Herb Spotlight: Milk Thistle for Liver Health

Herb Spotlight, Herbalism

The milk thistle is from the same family of plants as the artichoke, but unlike that tasty treat, it doesn’t have a large bulb-shaped flower. It is commonly known as holy thistle and Mary thistle. Based on folklore we have surmised that this plant got its name when three drops of milk from the Great Goddess’s breast dropped onto the leaf. As religion shifted the lore began to tell the tale using the Virgin Mary. It is commonly known as a powerful and nourishing liver herb as well as a protective herb in pagan herbalism.

Scientific Name: Silybum marianum

Magickal Stats: Elementally fire, ruled by Mars

Parts Used: Seeds

Improves Function Of:

  • Liver Restorative
  • Spleen Tonic
  • Vascular Tonic

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Inflammatory, infections, & degenerative liver disease
  • Swollen spleen
  • Asthma
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Varicose veins

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Protection
  • Fending off evil
  • Attract Good


How Does It Work?

The main ingredient in milk thistle is Silymarin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. According to many sources, milk thistle has been used historically for liver disorders like cirrhosis and hepatitis. In the 2008 HALT-C study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that Hepatitis C patients who did use milk thistle had both milder and fewer symptoms of liver disease with a somewhat better quality of life. Milk thistle was also suggested as a factor in enhancing standard treatment for pneumonia.

What Do I Do With It?

Milk thistle is taken as an herbal supplement, found usually in capsules. It can also be made into a tea. It has shown to have very few side effects if any. Most people just cite gastrointestinal discomfort. Those with diabetes, heart condition, fibroid tumors, and endometriosis should consult their doctor before taking milk thistle internally.

Magickally it can be used in multiple ways. Simply place a bowl of milk thistle seeds in a room and restore the vitality. We can gather strength from growing milk thistle or carrying a seed in our pocket. Many witches suggest it can be used to expel demons, some also call spirits by boiling the seeds in water. Or divine questions by boiling water and adding thistle seeds before meditating on a question.





Herb Spotlight: Marjoram

Herb Spotlight

It still isn’t clear exactly where this thought came from but as I was organizing my cooking herbs and spices something sprung into my head, “Get marjoram”. The thought was odd because I’ve never really cooked with marjoram before. As I sat here trying to decide what herb I wanted to research today it became quite clear that it was time to more about mystical marjoram.

Ancient Greek mythology states that the Goddess Aphrodite used to grow marjoram which inspired many kitchen witches to use the common cooking herb in love potions.

Scientific Name: Origanum vulgare [aka: wintersweet, sweet marjoram, marjolaine, joy of the mountains]

Magickal Stats: Elementally water, ruled by Venus and Mars

Parts Used: leaf, essential oil, flower

marjoramImproves Function Of:

  • Digestive System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Immune System
  • Neurological System

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of: 

  • Mumps, Measles, Malaria, Common Cold, Typhoid, Tetanus Infection in Wounds
  • Stomach ache & Cramp, nausea & vomiting, flatulence & diarrhea
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor circulation
  • Sore muscles & joints, toothache, pain, back ache
  • Insomnia, Stress, Anxiety, & minimizing emotional outbursts
  • PMS & imbalanced sexual desire

Assists Spiritually With: 

  • Offertory to Goddess Aphrodite
  • Bringing strength to marriage
  • Protect a home

What Do I Do With It?

Marjoram tea is made in various strengths for digestion aide, immune system boost, and to calm the nerves and relieve anxiety. Applying marjoram topically helps to relieve aching joints and cramping muscles, this can be done by adding the herb or oil to a topical cream or by just applying the essential oil directly to the painful spot. Essential oil of marjoram can be diffused to help with the same ailments as tea, because of this I recommend inhaling the tea as it cools off.

To bless a house, dried marjoram can be sprinkled around the perimeter of a home as a representation of familial love. It can also be offered to the Goddess Aphrodite to entice strength in a marriage. Similarly, marjoram is often one of the main components in love potions.


Herb Spotlight: Hops for Insomnia

Herb Spotlight

The most common use of hops is in beer but it also has healing properties due to it’s relationship to cannabis and the terpenes it gives off. Hops are valuable and that is probably how beer became so coveted in modern society. Like cannabis we use the flower for healing.

