vegetable or animal fats can be used, if heated with the herb.

A good list of the shelf lives of various carrier oils can be found here.

* If using freshly foraged herbs, make sure to let the herb wilt for a few hours to evaporate any excess moisture, which could cause mold and spoilage later on. A good preventative for spoilage is also to cover your jar, not with a tight-fitting lid, but rather with cheesecloth, or a paper towel and elastic, so that any excess moisture can escape.

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* When using dried herbs, remember the rule of thumb is to use half the dried amount versus the fresh amount. So if a recipe calls for 2 quarts of -insert herb here-, remember to use only 1 quart.

As a general rule, use 1 cup (250mL) fresh herbs (or 1/2 cup dried herbs) to 2 cups carrier oil. Add anywhere between 1mL and 5mL vitamin E oil as a preservative after straining.

1) Traditional Method

Begin by making sure every utensil you’re using is clean and dry (moisture is bad, if you haven’t gotten the message yet!)

Take your plants and break them up (called garbling) by hand. This helps bruise the plant and make it more readily release its volatile oils.

Pour carrier oil over top of your plant, making sure to cover it completely. Exposed plants can cause spoilage. Cover your jar with a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel and an elastic to secure it.

Place in a dark, cool location, and shake or stir daily for anywhere between 2-4 weeks. Make sure to keep an eye on your oil and watch for any changes – cloudiness, or molding. If this happens, strain immediately (if it doesn’t smell off, it should be okay).

After 2-4 weeks, strain through a cheesecloth, or muslin, or a coffee filter, and add vitamin E or other essential oils for preservation. Pour into a clean glass container (preferably dark) and label with the date and what the infusion is. Store in a cool, dark place out of sunlight.

2) Sun Infusion Method (my favourite)

Follow all the directions of the Traditional Method for preparation.

Store jar on a windowsill in direct sunlight, allowing the heat of the sun to infuse the herbs into the oil. Steep for at least two weeks, before straining, adding vitamin E or essential oils, and storing.

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* It’s especially important with this method to make sure not to put a tight-fitting lid on your infusion. The sun heats the oil, which causes condensation, which can ruin your entire batch if it’s left to mold.

3) Double-Boiler Method

This is a really good method to use if you need your oil faster than 2-4 weeks away, or if you don’t have the time to steep it slowly.

Fill the bottom portion of a double boiler with water (not too much though). Break up your herbs by hand into the top portion of the pot. Heat on low – if your heat is too high, you can burn your oil.

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Pour the oil over your herbs and bring water (in the lower pan) to a low simmer.

Heat slowly for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally (although I’ve read sources that say as long as 2-5 hours). The lower you heat your oil, the longer it can infuse without ruining the quality of your infusion.

Let the oil cool to room temperature, and then strain through cheesecloth. Add vitamin E or essential oils, and then bottle and store in a dark, cool place.

* I don’t own a double boiler, so I used an oven proof dish inside of a large saucepan.  It works, but be careful not to drip water in the dish!

* To make any of these infusions stronger, add a batch of fresh herbs to the infused oil, and repeat.

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Arnica Ointment, taken from The Boreal Herbal, by Beverley Gray

1 cup (250mL) arnica flowers

1 1/2 cups (375mL) sunflower oil

1/2 cup (125mL) olive oil

1 TSP (5mL) vitamin E

1 oz. (30mL) beeswax

Add beeswax to a double boiler on low heat (or use an oven proof dish inside of a pot filled with water). Stir often, until beeswax is fully melted. Add full volume of infused arnica oil, and stir until fully combined.

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I’ve since used it, and it works like a charm!

