Hedgewitches work with both hands, with one to deal with the Living through such things as healing and seeking Otherworld guidance, and the other to deal with such things as cursing and the Dead and grittier cogs in the mechanics of the Universe. One way I practice healing is through herbalism, or wortcunning. I brew teas, make salves, and advise those I love and who trust me to do so in healing their bodies, minds, and spirits through herbs. As a cook, this is, in a way, fulfilling my greatest dream: healing through food, through the things which are put into the body, which ought to be natural and (almost) directly from the source, not processed in a factory, but created in that sacred act that is cooking or crafting with intent and purpose.
The following are some of the herbal remedies I utilize, and others that I’ve read of. There are salves, teas, capsules, poultices, soaps, washes, and extracts out there that incorporate certain herbs, and every plant on your street or land likely has a magico-medicinal use (I recommend staying local, or growing your own, but obviously this is not always possible, and buying organic from eco-friendly companies is your next best bet). If herbalism interests you, and you wish to make your own ointments and tonics, do the research; I am not a doctor, and am not responsible for what you concoct or put into your body.
If you have any personal recommendations or knowledge of related research under the following categories, please let me know! Likewise if you are interested in formulas and dosages, please contact me through comments or e-mail. Mainly this list is intended simply to give those interested in herbal remedies a place to begin their research, but I will provide recipes, remedies that I haven’t included in this generic list, my magico-medicinal uses of specific plants, and other things upon request; and I hope to start writing about magico-medicinal herbal formulas as I use them in my own life.
A Note on Comfrey, and Discernment: The FDA does not recommend comfrey for internal use, due to allegations of liver damage. However, the reports in question were of individuals who consumed large doses over very long periods of time, and they examined only a handful of those who use comfrey internally. A strain of comfrey is a staple of the diet of many Northern Australian natives, and it has been used the world over for thousands of years. Many continue to take daily doses of comfrey, and feed it to their livestock over the beasts’ entire lives, and the animals’ livers have been removed looking perfectly healthy. The leaves are also said to hold fewer toxins than the roots. The government should not determine what you put into your body; as with everything, look critically at all food- and medicine- (of whatever kind) related reports, and make your own decisions.
Addendum: Please do thorough research before mixing any herbal remedies with medical remedies. I do not take any medications or painkillers so I can’t speak for what interacts badly, but was warned in a comment below never to mix St. John’s Wort with psychiatric medication. Healthy bodies are fairly rugged, but be smart, do thorough research before ingesting anything, and start in small doses to see what your body likes and doesn’t.
Good luck in your herbalism studies! As the ADF saying goes, “When in doubt, consult your nearest tree.”
Pain: Valerian root, wild lettuce, and capsicum. Especially for toothache, headaches, and nervous tension; has a mild sedative effect on the nerve centers.
Arthritis, Gout, Bursitis: Yucca, bromelian powder, chaparral, alfalfa, anaphalis, burdock, comfrey, black cohosh, yarrow, cayenne, and lobelia. Reduces swelling, inflammation, and pain in the joints. These should be used as a salve or poultice to be applied to the painful joints.
Blood Purifier, Tumors, Acne: Barberry, burdock, cascara sagrada, chaparral, dandelion, licorice, red clover, sarsaparilla, yarrow, and yellow dock.
Calcium for Cramps, Fingernails, Hair, and Teeth: Alfalfa, comfrey, horsetail, Irish moss, and lobelia. Rich in natural silica, vitamin B-12, and trace minerals.
Asthma, Hay Fever, Allergies: Bee pollen, blessed thistle, black cohosh, scullcap, and pleurisy root.
Calm Nerves and Relieve Tension: Capsicum, lobelia, valerian root, black cohosh, mistletoe, ginger root, hops, wood betony, and St. John’s wort. Rebuilds frayed nerves and nerve sheaths. Taken over a long period of time, these herbs will rehabilitate the entire nervous system.
Common Cold, Flu, Sinus: Rose hips, chamomile, peppermint, slippery elm, yarrow, anaphalis, golden seal, Echinacea, cayenne, lemon grass, sage, ginseng, and myrrh. Clears mucous and improves immune function. Take freely at the onset of sickness.
Eye Wash, Film and Eye Lesions, Cataracts: Bayberry, eyebright, and golden seal. Use as a hot water wash, take internally, or use as eye drops.
Daily Contraceptives: Wild yam, neem, and pomegranate. As with every contraceptive, one should not place all their faith in these; the possibility of pregnancy still exists. Wild yam and neem can be used by both partners; do your research. At least one month, preferably two, should be allowed before these are used without a barrier method.
Implantation Inhibitors: Wild carrot seeds, rutin (vitamin P; at least 500 mg daily for several days or until menstruation begins), neem, smartweed, apricot kernels, ascorbic acid, rue, and cotton root bark. The all-natural “morning-after” contraceptive, these are taken daily or freely, depending, for several days after fertilization or until menstruation begins. Please do your research.