Scientific Name: Humulus lupulus [aka: beer bud]

Magickal Stats: Elementally air, ruled by the moon

Parts Used: flowerhops--32-l.jpg

Improves Function Of:

  • Appetite & Digestion

Aides In Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Nervous agitation, restlessness, anxiety & hysteria
  • Sleeplessness
  • Nervous stomach & irritable bladder
  • Wet Dreams, premature ejaculation
  • Decreases abnormally high male libido, priapism

Assists Spiritually With:

  • prophetic dreaming
  • ease the ill into tranquil sleep

How Does It Work?

One of the four oils found in hops is myrcene, a terpene that can help calm nervous anxiety and also relieve sleepless nights. It also has antibacterial properties that can be very effective when used topically.

What Do I Do With It?

The first thing that we can do is drink a beer. If you’re allergic to alcohol like I am you might prefer cannabis or a tincture. Find or make a topical balm or lotion for antibacterial healing. Put in an the sickroom  under a pillow to deliver ease in sleep for the ill. Also put in a satchet under the pillow to induce prophetic dreaming.

Herb Spotlight: Tea Tree for Everything

Herb Spotlight

Almost every home made disinfectant that I make includes tea tree oil, probably because it is a natural antiseptic and anti bacterial. The plant derives from Australia where Aboriginals were seen making tea out of the leaves and sailors followed suit to prevent scurvy. I like to burn it in my diffuser when we’ve been sick or whenever things just don’t feel clean in my home. I really became acquainted with tea tree after our last little kitten rescue brought ringworm into our house. None of the store bought creams were working and I was so frustrated. Tea tree took it out in 2 days, amazing. This is a great oil for anyone with pets or kids to have around the house, and it can do even more than get rid of ringworm. It is only applied topically and used in aromatherapy.

Scientific Name: Melaleuca alternifolia

Magickal Stats: Ruled by Mercury & the Moon

Parts Used: essential oil made from the bark and leaves

Improves Function of:

  • Immume System; skin’s response to heal

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Acne, athlete’s foot
  • Lice & Scabies
  • Cuts, abrasion, boils, herpes & vaginal abrasions
  • Infections of the mouth & nose; sore throat, toothache
  • Cough, bronchial congestion, pulmonary inflammation

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Warding off evil; cleansing & protection
  • Healing Rituals
  • Clear energy blockages
  • Encourage strength

How Does It Work?

Chemicals found in the oils pressed from the leaves of a tea tree plant are found to be anti fungal and kill bacteria. Applied topically it will help to rid the body of abrasions and other skin ailments.

What Do I Do With It?

Dab directly into the skin after applying to a cotton ball for help with bacterial infections and other skin ailments. When mixed with herbs that calm tea tree’s super antiseptic qualities it is perfect in acne cleansing beauty products. When put into a diffuser it can pull bacteria out of the air and help relieve the air in sickrooms. It will clear energy blockages in the upper chakras and wards off demons in the wake of cleansing and protection. Add it to a talisman or amulet and encourage strength in the wearer.



Herb Spotlight: Green Tea for All the Antioxidants

Herb Spotlight

Modern society has been well aware of the benefits of green tea for many years and asian cultures have long enjoyed the plant’s medicinal benefits through tea ceremonies. Green Tea is an alternative caffeine source to coffee for those trying to kick the habit. It’s also a great afternoon beverage for those that aren’t too susceptible to caffeine. Many studies have shown green tea to help stimulate weight loss as well as boost the immune system. Aside from this, green tea is absolutely delicious whether it’s hot or cold and the flavor mixes quite well with other herbs.

Scientific Name: Camellia sinesis

Magickal Stats: Elementally Fire, Ruled by the Sun

Parts Used: Leaf, bud, stem, liquid extract of the dried leaf

Improves Function Of:

  • Urinary System
  • Immune System & Defense of Free Radicals
  • Cancer prevention

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Inflammation & Metabolic Stress
  • Dental cavities & mild gum disease

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Bring about balance
  • Highlight courage & strength

How Does It Work?

High amounts of catching, flavonoids and other phenolic compounds make green tea six times more antioxidants than black tea. When the fresh leaves are steamed the release polyphenols which have shown to be anti-inflammatory as they lessen joint degradation and protect bones & cartilage. Regular ingestion can also hinder HPV and the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix. The other benefits are from the caffeine increasing the release of neurotransmitters.

What Do I Do With It?

Most people make either hot or cold tea out of the leaves but green tea can also be put into beauty recipes for the antioxidants and liquid extract can be taken orally for the medicinal effects. Put into a satchets and burned to ensure future riches and put into talisman for encouragement in strength and courage. Lastly it’s a great base ingredient for “lust beverages”.