Sources:

http://whisperingearth.co.uk/2010/04/26/potions-group-making-herb-infused-oils/

http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy.php?prep_ID=30

http://mountainroseblog.com/making-herbal-infused-oils/

The Boreal Herbal, by Beverely Gray

Arnica Oil, Three Methods, and an Ointment

Magick Mondays: The Herbal Code

The herbal code is a legendary list of herbal names disguised by other names. Among the Witches of old there was a great deal of hidden herbal knowledge and lore. Much of this lore was kept secret due to the pharmaceutical properties of herbs and herbal combinations, many of which were dangerous in the wrong hands. Consequently a code was created to keep these recipes secret and to discourage their use by the uninitiated. The following list in part of the herbal code common to several traditions

· A Dead Man: Ash root, carved in a crude human shape
· Adder’s Tongue: Plantain
· Bat’s Wing: Holly Leaf
· Bat’s Wool: Moss
· Blood: Elder Sap
· Bloody Fingers: Foxglove
· Brains: Congealed gum from a cherry tree
· Bull’s Blood: Horehound
· Corpse Candles: Mullien
· Dragon’s Scales: Bistort leaves
· Ear of an Ass: Comfrey
· Ears of a Goat: St. John’s Wort
· Eyes: Eyebright or Daisy
· Fingers: Cinquefoil
· Hair: Maidenhair fern
· Hand: The unexpanded frond from a male fern
· Heart: Walnut
· Lion’s Tooth: Dandelion
· Skin of a Man: Fern
· Skull: Skullcap
· Snake: Bistort
· Tongue of a Dog: Hound’s tongue
· Urine: Dandelion
· Unicorn Horn: True unicorn root
· Worms: Thin roots

These animals called for the following herbs:

· Blue Jay: Bay Laurel
· Cat: Catnip
· Cuckoo: Orchis, plantain
· Dog: Couchgrass
· Frog: Cinquefoil
· Hawk: Hawkweed
· Lamb: Lamb’s lettuce
· Linnet: Eyebright
· Lizard: Calamint
· Nightingale: Hop
· Rat: Valerian
· Sheep: Dandelion
· Snake: Fennel of Bistort
· Toad: Sage
· Weasel: Rue
· Woodpeckers: Peony

When a recipe called for a certain part of something, the following herb was used:

· The Eye: Inner part of a blossom
· The Guts: The roots and stalk
· The Hair: Dried, stringy herb
· The Head: The flower
· The Heart: A bud or a big seed
· The Paw, Foot, Leg, Wing, Toe, or Scale: The Leaf
· The Privates: The seeds
· The Tail: The Stem
· The Tongue: The Petal

This article originally appeared in Raven’s Call Magazine Volume 3, Number 2, issued 2001.

Magick Mondays: The Herbal Code

Terminology for Medicinal Properties

*Please note, this is stolen from a friend, who stole it from the internet and I can’t verify any of this information.

Adaptogen
Substances which put the body into a state of non-specific heightened resistance in order to better resist stress and adapt to extraordinary challenges.
Aswagandha, Siberian Ginseng, Ginkgo, Gotu Kola, Ho-Shou-Wu, Licorice, Reishi, Schizandra, Shiitake, Suma.

Alterative
An herb that will gradually restore the proper function of the body and increase health and vitality. Sometimes referred to as blood purifiers.
Alfalfa, Black Cohosh, Blue Vervain, Boneset, Burdock ,Chaparral Leaf, Chickweed, Cleavers, Cornsilk, Dong Quai, Echinacea, Garlic, Gentian Root, Golden Seal, Gotu Kola, Ho-Shou-Wu, Irish Moss, Kelp, Licorice, Mandrake, Nettles, Oregon Grape, Pau d’Arco, Prickly Ash, Red Clover, Red Raspberry, Rhubarb, St. John’s Wort, , Sarsaparilla, White Willow, Yarrow, Yellow Dock, Yerba Santa, Yucca.

Analgesic
Analgesics or Anodynes are herbs that reduce pain.
Blue Vervain, Catnip, Chamomile, Dong Quai, Feverfew, Ginger, Jamaican Dogwood, Hops, Kava Kava, Lobelia, Passion Flower, Pau d’arco, Reishi, Safflower, Scullcap, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, White Willow.

Anthelmintic
Herbs that work against parasitic worms which may be present in the digestive system.
Black Walnut, Chaparral Leaf, Garlic, Mugwort, Sheep Sorrel, Wormwood .

