A Simple Ritual for the Autumn Equinox

Hedgerow Vintage

The Autumn Equinox is the gateway to the Autumn and Winter. It is the time in the year when we give thanks to the beautiful sun, and the rich earth that have provided endless harvests over the summer months. I feel blessed to live in a Country that has such vivid seasons, they keep us moving forward and remind us gently that nothing lasts forever.

I like to keep my seasonal rituals simple, so here are a few ideas of how to say your own thank you to the wonderful sun and our beautiful earth…

Gather any of the below items to make a small ‘altar’, you can also make an incense to burn from the ideas listed, or pick some herbs to dry to make a smudge stick. I like to try to be outside for the sunset on the equinox. Have a small fire, somewhere safe, the back…

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Sage the Savior by Susun S Weed

Good Witches Homestead

Does the odor of sage evoke warmth, cheer, and holiday feasts for you? Sage has long been used to add savor, magic, and medicine to winter meals. Culinary sage is available at any grocery store, and sage is one of the easiest of all herbs to grow — whether in a pot, on a windowsill, or in the garden. So, grab some sage, inhale deeply, and let me tell you more about this old friend.

Sage is Salvia, which means “savior.” As a member of the mint family, it has many of the healing properties of its sisters. Of special note are the high levels of calcium and other bone-building minerals in all mints, including sage, and the exceptionally generous amounts of antioxidant vitamins they offer us. 

Everywhere sage grows — from Japan to China, India, Russia, Europe, and the Americas — people have valued it highly and used…

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Valerian Root Benefits: How to Use Nature’s Wonder Root

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

When Hippocrates had a headache, it’s possible he enjoyed a nice steaming cup of valerian root tea. The ancient Greek physician was one of the first to describe the therapeutic benefits of valerian root.

Since the early days in Greece and Rome, people sought the benefits of valerian for everything from head discomfort to heart health, nervousness, feminine issues, and the blues. Valerian brings some unique mythological history as well. People once used it to keep away troublesome elves — stay away Dobby! — and folklore experts believe it helped the Pied Piper lure rats away from town.

What Is Valerian?

Garden valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is also known as garden heliotrope, Tagar (in Ayurvedic medicine), cut-finger, and all-heal — funny names for a potent plant! The species originally grew in Asia and Europe, but it now grows throughout North America, as well. Its scientific name derives from the Latin…

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Astragalus; Adaptogen Herb for Stress and Balance

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are herbs that help us adapt to changes and stress caused by physical, biological, emotional, and environmental factors. They can assist in restoring balance within the body and help us defend against both chronic and acute stressors.

One of my favorite adaptogens is astragalus.

Astragalus (Astragalus Membranaceus)

Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb often used in Chinese medicine. It is calming to the Central Nervous System (CNS) and has antimicrobial properties. Astragalus helps support respiratory functions making it useful in times of infection and useful for allergies and asthma. This herb thought to boost the immune system, increase energy, and address fatigue associated with chemotherapy and chronic illness.

Due to it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties, along with its immune-boosting capabilities it may be useful in preventing and decreasing the severity of common colds and respiratory infections. Astragalus may also be used with herbs such…

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Thornapple, Gender and Ritual Application | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

Cultivating the Devil’s Apple aka Thornapple

I spent part of this afternoon harvesting my Thornapple plants.  One of them grew to be close to five feet high!  The Thornapple I grew this year is a Datura stramonium var. tatula; similar to the common Datura stramonium only it is less shrubby and has lavender-purple flowers.  I harvested leaves, seedpods, and stems.  I have a few workshops coming up over Samhain season on different aspects of the Poison Path and like to have the actual plants on hand for anyone interested in working with them.  Part of my bargain with said plants is to make them available to others and teach people how to use them.  All parts of the plant are going to be put to various uses.  The leaves are dried and used for spirit offerings, intense personal cleansing and as spell ingredients.  The stems, when dried become hard…

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Warm, Spicy Aroma of Cinnamon

Good Witches Homestead

The warm, spicy aroma of cinnamon wafting from baked goods and hot apple cider is one of the first and welcome signs of autumn. An ancient and beloved spice, we have long valued cinnamon to enliven cuisine, create exotic perfumes, and as a staple spice rack remedy.

Though many species of cinnamon exist, the most common is Cassia {cinnamomum cassia}, known also as Chinese cinnamon, and Ceylon {Cinnamomum zylanicum}, which is a related species of tropical evergreen trees in the Lauraceae family native to East and Southeast Asia. While Cassia is most familiar to the United States, its cousin Ceylon is considered “true” cinnamon and more popular in Europe and Mexico.

cinnamon two types

First appearing in Traditional Chinese Medical texts over 4,000 years ago, cinnamon was used to boost the immune system and unblock yang qi. The Egyptians prized it as food, perfume, and incense while Ayurvedic…

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Deadly Delicacies from Emporium Black | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

I love introducing people to new things in the magical community.  I love networking with fellow practitioners and pointing people in the right direction to help meet their needs because I know how difficult this labyrinth can be to navigate.