Herb Spotlight: Frankincense for Detox and Amplified Thought Patterns

Herb Spotlight

I think that everyone has heard of frankincense, it’s in the bible after all. But does anyone know just how valuable it is? Frankincense can strengthen hair and gums while also detoxing and purifying the liver and kidneys. It contains valuable terpenes and oils and is one of the more healing herbs in the lineup. Most frequently it’s used for aromatherapy but is also valuable when ingested using the right techniques.

Scientific Name: Boswellia carter [aka: olibanum]

Magickal Stats: Elementally fire, ruled by the Sun

Parts Used: root, essential oil

Improves Function Of:

  • Strength of Gums, skin & Hair RootsFrankincense ILlustration
  • Arthritis
  • Immune System
  • Estrogen production & uterus
  • Respiratory tract and lungs

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Bleeding wounds
  • Acne, cuts, insect bites & boils
  • Bronchitis

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Connect with the Divine
  • Opening to higher levels of being
  • Protection & Sanctification
  • Promote Success

How Does it Work? 

There are tons of terpenes found in frankincense that give it it’s aroma as well as it’s healing properties. Pinene, linalool, alpha pinene, phelladrene, camphene and insensole are just some of these terps. Monoterpenes found in the oils of frankincense help to prevent toxins and detox the liver and kidney among other amazing astringent and antibacterial effects. Sesquiterpenes can stimulate many parts of the brain including the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands.

What Do I Do With It?

One of the more common uses of frankincense oil is to diffuse it for the aromatherapy. It can also be applied directly to skin or combined with a carrier oil and applied to skin. Anyone 7 and older can diffuse the oil in coconut oil or other oils and hold under tongue until dissolved. Also think of adding it to bathwater or place on cloth and inhale.

Herb Spotlight: Cardamom for a Happy Belly

ayurveda, Herb Spotlight

Cardomom seeds add such a vibrant, deeply wooded flavor to stews and other dishes. It’s always a surprise when I’m struck with a big seed in my spoonful of kitchari but the flavor is kind of refreshing. Which is why I’m not surprised that in some Asian cultures chewing a cardamom seed is a remedy for bad breath. It also helps the gassy people get it all out, which is beneficial for everyone!

Scientific Name: Elettaria cardamomum Cardamom Illustration[aka: brown cardamom, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Kravan, white cardamom, Siamese cardamom, and red cardamom]

Magickal Stats: Elementally air, ruled by Mars, Mercury & Uranus

Parts Used: Seeds, essential oil

Improves Function of:

  • Liver & Gallbladder
  • Digestive System

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Flatulence & Colic
  • Nausea & Stomach Issues
  • Bad breath, tooth & mouth issues

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Promoting the combination of love, attraction and a union of equals
  • Enhance inspiration in a project

How Does It Work? 

Cardamom has a lot of antioxidants which makes it great for healing skin and bulking up the immune system. It also contains a volatile oil that aides in digestion and treats intestinal spasms and other stomach issues. This oil also helps to move blocked food through the intestines and digestive tract. I commonly use these seeds in kitchari, an Ayurvedic and Indian stew that helps regulate the digestive system.

What Do I Do With It? The seeds can be cooked or made into a tea just as long as the oil is extracted from them before taking orally. Essential oils can also be put into a bath for stress and depression relieving aromatherapy. Also simply chewing the seeds can remove bad odors from the mouth.

Herb Spotlight: Saffron for Depression

Herb Spotlight

I haven’t ever had the flush grocery budget to get saffron, and it’s expensive for a reason. It takes 75,000 flowers to make 1 lb. of saffron. It has been around for ages as it’s been referenced in the Bible, was used as a royal dye and salve in Grecian society and often adorned those in Roman baths. With it’s red color and vibrant flavor I don’t think it’s surprising that this is a fire herb ruled by the Sun. That also explains why I’m so interested in it and all of the medicinal things it can do. I already know that it goes into some Indian and other Asian dishes to give them that very specific flavor set.

Scientific Name: Crocus sativus

Magickal Stats:  Elementally Fire, Ruled by the Sun

Saffron Illustration
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Parts Used: the whole plant

Improves Function Of: 

  • Urinary system
  • Nervous System as related to pain

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Women’s Menstrual Issues
  • Depression
  • Gassiness & Flatulence
  • Nerve Pain
  • Asthma, Cough & Whooping Cough
  • Premature Ejaculation and infertility in men

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Cleansing, healing, purification & consecration
  • Clairvoyance & Divination
  • Psychic Development
  • Spell Breaking
  • Raising Wind

How Does It Work? The is insufficient evidence to support exactly how saffron is working. To get the benefits and stay safe always check with a doctor before adding saffron as a treatment in any way.