Antibacterial
Herbs with properties that can inhibit bacterial growth.
Blessed Thistle, Cloves, Echinacea, Garlic, Kelp, Licorice, Myrrh, Pau d’Arco, Reishi, St. John’s Wort, Scullcap, Yucca.

Antibilious
Herbs that help the body to remove excess bile.
Barberry, Dandelion, Golden Seal, Mandrake, Vervain, Wild Yam, Wormwood.

Anticatarrhal
Herbs that help the body reduce excess mucous and phlegm.
Boneset, Echinacea, Elder, Garcinia, Garlic, Golden Seal, Hyssop, Marshmallow, Oregon Grape, Sage, Saw Palmetto, Uva Ursi, Wild Yam, Yarrow.

Antiemetic
Herbs that reduce the feeling of nausea and can help to relieve or prevent vomiting.
Barberry, Cloves, Elecampane, Fennel, Ginger, Oregon Grape, Red Raspberry, Wild Yam.

Anti-galactagogue
Herbs that prevent or decrease the secretion of milk .
Black Walnut, Sage.

Anti-inflammatory
These herbs help the body to combat inflammations.
Aswagandha, Blue Vervain, Butcher’s Broom, Calendula, Cat’s Claw, Chamomile, Chaparral Leaf, Cleavers, Devil’s Claw, Eyebright, Fennel, Feverfew, Gentian Root, Guggul, Horehound, Hyssop, Licorice, Reishi, St. John’s Wort, White Willow, Witch Hazel, Wormwood, Yarrow, Yucca.

Antilithic
Herbs that prevent the formation or help remove stones or gravel in the urinary system.
Gravel Root, Hydrangea, Stone Root, Uva Ursi.

Antimicrobial
Herbs that can help the body destroy or resist pathogenic micro-organisms.
Calendula, Cat’s Claw, Cloves, Echinacea, Eucalyptus, Feverfew, Juniper, Licorice, Myrrh, Olive Leaf, Pau d’arco, Red Clover, Rose Hips, St. John’s Wort, Uva Ursi, Wormwood.

Antineoplastic
Having the specific action of inhibiting and combating tumor development.
Chaparral Leaf, Cleavers, Red Clover, Reishi, St. John’s Wort, Shiitake.

Antiseptic
Herbs that can be applied to the skin to prevent and resist bacterial growth.
Bilberry, Black Walnut, Chamomile, Chaparral Leaf, Cloves, Echinacea, Elecampane, Eyebright, Gentian Root, Golden Seal, Horseradish, Myrrh, Oregon Grape, Parsley, Queen of the Meadow, Red Clover, Sage, Sarsaparilla, Schizandra, Thyme, Uva Ursi, White Oak Bark, White Willow, Witch Hazel, Wormwood, Yarrow.

Antispasmodic
Antispasmodics can prevent or ease spasms and cramps in the body.
Black Cohosh,, Blue Cohosh, Blue Vervain, Boneset, Calamus, Chamomile, Cramp bark, Dill, Dong Quai, Fennel, Garlic, Hope, Hyssop, Lady’s Slipper, Licorice, Lobelia, Motherwort, Mullein, Oat Straw, Passion Flower, Pennyroyal, Pleurisy Root, Red Clover, St. John’s Root, Scullcap, Thyme, Valerian, Wild Yam.

Aphrodisiac
Herbs used to stimulate sexual potency and passion.
Angelica, Astragalus, Damiana, False Unicorn, Ginseng, Kava Kava, Muira Puama, Schizandra, Suma, Yohimbe.

Aromatic
Herbs that have a strong and often pleasant odor and can stimulate the digestive juices.
Angelica, Anise Seed, Catnip, Celery Seed, Chamomile, Cloves, Fennel, Feverfew, Garlic, Ginger, Ho-Shou-Wu, Juniper, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Sarsaparilla, Thyme, Valerian, Yerba Santa.

