What is a Witches Garden?
A Witches Garden is an herb garden specifically designed and used for the cultivation of cooking and magickal, and/or medicinal herbs.
Herb gardens developed from the general gardens of the ancient classical worlds, used for growing vegetables, flowers, fruits and medicines. For centuries the wise women and healers understood the magick with the herbs for healing and magickal intent. During the medieval period, monks and nuns acquired this medical knowledge and grew the necessary herbs in specialized gardens. Later, in fear of losing their power over the common people, all others; Wise Women and healers we call Witch and Evil for the same healing they had be honored for centuries before.
Typical plants found within a Witches Garden are:
Rosemary: Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory, and has been used as a symbol for remembrance (during weddings, war commemorations and funerals) in Europe, probably as a result of this reputation. Mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead.
Magical attributes: Improve memory, sleep, purification, youth, love, power, healing, protection, intellectual.
Uses: Promotes healing of wounds, acts as an antiseptic, and can be a mild stimulant. Good in teas for treating flu, stress, and headaches or body aches. Mental and physical booster. Used for treating (oil form) muscular sprains, arthritis, rheumatism, depression, fatigue, memory loss, migraine headaches, coughs, flu and diabetes. Excellent remedy for acne or cellulite. When the leaves are soaked in wine for two weeks, small glasses may be taken as a digestive aid. Oil of rosemary is excellent in hair conditioners, and the flowers of this herb may be added to lotion recipes to improve the complexion. Add to all purification bath sachets, love incenses, and protection incenses. Make a simple of rosemary and use it to cleanse the hands before working magic, if you have no time for a regular ritual bath. Burn rosemary and juniper as a healing and recuperation incense.
Magical attributes: Used for smudging the house. Fertility, longevity, wishes, wisdom, protection, healing, health.
Uses: Can be used in an infusion to aid digestion, or as part of a honey wine to fight colds and fever. When applied in compresses it can ease many skin discomforts, including dandruff. If made into cream it is good for muscular pain, and if dried and smoked sometimes gives relief to asthma. Modern evidence supports its effects as an antihydrotic, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic.
Internally: for indigestion, gas, liver complaints, excessive lactation, excessive perspiration, excessive salivation, anxiety, depression, female sterility, menopausal problems.
Externally: for insect bites, throat, mouth, gum, skin infections, vaginal discharge.
Parsley: Tea may be used as an enema. Chinese and German herbologists recommend parsley tea to help control high blood pressure, and the Cherokees used it as a tonic to strengthen the bladder. When crushed and rubbed on the skin, parsley can reduce itching in mosquito bites. When chewed, parsley can freshen bad breath.
Magical attributes: dried root decoctions eases arthritis. Externally, may be applied in poultice form to sprains.
Uses: Widely used as a culinary herb
Mint: (SPEARMINT & PEPPERMINT)
Magical attributes: Money, healing, strength, augment power, luck, travel.
Uses: Mint in tea form aids upset stomachs, flu, and can be used to ease hiccups. Inhalations of the leaves in boiling water is recommended for head colds and asthma. Mint tea used instead of aspirin is great for headaches, particularly pre menstrual headaches. Nervous headaches can be relieved if you lie in a dark room with fresh peppermint leaves on the forehead. Aids the respiratory and circulatory systems. An anti-inflammatory and an antiseptic. Ideal for treating indigestion, flatulence, varicose veins, headaches, migraines, skin irritations,rheumatism, toothache, and general fatigue.
Magical attributes: Cat magic, familiars, joy, friendship, love.
Uses: Its flowers and leaves have often been used to treat colds and insomnia. It lowers fevers, dries up post nasal drip, gets rid of bad headaches and relieves sore aching bones due to colds and flus, when taken in tea form, 2-3 times daily. As an incense it may be used to consecrate magical tools.
Henbane: It was historically used in combination with other plants, such as mandrake, deadly nightshade, and datura as an anaesthetic potion, as well as for its psychoactive properties in "magic brews." These psychoactive properties include visual hallucinations and a sensation of flight.
Magical uses: Carried to attract the love of a woman. Was once used as an ingredient in a Witches flying ointment. Henbane is extremely poisonous and the upmost caution is urged.
Magical attributes: protection, love, healing.
Uses: Add to all love charms, place a piece in rooms for protection. Give to a grieving person to bring them happiness.
Thyme: Ancient Egyptians used thyme in embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing that thyme was a source of courage. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavour to cheese" and liqueurs". In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. (Huxley 1992). In this period, women would also often give knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffins during funerals as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life.