What Do I Do With It? The best way to use saffron is to cook with it. Saffron can also be added to teas and warm milks for help as a diuretic, carminative and for setting the stage for spell craft.

Herb Spotlight: Devil’s Claw

Herb Spotlight, Lifestyle

WARNING: If you have any issues with gastric or duodenal ulcers please consult a physician before using. Large doses of Devil’s Claw can produce obstruction of the bile ducts or intestines along with producing colic in cases of gallstones.

When I was suffering with severe acne I heard that Devil’s Claw would be a nice way to cleanse my toxins and clear my skin. Later in life when I was researching the best ways to fight arthritic pain naturally I learned that it is valuable for those suffering with chronic arthritis. Turns out these effects are all due to the inflammation relief provided by Devil’s Claw. Also, shout out to another one of those super metal herb names, makes me feel like a real witch using names like Devil’s Claw and Mugwort. The herbs gets it’s name from the hook shaped tubers that attach to the fur of animals and eventually spread the seeds. Cool, huh? Nature really trips me out sometimes.

Scientific Name: Harpagophytum procumbens [aka: arthritis tea, grapple plant, hook plant]

Magickal Stats: Elementally water, ruled by Saturn

Parts Used: roots, tubers

Improves Function Of:devils claw

  • Metabolism
  • Digestive System
  • Lymphatic & Blood detoxification

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Arthritis, tendonitis, lower back pain
  • Acne, psoriasis and skin maladies
  • Slow metabolism & Poor appetite
  • Insufficient production of bile & digestive issue

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Relieve pain and support health
  • Confuse and Confound an enemy
  • Remove negativity

How Does It Work? Studies have been inconclusive on the exact properties that make Devil’s Claw a healing herb, but it has been used for generations in Europe. It provides anti-inflammatory and pain relief effects but it also has some adverse effects. If you are hypoglycemic I would avoid this remedy because it can lower blood sugar levels and work against you. Similarly it can produce excess bile and upset ulcers and should be avoided for this reason as well.

What Do I Do With It? Devil’s Claw is both applied topically and taken internally. Take internally to fight inflammation and create more bile to help digestive issues. Apply topically to fight acne and other skin ailments.

Herb Spotlight: Wood Betony for the Brain

Herb Spotlight

WoodBetony1.jpgThis herb has such a spritely name and is said to have immense healing properties. There are many old phrases from Spain to Italy citing the encompassing powers of wood betony but today it isn’t as highly regarded. In America this isn’t a highly known herb, but I saw it in a tincture and became very interested in it’s healing powers. Specifically this is a great option for headaches and migraines and is also used to fight the common cold. The name is derived from Celtic Bew meaning head and ton meaning good, it’s good for the head.

Breakdown of Wood Betony

Scientific Name: Stachys officinalis [aka: betony, bishops-wert]

Magickal Stats: Elementally Earth, ruled by Jupiter & Mercury

Improves Function Of: 

  • Nervous System
  • Respiratory System

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Cough, Bronchitis & Asthma
  • Nervousness & Anxiety
  • Headache, Toothache & Neuralgia
  • Colic & Gastrointestinal Spasm
  • Recovery from Addiction
  • Stress, Anxiety & Dizziness

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Protect & Purify Any Space
  • Connect & Channel Elementals
  • Encourage fairness & justice
  • Cleanse auric energies

How Does it Work?

The chemicals in Betony are said to decrease blood pressure which is probably why it aides in ailments of the head. It is commonly used to aide in anxiety aWoodBetonynd neuralgia, both brain based ailments. Aside from the listed symptom relief, Betony can also relieve diarrhea, kidney stones and epilepsy among other ailments.

What Do I Do With it?

For centuries, the leaves of wood betony have been used to create a drinkable tonic. Find the herb growing in temperate woods and thickets. It has a lingering warm taste that is both a sign of its place in the mint family and it’s warming, healing properties. Make an oil or a tonic to be taken alone or added to tinctures for countless healing benefits. Anoint yourself with the oil to cleanse the auric field. It is an obscure herb that is very hard to find, inquire with the apothecary you go to before making any long trips to find betony.