Astringent
Astringents contract tissue and can reduce secretions and discharges.
Agrimony, Bayberry, Bilberry, Blessed Thistle, Blue Vervain, Butcher’s Broom, Calendula, Cleavers, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Cordyceps, Cramp bark ,Cyani Flowers, Eyebright, Garcinia, Hops, Golden Seal, Hops, Male Fern, Muira Puama, Myrrh, Nettle, Periwinkle, Queen of the Meadow, Saw Palmetto, Schizandra, Slippery Elm, Squawvine, St. John’s Wort, Stone Root, Suma, Uva Ursi, White Oak Bark, Wild Cherry Bark, Witch Hazel, Wood Betony, Yarrow, Yellow Dock, Yucca.

Bitter
Herbs that taste bitter act as stimulating tonics for the digestive system.
Barberry, Blessed Thistle, Burdock, Catnip, Chamomile, Chaparral Leaf, Coltsfoot, Dong Quai, Elecampane, Eyebright, Feverfew, Gentian Root, Golden Seal, Hops, Ho-Shou-Wu, Hydrangea, Schizandra, Wormwood, Yellow Dock.

Cardiac Tonic
Cardiac tonics are herbs that act beneficially on the heart.
Cayenne , Cat’s Claw, Guggul, Hawthorn, Hops, Kelp, Motherwort, Myrrh, Reishi, Siberian Ginseng.

Carminative
Carminatives are rich in volatile oils and expel gas from the stomach and bowels.
Angelica, Catnip, Chamomile, Cloves, Dill, Elecampane, Fennel, Feverfew, Garlic, Ginger, Hops, Hyssop, Juniper, Motherwort, Pennyroyal, Pleurisy Root, Prickly Ash, Queen of the Meadow, Thyme, Valerian, Wild Yam, Wormwood, Yarrow, Yerba Santa.

Cathartic
In large doses cathartics purge the bowels and stimulate glandular secretions.
Barberry, Cascara Sagrada, Hydrangea, Mandrake, Rhubarb, Senna, Yellow Dock.

Cholagogue
Herbs that stimulate the release and secretion of bile from the gall bladder. They also have a laxative effect on the digestive system.
Barberry, Calendula, Dandelion, Gentian Root, Golden Seal, Mandrake, Milk Thistle, Oregon Grape, Wild Yam, Yellow Dock.

Demulcent
Herbs that are usually rich in mucilage and can soothe and protect damaged or inflamed tissue.
Chickweed, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Cornsilk, Fenugreek ,Garcinia, Irish Moss, Kelp, Licorice, Marshmallow, Milk Thistle, Mullein, Oat Straw, Psyllium, Pumpkin Seeds, Slippery Elm, Suma.

Depurative
Depuratives are herbs that remove impurities and cleanse the blood.
Black Walnut, Blessed Thistle, Burdock, Dandelion, Elderberry, Garlic, Gotu Kola, Oregon Grape, Pau d’Arco, Red Clover, Sarsaparilla, Watercress, Yarrow, Yellow Dock.

Diaphoretic
These herbs will aid the skin in the elimination of toxins through perspiration.
Angelica, Blessed Thistle, Black Cohosh, Blue Vervain, Boneset, Butcher’s Broom, Calendula, Catnip, Chamomile, Elecampane, , Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Passion Flower, Peppermint, Pleurisy Root, Prickly Ash, Sage, Sarsaparilla, White Willow, Yarrow.

Diuretic
Herbs that increase the flow of urine and help in the removal of toxins from the system.
Alfalfa, Astragalus, Bilberry, Blue Vervain ,Buchu, Burdock, Butcher’s Broom, Cleavers, Cornsilk, Cyani Flowers, Dandelion, Dill, Dong Quai, Elecampane, False Unicorn, Fennel, Golden Seal, Gotu Kola, Gravel Root, Hawthorn, Juniper, Marshmallow, Nettle, Parsley, Parthenium, Pleurisy Root, Prickly Ash, Red Clover, Safflower, Sarsaparilla, Saw Palmetto, Squawvine, Uva Ursi, White Willow, Yarrow.

