Create Your Own Magical Tea Blends – Witch Way Magazine

Good Witches Homestead

by Emma Kathryn

Published in Witch Way Magazine’s May issue

Herbal teas are a fantastic way to bring your magical practice into your everyday life. For me, every aspect of making tea, from the sourcing of ingredients (foraging is my thing!) to the blending of them, is part of that witching process, and I use my magical knowledge as well as my mundane skills to infuse them with, well, magic!

Teas can be drunk for a variety of reasons, least of all because you like them. There are blends that help with the mundane as well as the magical, teas that revive the soul and others the body. And who doesn’t love tea anyway!

A note on teas and blends. When making a single cup of tea, a teaspoon of herb matter is all that is required, which is fine when using a single ingredient but does make it a…

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A Culinary Herbal…

Hedgerow Vintage

Culinary herbs are the herbs I use the most for cooking, growing and remedies. I would be lost without Rosemary, Thyme and Sage, and they are so familiar to most people, that often they can be overlooked as great medicinal plants.

Culinary herbs, as well as adding depth in flavour to our foods, have many rich and diverse medicinal properties, below are some of the properties of my favorite herbs and how I like to use them, which is always really simply.

Sage; the king of the antibacterial backyard herbs, sage is perfect if you have a virus, and will help clear chesty coughs. The easiest thing to do with sage, is to drink a warm tea of fresh or dried sage leaves at the first sign of a cold, or a bladder infection. You may want to sweeten with honey – it doesn’t taste great.

Rosemary; possibly…

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Damson Jam

Hedgerow Vintage

We spent a wonderful day picking fruit at a Pick Your Own fruit farm. We had baskets full of damsons, strawberries and a few green beans. The site that we visit, is old and quiet, lots of trees and birds. It has a gentle, stillness.

Last year I burnt my damson jam, so this year I was determined to get it right….and I did!

Here is the recipe I used, it has a much reduced sugar content from many jam recipes you will see, but the jam has ended up being much more tart, which I really like. We did stone all the fruit beforehand, manually – there is just no easy way around it.

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg Damsons (stoned)
  • 900kg Sugar
  • 400ml Water
  • A good sprinkling of cinnamon

Method

  • Cook the damsons in a preserving pan with the water gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Then add the sugar slowly…

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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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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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Praise of the Pumpkin

Good Witches Homestead

The pumpkin is a fall fruit with a rich heritage and flexible flavor that has been used for centuries.

If the tomato is the queen of garden vegetables, the pumpkin may well be the king. In fact, in some parts of China, it is called “Emperor of the garden.” And why not? No plant produces a larger edible fruit, and what other plants can yield tens (or even hundreds) of pounds of healthful, delicious eating from a single seed in only a few months’ time? Pumpkins are known and loved around the world, for their beauty as well as for the gifts they bestow so generously, asking so little in return.

What’s In A Name?

A pumpkin is a winter squash, but not all winter squash are pumpkins. Confused? So is everyone else. The Oxford English Dictionary defines pumpkin as the large fruit of Cucurbita pepo, “egg-shaped or nearly…

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Garden Glut Tomato and Courgette Bruschetta

Hedgerow Vintage

I try to grow tomatoes every year, usually I have very limited success if I’m honest, which is a real shame, because you can’t beat a fresh home grown tomato (except maybe by a fresh, homegrown cucumber?). This year, however, I had 3-4 tomato plants self seed themselves into my veg patch, I must have tipped the grow bags from last year into the compost containing tomato seeds. So I decided to leave them and they have been the most successful tomatoes I have ever grown. I am completely thrilled with my tomato harvest, and they just keep coming.

This is a wonderfully, easy recipe to use any tomatoes and also courgette which is harvesting quick and bountiful this year. Harvest courgette when they are roughly the length of your hand from longest finger tip to wrist, I always think if they get much bigger they loose flavor.

Ingredients

  • ½…

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Fall Gourds

Good Witches Homestead

Storage containers, bowls, utensils, tools, masks, musical instruments, jewelry, dolls, flotation devices, toys, wheels, sieves, food, birdhouses – the list goes on and on for the many functional, spiritual, and decorative uses of the humble gourd. At this time of year, gourds abound at farmer’s markets, the grocery store, and even the backyard for some dedicated growers. This oddly shaped fruit has a colorful history – and deserves a bit of spotlight.

Origin

While not a common backyard plant today, it’s believed that gourds may be the earliest domesticated plant in North America. A previous theory held that the bottle gourd originated in Africa, carried over to the Americas via the Atlantic Ocean. But as the American Gourd Society reports, archeological and DNA evidence shows them coming from Asia more than 10,000 years ago via the Bering Strait – either by boat, by floating across the water, or carried by…

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August (and Blackberry Jam)

Hedgerow Vintage

Isn’t August the strangest of months? One day you are in the middle of summer and then the next the edges of the Autumn are creeping all around. It is a wonderfully golden month…so full of life with fruit and vegetables ripening on every branch and the fields still blazing in the late summer sunshine.

Nature has shifted from growth to ripening, and everything feels ‘full’.

If you look at the trees, you can just see the little hints of gold creeping in, it is a beautiful month, but it reminds us that we cannot keep the summer, or indeed the fruits ripe on the trees – I love the below Seamus Heaney Poem. It’s perfect for August.

What we can keep though, is as much of Augusts harvests as we are able. So, here is a simple recipe for Blackberry Jam and a hope you find the time to…

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