General Instructions


The physician does not learn everything he must know and master at high college alone; from time to time he must consult old women, gypsies, magicians, wayfareers, and all manner of peasant foke and random people, and learn from them; for these have more knowledge about such things than all the high colleges....Therefore study each day without resprite, investigate and observe diligently; despise nothing, and do not lightly put too much trust in yourself. Do not be arrogant when in fact you are helpless, and do not regard yourself a master at the outset; for no one can achieve mastery without labor. Also, learn from those who are more experiences than you, for who can pretend to know everything? Who can be everywhere and know where all things lie? Therefore travel and explore everything, and whatever comes your way, take it without scorn and do not be ashamed to do so....For nature is so excellent in its gifts better benefit a man to know one herb in themeadow, but to know it thoroughly, than to see the whole meadow without knowing what grows on it.


Whether you intend to tincture or dry your herbs, a few basic rules apply.

Tree leaves should be gathered before Midsummer. After that, the percentage of natural insecticide in the leaf is too high.

Leaves and flowers are gathered on a dry day when the flowers first begin to open. They are laways dried in the shade.

Roots are generally gathered in the very early spring or in late fall after the plant has begun to die back.

Tree barks generally contain the desired medicinal properties in the soft inner layer (cambium) between the sapwood and the dead outer bark, or the bark of the root.

Herbal Dosages
The dosages indicated assume that the individual is a 150-pound adult. Children (75 pounds) recieve one-half the indicated amount. Infants (25 pounds) recieve a one-quarter dose, and newborns can get a dose through the mother's breast milk. The usual dose for a formula or tea is one-quarter cup three or four times a day, and not with meals.

(This is made like a tea.)

When Using Leaves or Flowers
Steep two teaspoons per cup of water for about twenty minutes. Strain and store in a refrigeated, airtight container. The dose is one-fourth of a cup four times a day, not with meals. Children take one-eigth cup, and infants can recieve the herbs through the mother's milk.

When Using Roots, Barks, Seeds and Twigs
Simmer two teaspons of plant matter for twenty minutes, strain, and store as above. The dose is one-fourth cup, four times a day, not with meals.

Or for a more scientific version...
Cover 30 gm of dried herb, or 60 gm fresh, with 500 ml of boiling water. Cover and leave to steep.

Herbal teas will stay fresh in your refrigerator for about one week when stored in an airtight container.

Instead of leaving the herb to steep, simmer it gently in the water.

Herbs that are useful for skin conditions (such as comfrey, lavender, calendula, pine needles, aloes, elecampane root, burdack, and elderflowers) can be made into salves. The ideal time to make a salve is summer, when the herbs are fresh and abumdant, but dried herbs can be used as well. Add green walnut hulls and whole, smashed horse chestnuts to the basic mixture for their skin-healing and painkilling qualities.

Simmer herbs in good quality olive oil in a large pot. In a seperate pot, melt and simmer three or four tablespoons for fresh beeswax (beeswax should be of a golden color with a stron honey scent) per cup of oil. Put enough oil in the pot to just cover the herbs. Simmer herbs in the oil for about twenty minutes. When the wax and oil reach the same tempature, pour in the wax. Strain and pour into clean jars. Tincture of benzoin (about one ounce per quart) may be added as a preservative while the salve is still liguid although it is not strictly necessary. The most important factor in controlling mold id to have immaculately clean and dry jars and utensils. Boiling followed by thorough drying is all that is usually needed. If you live in very hot and damp climates you may want to take the extra precaution of adding the tincture of benzoin.

Tinctures are made by grinding the leaves, roots, or other plant parts with a mortar and pestle (or a blender) and just barely covering them with a high-quality vodka, whiskey, or grain alcohol. After twenty-one days, add a small quantity of glycerine (about two tablespoons per pint) and about 10 percent per volume of spring water. Strain and store in amber glass airtight containers. Keep the herbal tinctures in a cool, dry place for up to five years.

The dose is generally twenty drops in a cup of herb tea or warm water four times a day. In acute or emergency situations the dose is given more frequently; in the case of labor pains, for example, it might be a dropperful every five minutes.

To make a poultice take fresh herbs or dried ones that have been soaked in freshly boiled water until soft. Mix them with just enough slippery elm powder to make the poultice stick together. Place it on the affected part and cover with a cloth or piece of gauze which has been wrung out in hot water. When the cloth cools, replace it with a hot one. For added protection from staining, clear plastic wrap can be wrapped around the pultice and cloth.

A formentation is a strong herbal tea in which a clean cloth is dipped (the cloth can also be filled with herbs). The cloth is then applied to the affected part.

Syrups are made by boiling three pounds of Sucanat (dessicated sugar cane juice) in one pint of water until a syrupy consistency is obtained and then steeping the herbs in the hot mixture for twenty minutes. The herbs can also be simmered directly in honey or maple syrup for about ten minutes. Use two teaspoons of herb for every cup of liquid. Strain the syrup and store it, well sealed, in the refrigerator.

Homeopathic Remedies:

Homeopaths use herbs in potentized form. Homeopathic remedies are extremely dilute versions of herbal tinctures prepared by trituration and sucussion. The remedies are so dilute that any preparation with the potency of 30C or higher will have no molecule of the original substance left, and yet the medicines still bear a unique molecular "signature" as evidenced by necular resonance testing. For this reason herbs and other substances which might be poisonous in material doses are given with no ill effects. The homeopath selects a remedy based on the "symptom picture." Mental, emotioal, and physical characteristics are examined and a remedy is selected that matches the person's unique configeration.

Homeopathic Dosages:
Over-the-counter homeopathic remedies tend to be sold in the lower potencies (6X, 6C, 12X, or 12C). Professional homeopaths will tend to use the higher potencies (30C, 200C, 1M, 10M, etc.). The lower potencies are safer for home care of acute (short-term) conditions. In general, homeopathic remedies are repeated more often (every hour or two hours) when given for acut conditios. Constitutional prescribing--precribing that takes the whole person (dietary preferences, exercise habits, emotional outlook, sleep, dreams, reproductive strength, allergies and sensitivities, history of illness, etc.) into account--my indicate a single dose of a higher potency.

Please, see your health care practitioner before making any changes to your method of health care.

Magickal Uses

This type of magick can be thought of as a way of fixing one's conscious and unconscious mind on a universal energy pattern as it manifests in the plant kingdom. As an example, white jasmine is a feminine, lunar herb of the element water. When ingested, she creates erotic emotions. For this reason, jasmine is an herb of choice for a love spell.

Spells are best worked at the waxing or full moon (unless you are attempting to banish something, in which case the waning moon is more appropriate). To work a simple spell, you need only to call in the sacred directions and then bury your herbs in the earth, cast them to living waters (a lake, pond, stream, or river, or the ocean), cast them to the air, cast them to the moon, or burn them so that the smoke may carry your intent to the Winds. Then, simply thank the directions and know that the spell has been activated.

Sometimes, it is appropriate to carry the herb with you. You might keep an acorn in your pocket to bring fertility to your creative acts. You might keep a certain herb, such as cinquefoil, in your home or bedroom to bless and protect. Or you might ritually sweep an area with juniper to clear out negative energies, or burn sage or frankincense for their purifying scent while setting up your altar.

The essence of an herbal ritual is in the reverence and intent that you bring to it. Choose your herbs with care, and always leave a gift for the earth when you take one of her plant 'children': a pinch of vervain, tobacco, or corn meal, or a gift of new honey or cider.

Always remember the debt we owe to the green kingdom. Without it there would be no air to breathe and no food to sustain all of the Earth's creatures, including ourselves.


The Herbal

The Herbal Shoppe