Emetic
Emetics are herbs that cause vomiting when taken in specific doses (generally high doses).
Calamus, Elecampane, False Unicorn (in large doses), Lobelia, Mandrake, Poke root.

Emmenagogue
Herbs that stimulate and normalize the menstrual flow.
Black Cohosh, Blessed Thistle, Blue Cohosh, Blue Vervain, Butcher’s Broom, Calendula, Catnip, Chamomile, Cramp Bark, Dong Quai, False Unicorn, Fennel, Fenugreek, Feverfew, Ginger, Golden Seal, Hope, Lobelia, Motherwort, Myrrh, Pennyroyal, Prickly Ash, Squawvine, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Vitex, Wormwood, Yarrow .

Emollient
Herbs that are applied to the skin to soften, soothe, or protect it.
Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Fenugreek, Flaxseed, Irish Moss, Kelp, Marshmallow, Mullein, Slippery Elm.

Expectorant
Herbs that assist the body in expelling excess mucous from the respiratory system.
Anise Seed, Blue Vervain, Calamus, Chaparral Leaf, Chickweed, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Cordyceps, Elecampane, Fennel, Fenugreek, Garlic, Golden Seal, Horehound, Hyssop, Licorice, Ma Huang, Marshmallow, Mullein, Myrrh, Nettle, Pleurisy Root, Red Clover, Reishi, Schizandra, Slippery Elm, Thyme, Wild Cherry Bark, Yerba Santa.

Febrifuge
The febrifuges help the body to bring down fevers.
Angelica, Blessed Thistle, Boneset, Calendula, Cayenne, Gotu Kola, Lobelia, Peppermint, Prickly Ash, Rose Hips, Sage, Scullcap, White Willow, Wormwood.

Galactogogue
Herbs that help breast-feeding mothers increase the flow of mothers milk.
Blessed Thistle, Blue Vervain, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Horsetail, Marshmallow, Milk Thistle, Nettle , Vervain.

Hepatic
Hepatics strengthen and tone the liver as well as stimulate the flow of bile.
Barberry, Cascara Sagrada, Celery Seed, Cleavers, Dandelion, Fennel, Golden Seal, Mandrake, Milk Thistle, Motherwort, Oregon Grape, Prickly Ash, Wild Yam, Wormwood, Yarrow, Yellow Dock.

Hypnotic
Hypnotic herbs will help induce sleep (not a hypnotic trance).
Hops, Passion Flower, Lady’s Slipper, Scullcap, Valerian.

Hypotensive
Remedies that reduce elevated blood pressure.
Astragalus, Cat’s Claw, Hawthorn, Hops, Reishi, Valerian, Yarrow.

Laxative
Herbs that promote the evacuation of the bowels.
Barberry, Boneset, Burdock, Butcher’s Broom, Cascara Sagrada, Cleavers, Dandelion, Golden Seal, Licorice, Oregon Grape, Senna, Rhubarb, Yellow Dock.

Mucilage
Mucilaginous herbs contain gelatinous constituents and will often be demulcent.
Fenugreek, Flax Seed, Irish Moss, Kelp, Marshmallow, Parthenium, Psyllium, Slippery Elm.

Nervine
Herbs that strengthen and tone the nervous system, easing anxiety and stress.
Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Blue Vervain, Catnip, Chamomile, Cramp bark, Damiana, Feverfew, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Hops, Jamaican Dogwood, Lady’s Slipper, Motherwort, Oat Straw, Passion Flower, Periwinkle, Red Clover, Scullcap, Valerian, Wild Cherry Bark, Wormwood.

Oxytocic
Herbs that stimulate the contraction of the uterus.
Blue Cohosh, Dong Quai, Golden Seal, Red Raspberry, Squaw Vine.

Parasiticide
Herbs that can kill parasites in the digestive tract and on the skin.
Black Walnut, Blue Vervain, Chaparral Leaf, Cloves, Elecampane, Feverfew, Gentian Root, Pumpkin Seeds, Wormwood.

