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Herb of the Month – Basil

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When the summer heat is in full swing and I want something cool and wonderful for dinner I think of such things as Caprese Salads, Pesto Chicken, and a light marinara sauce. Magickally, I am looking to spice things up and bring in some added prosperity and good fortune. What do all of these things have in common? Our Herb of the Month – Basil.

Basil Plant (Photo from Pixabay)

Basil has long been associated with Witchcraft, hence the name “Witches Herb.” This versatile herb can be for any magickal purpose from increasing wealth, calming quarrels, to bringing the user love and harmony.

In Witchcraft, as well as cooking, Basil is used both fresh and dried. Stir it clockwise in soups, stews, and sauces to bring prosperity and good fortune. Place counterclockwise on your Caprese salad to dispel gossip and quarrels.

Latin Name: Ocimum Basilicu

Family: Lamiaceae

Folk Names: Albahaca, American Dittany, “Our Herb,” St. Joseph’s Wort, Sweet Basil, Witches Herb

Energy: Masculine

Elements: Air, Fire

Planet(s): Mars

Astrological Signs: Aries, Scorpio

Deities: Ares, Eleggua, Erzulie, Hemphu, Krishna, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Yemaya

Growing and Harvesting Basil

Basil is easy to grow, but it does like it’s soil toasty -don’t plant before the soil is 50 degrees, 70 is even better-making it perfect for warmer climates. Heat gives your Basil the start it needs, so plant your basil when the nights have warmed up as well. Without the heat, your basil will not flourish.

Basil prefers its “feet” a bit moist so well-draining soil is a must. Basil grows well in a greenhouse or even indoors with the proper light. It doesn’t require much fertilizer while growing, but a good starter fertilizer will give basil the boost it needs to thrive.

Plants can get quite large, reaching up to 24″ if you let them. However careful pruning and harvesting of the plants at around 8″ keeps your plants healthier, allowing them to bush more and send more energy to the leaves instead of the stalks.

One or two plants is usually sufficient for the average household. If you are like me and freeze and/or dry my basil in bulk I would suggest at least 5 plants.

Harvest your basil early in the morning by pinching off a few leaves on each plant. Your basil leaves will taste best before the plant flowers – flowering can make the leaves bitter. If you see flowers forming at the top of your plants, pinch or snip them off as soon as possible.

Magickal Uses of Basil:

Parts Used: Whole herb, leaves

  • Abundance
  • Astral Projection (flying)
  • Business
  • Dispel gossip
  • Divination
  • Exorcism
  • Happiness
  • Harmony
  • Love
  • Money
  • Peace
  • Protection
  • Safe Travel
  • Wealth

Ways to use Basil Magickally

  • Take dried basil and tie it in a drawstring bag with some pennies to draw luck to your money and business matters.
  • Plant basil near the threshold of your home to repel negative entities and welcome friendly spirits.
  • Take a bath with Basil before attempting astral projection to aid you in your journey.
  • Simmer cut lemon and fresh basil in water. When cooled and added to a spray bottle, it can be used to clean sacred objects, candles, altars, spaces, the work environment, etc.
  • To use for exorcism: Mix basil, rue, hyssop and myrrh and grind to a powder. Burn over a charcoal making sure you fumigated every corner of your home.
  • Giving a basil plant to a newly married couple is thought to ensure that their marriage status sweet and prosperous.
  • Use the essential oil in aromatherapy to dispel or banish sadness or depression.
  • Hang the leaves from your windshield or anoint yourself, an amulet, or your car to keep yourself safe during travel.

Culinary Uses for Basil

Image by Conger Design from Pixabay

Basil is a versatile herb. It can be used fresh, dried, chopped, and crushed. It adds zip to your pasta sauces, brightness to your salads, and its mildly spicy taste can be blended into butter for the perfect summer spread.

Your culinary adventure can start by preserving your basil harvest by drying the leaves in a dehydrator or on drying racks. You can also use a food processor to finely chop the fresh leaves and freeze in ice cube trays for fresh basil any time. Another great preserving idea is to create an infused vinegar or oil for use in cooking. Take fresh basil leaves, slightly crushed, place in a mason jar and cover with either white wine vinegar or olive oil. Allow the basil to sit in the vinegar or oil for a week or two, shaking once daily. Then strain the basil out of the liquid and place the liquid in a clean, decorative container or back into the mason jar. Both infusions will keep up to a year when kept out of direct sunlight and excessive heat.