Mild Emmenagogues: Parsley, ginger, feverfew, yarrow, rosemary, and sage. To mildly promote menstruation.
Medium Strength Emmenagogues: Parsley, mugwort, black cohosh, juniper, and wild carrot seeds.
Strong Emmenagogues, Abortifacients: Pennyroyal, angelica, savin, rue, parsley, tansy, asafoetida, celery seed, birthwort, ascorbic acid, blue cohosh, and unripe pineapple. Cotton root bark when used alone.
To Induce Uterine Contractions: Blue cohosh, cotton seed and root, angelica, and marijuana. Induce contractions by stimulating oxytocin. Tansy, mugwort, juniper berries, and chamomile. Contain thujone, a uterine stimulant. Angelica root, blue cohosh, ginger, parsley, pennyroyal, and rosemary.
Uterine Stimulation: Angelica, black cohosh, ginger, horseradish, and wild carrot root and seeds.
To Increase Estrogen Levels: Soy bean, black cohosh, blue cohosh, wild carrot, and pomegranate seeds.
Uterine Complaints, Inflammation: Red raspberry, golden seal, meadowsweet, spotted thistle, marshmallow, lobelia, ginger, and capsicum.
Libido: Horny goat weed/epimedium. This is one you’re going to find in the store, as fairy wings are mostly found in southern China and Japan; look for 500 mg capsules that contain at least 10% icariin. Two to four capsules a day will have your libido back in no time.
Intestinal Flu, Diarrhea, Nausea: Ginger, capsicum, golden seal, licorice, and anaphalis.
Herbal “Pick-Me-Up”: Gotu kola, ginseng, and capsicum.
Heart Health: Garlic, hawthorn berries, and capsicum.
Hypoglycemia: Licorice, safflowers, horseradish, and dandelion. Corrects adrenal and pancreatic gland imbalances, and lowers stress levels.
Infection for Hypoglycemia: Echinacea, myrrh gum, poke root, and capsicum. Aids the body in eliminating infection in people with hypoglycemia, who sometimes have reactions to golden seal.
“Pick-Me-Up” for Hypoglycemics: Soy bean, red clover, and capsicum.
High Blood Pressure: Garlic and capsicum.
Coughs, Nasal Congestion, Sore Throat: Comfrey and fenugreek.
Kidney and Urinary Diuretic: Bearberry, parsley, dandelion, sassafras, juniper berries, and chamomile.
Anemia: Alfalfa, kelp, kale, and dandelion. Builds energy and provides the body with vitamins and minerals. I struggle a great deal with anemia myself.
Colitis, Lower Bowels: Barberry bark, red clover, lobelia, ginger, and capsicum. Improves intestinal absorption, cleans away years of old toxic fecal matter, rebuilds bowel structure, and normalizes peristalic action of the bowels. If you are interested in naturally cleansing the bowels in such a way, please let me know; it’s a long process and I have plenty of other edible aids.
Ear Infections, Tonsillitis, Lymph Nodes: Echinacea, golden seal, poke root, and capsicum. Cleanses all glands, especially the lymphatic system. Comfrey root, mullein, marshmallow, slippery elm, and lobelia. Heals the respiratory system and clears mucus from the bronchial passages.
Liver Disorder: Dandelion, beet root powder, liverwort, parsley, horsetail, birch leaves, lobelia, chamomile, spotted thistle, angelica, gentian, golden rod, and golden seal. Cleans and heals the liver, gallbladder, and spleen.
Flu and Fever: Fenugreek and thyme. Reduces fever and symptoms, such as headaches and mucus.
Diabetes, Pancreas: Bistort, buchu, blueberry leaves, garlic, comfrey, dandelion, eyebright, golden seal, yarrow, marshmallow, juniper, bearberry, mullein, capsicum, and licorice.
Prostate Health: Cranberry, kelp, black cohosh, gotu kola, licorice, golden seal, lobelia, capsicum, zinc, and ginger.
Weight Loss Aid: Apple cider vinegar, chickweed, licorice, saffron, gotu kola, mandrake, Echinacea, black walnut, hawthorn, and fennel.
Cleanse Aid: Gentian, catnip, golden seal, barberry bark root, myrrh gum, yellow dock, bugle weed, Irish moss, comfrey, fenugreek, pink root, chickweed, cyani flowers, and mandrake. Cleans toxins from the body, purifies the blood, and fights cancer.
Thyroid Function: Irish moss, kelp, parsley, and capsicum. Aids the kidney, liver, and pancreas while revitalizing and healing the thyroid, relieving nervous tension and balancing metabolism.
Ulcers, Colitis: Myrrh gum, golden seal, and capsicum.
Heavy Periods, Menstrual Cramps: Periwinkle, agrimony, yarrow, Lady’s mantle, red raspberry leaf, black haw, and sage.
Colon Parasites: Pumpkin seeds, black walnut, mandrake, poke root, Culver’s root, mullein, and slippery elm.