Ariella Upton is a solitary eclectic witch who was raised by a Christian kitchen witch. She has a wealth of knowledge about herbs, crystals, natural remedies, gardening, history, religion and is currently studying astrology. She works as a PA & manager on Maui, and spends her free time with her magickal family in the forests and beaches they call home. Her shop is on Instagram as @the.celestial.rose where she sells jewelry, artesian smudge sticks, antiques, books and more.
Kitchen Witching 101: Herbs
There are myriad of sub-topics to cover under such a broad category, one I could write pages upon pages (and have!) about herbs, salts, cooking methods, growing a garden, cosmetic uses, remedies to fight ailments… into infinity!
Today I would like to start at the very basics of Kitchen Witchery, the herbs. There are SO MANY herbs we could talk about, all of them wonderful, with their own properties in the physical and metaphysical world. It is HARD to narrow them down, because I love them all, but these top 5 cover a broad spectrum of health, beauty and magickal properties.
Top 5 Must Have Herbs
- Garlic – this is my top #1 all time favorite herb. It does MF everything, from toothaches, warts, inflammation, heart & blood ailments, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels, eases headaches, treats type 2 diabetes, fights cancer like a BOSS, yeast infection and so many more! It contains vitamins A, B + C, magnesium, potassium, selenium, allin, sulfur, phosphorus & germanium. In the garden, these plants repel slugs and snails; I plant them as a wall around my garden and it definitely helps. It is easy to propagate, simply take the fattest, outer bulbs, put them in a bit of water (I use toothpicks to keep them partially submerged) and place in a sunny window. Once roots and sprouts appear, they can be potted. Magick wise, garlic has been rumored to avert vampires. While you may never meet a fanged immortal, there are energy vampires aplenty in our world today, so hanging some in your home, placing bulbs near entrances or having a nice little potted one on your porch will help keep those energetic monsters away.
- Ginger – this is another super herb. Use it to treat inflammation, arthritis/muscle pains, poor circulation, high cholesterol, colds/flus, any type of nausea (sea/motion sickness, morning sickness, chemo side effects). Used in cosmetic products, it fights signs of aging, improves skin tone, calms irritation plus it adds a warm fragrance to the skin as well. You can understand why it is so super when you consider it is chock full of Vitamins C & B6, magnesium, manganese, potassium and copper. I used ginger tonic for my babies when they would get sick, from about 9 months old (when it is ok to give them more than just milk). I also use it in my ageless face mist (ginger tonic+rose water+witch hazel.) In the garden, it can be a bit invasive and needs to be kept fairly warm (read: won’t live through winter.) HOWEVER it can be grown inside in troughs. For Magick purposes, the scent of ginger induces passion & enhances sexual energy.
- Mint – just the way it smells could be reason enough to put this at the top. Mint has a cool, refreshing taste making it popular in teas, which are stimulants and also aid in digestion & reducing flatulence. Mints have antiseptic, antiviral and sweat-inducing properties. Drink a cup of mint tea before and after difficult meals or if you have been experiencing digestive issues. I make a ginger-mint tonic for my family members at Thanksgiving, when we all need it most! It is an easy plant to grow (but don’t love it too much, moderate water and sunshine) and will continue to sprout and spread as far as you will let it. I have it planted under my front porch steps, where it gets afternoon light, and it is slowly spreading under my stilted house. Used for prosperity, success and money magick, this herb amplifies spells used for business and finance.
- Rosemary – the smell of this plant is just unbeatable. It’s got me huffing all my little plants. I wonder what my neighbors must think?! Not only does it SMELL good, but when burned, this baby is an actual air cleaner. Around cold and flu season, I am known to place it in little jars of water all over the house, then running through with some dried, bundled, burning rosemary. I swear it eliminates a couple occasions a year of sickness for us (3 kids in and you realize they are practically petri dishes for germs). For cooking, try with almost any veggie, fish and poultry. It’s magickal properties include purification, love, protection and intellectual matters. Rosemary is an excellent aid for memory; keep a small sachet on your person when needed. Rosemary tea before a test or exam will awaken the mind into it’s best functionality.
- Lavender – this one is a gem. Lavender treats colds, flu, staph, strep, skin infections, nail infections, indigestion & IBS, muscle spasms, depression, insomnia, yeast infections, wounds.. just to list a small portion of uses. Practically non-toxic, this is an herb safe to use in cleaners, to burn.. the essential oil is safe to put directly on the skin to heal wounds, cuts, scrapes and bruises. Via aromatherapy, lavender has a powerful calming effect and works wonders against depression (do not use to replace therapy or medication!! Use to aid and enhance current treatments ONLY). Based on folklore, it is said carrying this herb will allow you to see ghosts. Apart from that, use magickally for love, protection and purification. Lavender is a good herb to attract an affair, so be sure you state your intention and know what you want before you start “attracting all the strays” as it were.
Some notes on the subject of using herbs to turn the mundane to magick:
- Intentions are everything. I focus on my intentions when I add herbs to food, asking the Lord and Lady to bring the benefits of the selected herb to all who consume the food.
- Stir clockwise to invoke magickal properties (focus on intention!!)
- Some herbs, such as sage, rosemary, mugwort, lavender and rose can be burned for magickal effects and cleansing.
- Growing herbs in containers is totally viable if you have no space. I have been there, and even still, many of my plants are in pots close to my kitchen door.
Suggested Reading Material:
Magical Herbalism by Scott Cunningham
Do-It-Yourself Herbal Medicine published by Fall River Press