Of course, we can’t talk about basil without bringing up pesto. Basil, in my opinion, makes the best pesto. Add whole basil leaves to a food processor, filling it to the top, and then pulse lightly. Add in some fresh minced garlic and drizzle in some olive oil. Pulse again and continue to drizzle in olive oil until you get the consistency you desire. You can add pine nuts or walnuts to the finished pesto to give it some added mouth feel.

Medicinal Uses of Basil

Note: The information noted in this blog post is intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this post are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems, nor is it for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications or before using and herbs or herbal supplements.

Medicinal Properties:

  • Alterative
  • Antipyretic
  • Carminative
  • Diuretic
  • Nervine
  • Stimulant

Used primarily in a tea, Basil has a long history of aiding such ailments as stomach spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, fluid retention, head colds, warts, and worm infections. It works well to ease constipation and lessen anxiety symptoms.

Basil is full of antioxidants, so including it in your diet will aid with the elimination of free radicals from your body. Basil, according to a 2019 study, may help to reduce high blood sugar levels.

Another type of basil is tulsi, or holy basil (Ocimum santum). This plant plays a therapeutic role in Tamil and Ayurvedic medicines, which are predominantly practiced in Southeast Asia. This is different from sweet basil we use most often in cooking. Tulsi has amazing medicinal and therapeutic qualities – too many to mention in this article.

Amazing Basil

I hope you’ve enjoyed our adventure with our Herb of the Month – Basil. May this post inspire you to try your hand at growing this amazing plant yourself.

Blessings!

Sources: The Way of Herbs, Tierra, Michael, Pocket Books 1998

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Vervain – Herb of the Month, February 2020

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Vervain, commonly known as Verbena, is an extremely versatile herb, both magickly and medicinally. Found all around the world, it has a rich and useful history. Vervain has been considered a magickal and sacred herb in many different cultures throughout the centuries. It is best remembered as a sacred plant to both the Druids and the Roman priesthood.

Verbena Officinalis

To the ancient Romans the name “verbena” meant altar plant. The twigs of the plant were put into bundles and then used to sweep the altar and temple areas.

The name “vervain” comes from the Celtic term “ferfaen;fer” meaning “to drive away” and “faen” meaning “a stone”. Healers would gather this herb to be used to treat kidney stones – something it is still used for today.

Vervain is a slim plant that may grow to be about 80 cm (32 in) tall. It is a hardy perennial and self-sows. It grows freely in the wild and is often found along roadsides and in dry or stony grounds. Today it is a favorite in many a garden and a staple in every witch’s herbal cabinet and apothecary.

Plant: Common Vervain

Scientific Name: Verbena

Genus: Verbena, L.

Latin Name: Verbena Officinalis, Verbena Californica, Verbena Hastata (Blue Vervain)

Family:  Verbenaceae

Folk/Secret Names: Van Van, Dragon’s Claw, Enchanter’s Plant, Herba Sacra, Holy Plant, Frog’s Foot, Juno’s Tears, Pigeon Grass

Gender: Feminine

Elements: Water

Planet: Venus

Astrological Signs: Gemini

Deities: Venus, Cerridwen, Isis, Mars, Venus, Aradia, Jupiter, Thor, Juno

All of my posts contain affiliate links.  If you click on a link and make a purchase I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  This small commission keeps the website up and running and the author in wine, chocolate, and books – not necessarily in that order.

Magickal Uses of Vervain

Vervain is a sacred plant, potentially the most mystical plant on earth. It is used on altars and is a staple plant in magic ceremonies. It is a versatile herb that has many magickal uses.

Parts Used: Flowers and Leaves

  • Bestowing peace
  • Catalyst – use to make spells “go”
  • Cleansing the altar
  • Consecration of tools
  • Healing
  • Herb of Immortality
  • Keeping evil at bay
  • Protection
  • Purification
  • Romance and love
  • Turning your rival into an ally
  • Used in fortune telling and prophecy
  • Vervain is the herb of poets, singers, and bards.  It was often carried by these performers for to bring inspiration and increased skill
  • Vervain was placed around fields to prevent bad weather and to ensure a good harvest.
  • Vision questing

Substitutions: Motherwort, Skullcap, California Poppy

Verbena Hastata

Growing Vervain

This easy to grow plant is a favorite in many home gardens. The Verbena genus is large, contains both annuals and perennials, and has a range in height from 10 cm through to 1.4 m. Vervain (Verbena) as an annual grows in zones 1 to 10, as a perennial: zones 3 to 10. In general the plants have dark green toothed leaves, and bloom from summer until the first frost of winter. Depending on the variety they may have clusters of tiny flat fragrant flowers or spikes with tiny flowers, making Vervain a great attractor of butterflies and bees to the garden.