Uses: A tea made by infusing the herb in water can be used for cough and bronchitis. Medicinally thyme is used for respiratory infections in the form of a tincture, tisane, salve, syrup or by steam inhalation. Because it is antiseptic, thyme boiled in water and cooled is very effective against inflammation of the throat when gargled 3 times a day. The inflammation will normally disappear in 2 - 5 days. Other infections and wounds can be dripped with thyme that has been boiled in water and cooled.
Magical attributes: Sleep, psychic energy, courage, healing, purification incense, magickal cleansing baths, a renewing of one's personal energy, warding off of negative energy.
More Uses: Powerful antibacterial, antibiotic, and diuretic properties. It helps eliminate wastes from the body. It is used in treating whooping coughs, warts, rheumatism and acne. A strong antiseptic which when prepared by infusion is useful for poor digestion, exhaustion, colds, and infections, and with honey is an effective treatment for sore throats. Also used in tea form as a fever breaker, headache reducer and to be rid of intestinal worms, and can be used as a mouthwash. Also, a great insect repellent. Use both the leaves and flowers. This tea works best for headaches when taken cold. Take a magical cleansing bath in the spring of thyme and marjoram ( used in tea form or whole herbs). A pillow stuffed with it cures nightmares.
Magical uses:Protection, preventing illness, clearness of mind, purification of ritual spaces and tools, clearing the mind of emotional clutter.
Caution should be taken with using rue topically. When applied to the skin with sun exposure, the oil and leaves can cause blistering. Rue oil can cause severe stomach pain, vomiting and convulsions and may be fatal.
Magical attributes: Protection, Exorcism.
Uses: Grow in the garden as a protection. Carry the root with you as an amulet. Burn the dried leaves in exorcism rituals.
Bay Leaves: Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance. Laurus nobilis, is a culinary herb often used to flavor soups, stews, and braises and pâtés in Mediterranean Cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying.
Magical attributes: Psychic visions and dreams, repels negativity and evil.
Oregano: Oregano is often used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes.
The leaves and flowering stems are strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and mildly tonic. Oregano is taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upsets and painful menstruation. It is strongly sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. Used topically, oregano is one of the best herbal antiseptics because of its high thymol content
Magical attributes:Useful in love charms. May also be hung in childrens rooms to protect them from evil spirits and protect against bad dreams.
Uses: A culinary herb. Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called "dill weed" to distinguish it from dill seed) are used as herbs. Like caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic, and are used to flavor many foods, such as gravlax (cured salmon), borscht and other soups, and pickles (where sometimes the dill flower is used). Dill is said to be best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried; however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months. Dill seed is used as a spice, with a flavor similar to caraway. Dill oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant.
Magical attributes: A pot of basil herb grown in your kitchen keeps the area safe from negative spirits. Protection, love, wealth (if carried in your wallet), healing relationships, ensuring faithfulness in a mate, courage, fertility, exorcism.
Uses: It is good as a tea for calming the nerves, settling the stomach, and easing cramps and good for the bladder. In tincture form, also makes a good hair rinse for brunettes. An ingredient of the Purification bath sachet. Add to love sachets and incenses.
With the advance of medical and botanical sciences in Renaissance Europe, monastic herb gardens developed into botanical gardens.
Mugwort: In the Middle Ages, mugwort was used as a magical protective herb. Mugwort was used to repel insects, especially moths, from gardens. Mugwort has also been used from ancient times as a remedy against fatigue and to protect travelers against evil spirits and wild animals. Roman soldiers put mugwort in their sandals to protect their feet against fatigue.
Much used in witchcraft, mugwort is said to be useful in inducing lucid dreaming and astral travel, perhaps proof once again of the hallucinogenic potency of its chemicals. Consumption of the plant, or a tincture thereof, prior to sleeping is said to increase the intensity of dreams, the level of control, and to aid in the recall of dreams upon waking. One common method of ingestion is to smoke the plant. Colloquially, this practice is known as "Having a tasp before having a nap." wikipedia
Magical uses: Clairvoyance, psychic dreams, astral projection, protection. Place in the shoes for protection and to prevent fatigue on long journeys. The fresh leaves rubbed on a magick mirror or crystal ball will strengthen divinatory abilities. Mugwort is perhaps the most widely used Witches herb of all time.
Planning the Witches Garden
Witches choose their herbs to match their magickal intent.
What are the herbs used for?
Every Witch worthy of her craft has an herb garden. Though simple in design, the Witches' garden contains a wealth of magical material that matches his or her magickal intent; from which he or she concocts sachets, incenses, aromatic oils and charm-bags.
Herbs are used in rituals and in every day cooking as well.
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