Healing with Herbs - Magic for the weekend Wiccan

Practical Magic: A Beginner's Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics, and Spells - Nikki Van De Car 2017

Healing with Herbs
Magic for the weekend Wiccan

Herbs for healing, herbs for spells… dance at dawn to welcome Beltane, and revel in your inner witch.



THERE’S SOMETHING DELIGHTFUL ABOUT THE PHRASE HERBAL tinctures. Elixir, too, has a tantalizingly old-fashioned magic to it. For better or worse, though, herbal remedies are not magical at all. Take aspirin: it was hailed as wonder drug in the early 1900s… but people had been chewing willow bark for centuries and achieving the same result. Both contain salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin that provides pain relief. We switched to swallowing aspirin instead of drinking willow bark tea because we were able to ingest a higher concentration of the salicylic acid all at once. Also (bonus!) we didn’t have to taste willow bark.

These days, pharmaceuticals are viewed with a little more caution and a little less enthusiasm. We’ve all dealt with our share of side effects, price-gouging, and concerns about addiction and overdose. The truth is that aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen is going to be far more effective than turmeric, stinging nettle, or willow bark. You’d need to eat a lot of turmeric to get the same level of pain relief that naproxen can give you. On the other hand, turmeric isn’t going to make your stomach bleed or cause kidney or liver problems, while naproxen might. If you’ve got a migraine or a slipped disc in your back, take the naproxen. If you’ve got a mild headache or some sore muscles, maybe consider flavoring your dinner with a lot of turmeric.

Herbs can help with a wide range of issues, from upset stomach to cramps to depression to allergy relief. You’re likely already familiar with (and use) various healing plants like echinacea, ginger, kava, and chamomile. But have you considered the benefits of catnip, milk thistle, and horse chestnut?

The easiest thing to do is to buy some supplements—but it may not be the best thing to do. It is also possible to do yourself harm with herbal remedies—they can interact with over-the-counter or prescription medications you may be on, and if you take more than the recommended dosage, you might start having trouble with your liver or blood pressure. And let’s be smart here—don’t take anything while pregnant without consulting with your doctor first.

If you use herbal remedies in tea or tincture form, you’re much less likely to take too much. It’s also just more fun—tending a healing garden, hanging herbs to dry, and making teas, tinctures, compresses, and pastes is nothing short of delightful. The hedge witches of old knew how to find and use every possible plant for every possible remedy—skills that were so impressive that they seemed like magic.