Vervain can easily be started from seeds. Be sure to stratify the seeds (follow link for definition) to increase the germination rate. Sow seeds outside after the last frost of spring. Seeds can take anywhere from two weeks to three months to germinate, so don’t get discouraged. Alternately you can pick up plants from your local nursery.

Plants need full sun and well-drained soil. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Spacing of your plants will depend on the variety.  Consult the information on the seed packets or plant tags to determine the planting space required for your variety. When in doubt, consult the staff of your favorite nursery or garden center.

Depending on your soil quality and acidity, Vervain needs very little fertilizer.  I usually add a bit to the soil before I sow seeds or add new plants and to any established perennials in the early spring.

Blooms are very long lived.  However, Vervain is self-sowing so if you don’t want your garden overrun with these beautiful plants cut the flowers before they go to seed.

Medicinal Uses

The information provided below is for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Additional Information

Verbena Officinalis is most often used medicinally.  Alternately you could use Verbena Hastata. Some of Vervain’s properties are:

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticoagulant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Astringent
  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Galactagogue
  • Nervine
  • Stimulant

Vervain is most often used to treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Ascites
  • Cirrhosis
  • Colds
  • Depression
  • Flus
  • Gout
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Jaundice
  • Kidney Stones
  • Liver disorders
  • Mastitis
  • Painful or irregular menses

Please consult a licensed Herbalist and your Physician before using any parts of the Vervain plant medicinally.


Sources: 

Beyerl, Paul The Master Book of Herbalism Blaine, Washington, Phoenix Publishing Inc. 1981

Dugan, Ellen Garden Witch’s Herbal, Woodbury, MN, Llewellyn Publications 2009

Mueller-Ebeling, Claudia, Ratsch, Christian, and Storl, Wolf-Dieter Witchcraft Medicine Vermont Inner Traditions 2003

Tierra, Michael The Way of Herbs New York, NY, Pocket Books, 1998

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The Witches Garden: Part Three – Maintaining

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In our last two installments we planned our garden and then planted our seedlings and sowed our seeds. In this, “The Witches Garden: Part Three” we will be discussing how to maintain your newly planted garden.

Our first step in maintaining our garden is to thin our newly sown seeds. If you’ve planted nursery plants, you’ll be able to skip this step.

The Witches Garden: Part Three
Emerging Cilantro plants

As your seedlings emerge, use the information on your seed packet to thin them out. The cilantro plants shown here need to be thinned to 6 to 8 inches apart. Thin your plants when the second set of leaves have appeared. Thinning your seedlings, gives them the space the require to grow to maturity without being crowded.

If you placed a mesh screen over the tops of your seedlings, remove it once the new plants are pushing up against it. Otherwise, your plants will bend sideways and their growth may be stunted.

Protecting Your Witches Garden

Maintaining your garden includes protecting your plants and seedlings from the attack of predatory insects. Snails, slugs, earwigs, aphids and mites love to munch on young plants, often with devastating results. There are several organic methods that can deter or eliminate these predators.

  • Diatomaceous Earth – This powdery substance can be used to both deter and desiccate slugs, snails, earwigs and other insects. Sprinkle it around your new plants to act as a barrier. Note: Be sure to get “food grade” product for best results.
  • Organic pest control products – There are several pellet pest control products to save your plants from the onslaught of insects. I recommend Sluggo or Sluggo Plus (registered trademarks by Monterey) for snails, slugs and earwigs. Both products contain Iron Phosphate and the plus adds in Spinosad. While the labels say it is safe around pets and wildlife if you have animals that may ingest the pellets, I would suggest placing them under pots and out of reach. Iron poisoning can occur if large amounts are ingested.
  • Organic Soap Insecticide Sprays – For aphids, mites and other flying insects that may insist on eating your plants, an organic insecticidal soap spray is best. There are many on the market – just be sure that the label reads “OMRI-listed and USDA-approved for organic gardening”. Soap sprays kill on contact, they do not penetrate the plant membranes. These sprays are very effective in eradicating pests, but they can also kill beneficial insects as well so be mindful.
  • Homemade Soap Sprays – For the ultimate in DIY pest control you can create your own soap spray. There are many recipes out there for these sprays, but I personally like to use a combination of Castile Soap, cayenne pepper and water.
Organic Pest Control

Weeds – Your Gardening Nemesis

Weeds are the bane of most gardeners existence. These persistent plants seem to pop up exactly where we don’t want them. Unfortunately, if you wish to keep your garden as organic as possible the best method to rid yourself of weeds is to pull them.