Pectoral
Herbs that have a general strengthening and healing effect on the respiratory system.
Angelica, Chickweed, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Elecampane, Golden Seal, Licorice, Marshmallow, Mullein, Slippery Elm.

Purgative
Can produce very strong laxative effects and watery evacuations.
Aloe Vera, Cascara Sagrada, Rhubarb, Senna, Yellow Dock .

Rubefacient
Herbs that simulate circulation locally when applied to the skin.
Capsicum, Cloves, Fennel, Ginger, Horseradish, Nettle, Peppermint, Prickly Ash.

Sedative
Herbs that can strongly quiet the nervous system.
Black Cohosh, Bugleweed, Catnip, Celery Seed, Chamomile, Cramp Bark, Hops, Kava Kava, Lady’s Slipper, Lobelia, Motherwort, Passion Flower, Periwinkle, Red Clover, Saw Palmetto, Scullcap, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Wild Yam.

Sialagogue
Herbs that stimulate the secretion of saliva from the salivary glands. Cayenne , Gentian Root, Ginger, Horseradish, Licorice, Prickly Ash, Rhubarb.

Stimulant
Herbs that quicken and enliven the physiological function of the body.
Angelica, Bayberry, Calamus, Calendula, Catnip, Cayenne, Cloves, Dandelion, Elecampane, False Unicorn, Fennel, Feverfew, Ginger, Ginkgo, Ma Huang, Muira Puama, Myrrh, Prickly Ash, Sarsaparilla, Schizandra, Valerian, Wild Yam, Wormwood, Yarrow.

Stomachic
Herbs that promote digestion and strengthen the stomach.
Catnip, Chamomile, Chickweed, Cloves, Elecampane, Fennel, Gentian Root, Ginger, Golden Seal, Papaya, Peppermint, Red Raspberry, Rhubarb, Wood Betony, Yerba Santa.

Tonic
The tonic herbs strengthen and tone either specific organs or the whole body through nutritional stimulation.
Alfalfa, Angelica, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Black Cohosh, Black Walnut, Boneset, Burdock, Calendula, Catnip, Cat’s Claw, Cayenne, Chamomile, Cleavers, Coltsfoot, Cordyceps, Cyani Flowers, Damiana, Dandelion, Echinacea, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Garlic, Gentian Root, Ginger, Siberian Ginseng, Golden Seal, Gotu Kola, Hawthorn, Hops, Ho-Shou-Wu, Hydrangea, Licorice, Male Fern, Milk Thistle, Motherwort, Muira Puama, Myrrh, Nettle, Oregon Grape, Poke root, Prickly Ash, Red Clover, Red Raspberry, Sarsaparilla, Saw Palmetto, Schizandra, Sheep Sorrel, Skullcap, Squawvine, Spirulina, Suma, Uva Ursi, Watercress, Wild Yam, Wormwood, Yarrow, Yellow Dock, Yohimbe.

Vulnerary
Herbs that help promote healing of external wounds and cuts.
Aloe Vera, Calendula, Chickweed, Comfrey, Elder Flower, Golden Seal, Horsetail, Hyssop, Male Fern, Marshmallow, Mullein, Myrrh, Plantain, Rhubarb, Sage, St. John’s Wort, Slippery Elm, Wood Betony.

Terminology for Medicinal Properties

Herb Woman

Herb Woman

Roots and herbs she gathers,
Morning, night and noon,
By the raising dog-star,
Underneath the moon.

In her fragrant kitchen
While the lost world sleeps,
Gentle midnight priestess,
She mixes and steeps.

Shakes the leafy brethren,
Sorts and scrapes with skill,
On her vibrant fingers
Wood and field and hill-

Poppy leaves and wormwood
Peony petals spilt,
Dreamy hop flowers added,
For a headache quilt.

Hands only made for healing,
Nostrils made for smell,
Forehead wide and yearning,
Eyes fixed in a spell.

With the loose prescriptions
Floating through her head,
Such are prayers she mutters
Ere she goes to bed.

By Eleanor C. Koenig

Herb Woman