“… Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.”
― Alice Hoffman,
I am working on a sort of directory of different herbs, their medicinal and magical properties as well as the folklore associated with them. Though I am not an herbalist, I am a cook / anthropologist and have always been fascinated with how herbs play into flavor, culture, magic, old life ways and seem to have collective past all of their own.
I figured I’d start with the 10 that always seem to have a place in my pantry:
- Thyme – Thyme can be found in most modern kitchens due to its culinary uses, but it great for magical work as well. It attracts devotion, friendliness, and admiration from others, making it great for spells and rituals regarding relationships, particularly new ones, including interviews. Additionally, thyme can be used to attract good health, luck and money, banish negativity, and purify your home.
- Rosemary – Like thyme, rosemary has a wide variety of uses including purification, love healing, and good luck. It’s a staple for your cabinet for cookery and kitchen witchery alike. Plus, I can’t think of many things that smell better.
- Lavender – What a vision this herb is, blooming in a color that doesn’t quite seem real, with a softness and fragrance to match its otherworldliness. Use lavender for love, luck, healing, and dream magic.
- Tulsi– Also known as Holy Basil, Tulsi is regarded as life support to many. It is a staple in many tisanes and can be used for calming anxiety, mental clarity, serenity, and happiness.
- Bay Leaves – Common in broths & brews alike. This herb is often used to ward off negativity and to enhance dreams.
- Anise – Use in sachets for mulled wine, ground up for baked goods, to repel the evil eye, and to restore lost youth.
- Linden – Used in soothing herbal teas for cold and flu. Linden is also said to lesson grief and aid in calming.
- Dandelion – Often unappreciated as a garden weed, dandelion greens are actually very nutritious. Blend the leaves to create an excellent pesto, or dry for a tea. Dandelion is used for wish making and convening with “spirits.”
- Sage – Of course you’ve heard of / seen/ used burned bundles of sage to cleanse spaces, and repel negativity. Use sage in kitchen magic to to very much the same. Sage brings luck, focused intention, wisdom, and protection.
- Lemon Balm – Dried for sachets or used in tea, Lemon balm aids with sleep, clarity, dreams, and fecundity.
*It’s important to note that one should always seek out clean herbs, not prone to pesticides or any foreign additives. Also keep in mind that herbs expire. If you are cooking with them, they are best to dry yourself, keep whole, and store in a dark, dry area. Always buy or gather from reputable sources.