Note: Let your seedlings grow a bit before weeding. If you are unfamiliar with how your new plants look you may inadvertently pull them instead of your weeds. When in doubt, do a quick internet search. Information and images of your plants in all stages is readily available to you.

Pulling your weeds doesn’t have to be a chore if you do it a little every day. Weeding is actually a wonderful way to enjoy the sun, play in the dirt and listen to the earth around you. The act of pulling weeds can even be meditative as long as your entire focus is on the repetition of pulling out the weeds.

The most effective way of ridding your garden of pesky weeds it to be certain to pull the entire root of the weed. Merely yanking the tops of the weeds does nothing because the roots will continue to shoot up new plants. Loosen the soil gently around the weed and then pull the plant close to the root ball or tendrils. Weeds such as clovers may have an intensive root system so they may require a bit more work to eradicate. Be patient!

Keeping Your Plants Growing Strong

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The Witches Garden: Part Two – Planting

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Spring is finally here and in the California Central valley it is planting time. Part Two of our “The Witches Garden” series will discuss some of the ins and outs of planting our garden. From soil and amendments, to placing our seeds and tender plants into their pots and plots, let’s get our witches garden planted!

In Part One we decided what type of plants we wished to add to our gardens. We discussed the pros and cons of seeds versus purchased plants. Today I will walk you through both planting seeds and transplanting nursery seedlings. Let us begin by making sure we have the optimal bed for our new plants by looking at soil and fertilizers.

Soil for The Witches Garden

If you are going to be planting in raised beds or pots you will need to purchase a good quality, organic soil. Prices and quality vary greatly from area to area but I would suggest you purchase a soil that includes a combination of the following ingredients:

  • Compost
  • Worm castings
  • Hummus
  • Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • Perlite

I love using “Happy Hippie Mix”. It is contains all of the above ingredients along with a few more. While not technically organic, it is pretty darn close. It does not contain any added fertilizers so I am able to add in the organic types that work best for me. As always, when in doubt as to the correct soil, check with your local garden center professional.


Logo for Happy Hippie Garden Mix

When planting in-ground, preparing your plot is key. I could spend an entire book going over how to dig and prepare your beds for planting. However, there are three key areas I’d like to mention:

  1. Digging your rows: Make certain that when digging your rows that they are deep enough for the type of plant you will add. Root vegetables need deep, loose soil in their beds – around 12 inches. Most herbs and leafy greens only require about 6 inches of depth to grow strong and healthy.
  2. Soil conditions: Check the labels on your plants for the preferred soil conditions. Do they like the soil moist or dry? Do they require a special PH to grow properly? Do they prefer sandy, loamy or dense soil?
  3. Amendments: Depending on your soil conditions you may need to add amendments such as peat moss, vermiculite, or even a bag or two of potting mix, to get your soil soft and ready to plant.

Adding Fertilizer for a Successful Start

After testing the PH levels (kits are available at garden centers) and checking what the optimal soil conditions for your plants are, you will need to “feed” your soil by adding some fertilizer. To begin, I would suggest an all-purpose organic fertilizer be added to your raised beds and plots.

Sprinkle your fertilizer into your pots, raised beds and garden plots according to the directions. Till it in thoroughly and then give it a good watering. If possible, let it sit overnight so the fertilizer has a good chance to begin its work on the soil.

Some plants such as blueberries, grapes and specialty flowers will require individual fertilizers to optimize their health. I have special food/fertilizer for my camellias, fruit trees, blueberries and orchids. When in doubt what type to use on your plants check the internet. Google has a wealth of information on gardening to help you out.