The chocolate was amazing and the subtle taste of the herb-infused honey was noticeable enough that you knew there was more than a trace amount of plant material in them.  The exact amounts are a trade secret, and Seamus is always happy to answer any questions potential customers might have.

The rose flavor was pervasive, not in a bad way.  You could taste and smell the roses long after eating the truffle, an interesting aromatic effect.  The flavor was exactly like the smell of fresh roses, and not artificial at all. The effects of this truffle came on in about an hour as well.

The white chocolate coating of these…

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Goldenrod Benefits: The Bee’s Knees for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor (except where credited)

Goldenrod Benefits: The Bee’s Knees for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

The following article is a sneak peek into our 375-hour Online Foraging Course: Edible and Medicinal Wild Herbs. The course begins with the basic ground rules of foraging safety and ethics and then moves on to botany and plant identification. Before you know it, you’ll have the skills and confidence to safely identify and harvest wild plants.

You’ll befriend THE most common edible and medicinal wayside plants, including dandelion, stinging nettles, violet, yarrow, burdock, rose, goldenrod, and many others. The printable manual is hundreds of pages long and filled with close-up photos for identification, medicinal uses, and loads of easy-to-follow recipes. In fact, most of our plant profiles contain more detail than you’ll find in any book on wild foods and herbs.

Registration for this online course will re-open in 2020. Check out our other online programs, which have ongoing enrollment: The Herbal Immersion Program (which includes the Foraging Course and likewise features our glowing lesson on goldenrod) and the Medicine Making Course.

Sign up here for free tutorials (videos + articles) on foraging and herbal medicine, and to be notified when enrollment reopens.

Identifying Goldenrod Flowers

Scientific Name: Solidago spp.

Plant Family: Asteraceae, aster family

Other Common Names: Goldruthe, woundwort, Aaron’s rod, and solidago

Introduction: Each fall, all across North America, goldenrod lights up meadows and fields with a refreshing blend of ruggedness and jubilation. In addition to the sunshine it lends to the landscape, its flowers attract native pollinators and beneficial insects. Goldenrod’s piney-tasting leaves and flowers are an important medicinal remedy for the urinary, digestive, and respiratory systems. The goldenrod genus encompasses one hundred species of late-blooming, knee- or hip-high herbaceous perennials.

Locust borer on a goldenrod inflorescence

Goldenrod is imbued with a decided botanical exceptionalism—heralding primarily from America, where it has been employed for centuries as a medicine, dye plant, and beverage tea. Although most goldenrod species are native to North America, a few species are native to Eurasia and South America. European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) is an important folk remedy for lessening bleeding and diarrhea and healing wounds—earning it the name woundwort.1

Read remaining article via: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Goldenrod Benefits for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections

The Best Places to Purchase Herbs and Supplies World-Wide

Good Witches Homestead

Please keep in mind that the vendors shared here are not endorsed by the Herbal Academy. We have reviewed these suppliers to the best of our ability, but as we mentioned earlier, we recommend that you do your own research to determine if the supplier you are considering ordering from is a good fit for your needs!

We’ve pulled together some of the best places to purchase herbs and supplies world-wide to make it easier to find what you need for your herbal studies!

Source: The Best Places to Purchase Herbs and Supplies World-Wide

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A Deeper Look At Forest Roots

Black and Blue Cohosh Forest

Sandy loam, a substance created by the breakdown of minerals (rock) mixed with the breakdown of carbon (tree or grass detritus). Sandy loam is what we all want, because it is the best all around substrate for growing the plants we love the most: GoldensealGinsengBlack and Blue CohoshWild YamTwinleafBloodroot, Stonerooot, Mayapple — the entire interconnected clan of powerfully medicinal shade-loving forest roots. My book “Growing At-Risk” gives a chapter on each of these (and other) herbs of the hardwood forest biome. Let’s look a bit deeper into what can be done to bring these entities down home and help them prosper!

Survey the growing area. It may be a woodland with trees, brush and diverse broadleaf species already intact. If this is the case, identify areas overgrown by weedy species or heavily shaded by dead wood or thin-able trees. Such areas have often been left undisturbed for some time, and the soil may be rich and undisturbed. Clear away dead wood and crowded trees, giving access to the forest floor and providing more light to the growing beds. Forest roots like dappled shade, where sunlight moves across the moist and humus-laden soil in amorphous patches.

After all, even shade-loving herbs eat light! Remove existing weedy species and push your spade into the ground. If you have at least 6 inches of good dirt, then it’s a go. Pull the existing mulch away from the planting bed, which should be at

Mayapple Forest

least 4 feet wide, arranged with a path to the side to guide forest creatures and humans away from the planting, not over the top of the sensitive plants. Pile the mulch in the path, and plant the dormant roots in the bed, then rake the mulch back over the top of the bed. Mark the bed with a heavy stake and a label giving the date and the species planted there. Metal tags may be used for this, so that they do not fade or disintegrate with time. You will be oh-so-happy that you marked your planting spot!

 

Read full article via Ricoh’s Blog: A Deeper Look at Forest Roots