Getting Your Hands Dirty – Planting

Now comes the fun part – getting our hands dirty and planting. Before you begin you will need to gather a few supplies and tools:

  • Pots and/or containers: Choose a pot or container that will give your plants room to grow. It should be of sufficient depth for the plants root system, should drain well (you may have to drill some additional holes in the bottom) and be easily moved.
  • A small hand trowel or shovel for transplanting into raised beds or rows.
  • Planter row markers for plots, containers and beds.
  • Permanent marker (to write on your row markers).

Once you have gathered your supplies, head for the beds to start planting. To demonstrate each step, I have planted Calendula seeds in my raised planter.

Planting Calendula

To begin, I read the directions on the package to determine how deep my seeds need to be planted and then how far apart they need to be for optimal growth. Using my pinky finger, I poked holes into the soil, pushing to just below my first knuckle – about 1/2 inch deep – and made each one about 3 inches apart. I dropped two seeds into each hole. This is because not all seeds may germinate properly so adding in two gives me the best chance of success. I can always thin them out at a later time if necessary.

Markers placed in planter bed.

After I placed the seeds into each depression, I covered them lightly with soil and gave them a good watering. When completed, I marked the bed with a row marker noting the name of the plant. Here, I am using craft sticks as they are inexpensive. I have also opted to cover my seed beds with a mesh material because my yard is a bird haven and they like to eat my seeds. The screen allows the light and water to come through but keeps their little beaks out.

Mesh screen over raised planter bed

Transplanting Your Nursery Plants

Transplanting is a bit simpler. Again, read the nursery label for instructions as to depth and spacing of your plants. If adding them into containers, try not to overcrowd them. While it can be fun to mix and match varieties into a pretty pot, just give each individual plant some room to grow.


Six packs of Nasturtiums at my local nursery.

Using your trowel, prepare the bed, row, or pot by digging a hole deep and wide enough to fit the root ball of the plant. Carefully remove your plant from its container by turning it upside down, while holding the plant gently, yet securely, at its base. Tap on the bottom of the pot (and maybe the sides) to release it. Place your plant into the prepared hole. You may need to adjust the depth by removing or adding soil to the bottom until the plant is in the correct position. Fill around the root ball with soil, covering it completely. Your plant should sit securely, the soil no higher than its first set of leaves. Give it a good drink, place a marker and you are done!

Enjoy Your Witches Garden

Your planting is done and you can sit back and watch your garden grow. But your work doesn’t stop here. In our next installment we will talk about maintaining your Witches Garden – keeping it growing strong, healthy and beautiful. So go on. Go get your hands dirty and plant away.

Blessed Be!

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The Witches Garden: Part One – Planning

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Basket in hand she slowly walks down the cobbled pathway of her witches garden. Her bare feet make not a sound as she wends her way through herbs and flowers. Humming a happy tune, she looks right and then left, studying the plants that line the path. Adjusting her broad-brimmed hat she peers down at a lush green Mugwort plant. Reaching into her basket she pulls out a sharp, white handled knife. Skillfully, she makes several cuts to the plant stems and then places the cuttings into her basket. Bowing her head towards the Mugwort, she thanks it for its sacrifice. She pulls an offering of fertilizer out of the voluminous pocket of her garden apron. Sprinkling it around the plant she bows again in thanks. Smiling, she turns and continues down the path, scanning her charges to see who else may be ready for harvest.

This is a glimpse of the iconic Witches Garden, a garden that seems a dream to the majority of us. However, a witches garden doesn’t need to be located on a huge plot of land or even in a country setting. Your garden can be on a balcony in the city, a patio in an urban area, or in raised beds in your suburban back yard.

Planning Your Witches Garden

In this the first installment of The Witches Garden, we will discuss how to plan and create your own magickal oasis no matter where that may be. To begin, let’s discuss the types of plants you may wish to include. Please note: When in doubt about a plant and its ability to grow in your area, check with your professionals at your local garden center.

In order to decide what I would like to add into my witches garden I think of the herbs and flowers that I use most in my magick. For me these include:

  • Alyssum
  • Calendula
  • Dill
  • Lavender
  • Mugwort
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Next, I will make a list of culinary herbs that double as magickal herbs as well. My favorites are:

  • Basil
  • Bay
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Savory
  • Thyme

Already we have quite an extensive list going. If you have limited space you may have to pare your list down to accommodate the planting area.

Using both containers and raised beds in the garden.

Next, check to make sure that a) the plant will grow in your area; b) if the plant will grow best in containers and/or in the ground and; c) how much sun each plant requires during the day (Full sun, part sun/part shade, full shade). You will have to spend some time watching your intended garden plot to see when the sun hits each area. Full sun plants require 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Part sun/part shade plants will need 3 to 6 hours of sun. Full shade plants will require less than 3 hours of sun per day. Plan accordingly!

Once you have determined which plants will grow in your area, the proper amount of sun required, and how they need to be planted, we can move on to the next step. Here, we determine whether or not we are going to purchase our plants ready to transplant or if we will start them from seed.

Giving Your Witches Garden a Good Start

Making the decision to begin your garden with transplants or seeds depends on a few factors: 1) Cost- Plants at the nursery tend to be more expensive than starting plants from seeds; 2) Some plants like Tarragon, cannot be started from seeds. A quick Google search can show you how best to start your plants, and; 3) The amount of time you are willing to invest in starting your garden – Starting from seeds takes considerably more time.

Personally, I like to use a combination. I tend to start with purchased plants for my tomatoes and other veggies because I tend to have better luck than I do starting them from seed. Most of my herbs and flowers are all started from seeds, bought from my favorite on-line vendors.

I would suggest using organic seeds and plants, especially if you are going to be harvesting them for food or medicinal purposes. While I prefer that my magickal plants be organic as well, they are not always easy to find. Rule of thumb – if you are ingesting it, keep it organic. Otherwise standard plants or seeds will work.

Making Your Witches Garden a Success

Our planning is nearly complete. All that remains is laying out our Witches Garden. Take a few minutes to sketch out the area that you have available (you don’t need to be an artist to do this – Goddess knows I’m not). Take notes as to the amount of sun in the area and whether or not the plants are going into the ground or containers. Jot down the square footage (see here for instructions on how to determine this measurement), for either the in-ground or container area. Once you know how much space is available you will have an idea of how many plants you can grow and/or how many containers (pots, raised beds), you can place in your new garden area.

Careful planning of your garden may seem like an awful lot of effort, but the time you take now will determine how successful of a start all of your plants will have. As in all of Witchcraft and magick, prep is key! Take the time to get things organized and started right and I believe, green thumb or no, you will have a successful garden that you can take pride in. Happy Planning!

Next Week: The Witches Garden: Part Two – Planting

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Dill- Herb of the Month

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Dill is a semi-hardy annual with erect, freely branching annual herb with finely dissected, lacy, blue-green foliage. Dill is best known for its use in the making of pickles but can be used both as a culinary and medicinal herb. Magickly, Dill – our herb of the month, is a powerful and potent plant ally.

Dill – Our Herb of Month

Plant: Dill

Latin Name: Anethum graveolens

Family:  Apeacia (a member of the parsley family)

Folk/Secret Names: Dilly, Dill Weed, Garden Dill, Meeting House Seed, Hairs of a Hamadryas Baboon, Semen of Hermes

Gender: Masculine

Elements: Fire

Planet: Mercury

Astrological Signs: Gemini

Deities: Anubis, Hermes, Janus, Khensu, Mercury

Magickal Uses of Dill

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, and seeds

  • Attracting Money – Place dill seeds and leaves in a spell bag then place in your wallet or purse to attract money.
  • Attracting Romance – Add dill seed to a sachet and hang it on your showerhead or place in a bath to make you irresistible to your lover.
  • Breaking Jinxes (leaves)
  • Dispelling bad dreams – create a sachet and place under your bed or pillow.
  • Emotional and Mental Balance
  • Good Fortune in Court (seeds)
  • Good Fortune in love affairs (seeds)
  • Love
  • Luck
  • Lust
  • Protection -Hang dill in doorways to promote protection. Place a sprig of dill in a child’s crib for safety and peaceful sleep.

Substitutions: You can substitute Fennel in your spell work if you are out of Dill as it has similar correspondences.

Growing Dill

Dill, our herb of the month, does not transplant well, so sowing the seeds is recommended. Plant 12 to 15 inches apart in a weed-free, semi-rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil in a sheltered sunny position. It takes well to pots and containers, just be sure that they drain well.

Plants may grow to 2 or 3 feet in height. Pinch off the flowers if you wish to increase the leaf production.

As soon as the plant has four to five leaves, you can start harvesting. Pinch off the leaves or cut them off with scissors.

Leaves can be used fresh or dried. Dry your harvested leaves by either hanging them upside down in bunches or spread on a mesh screen or muslin. Place in a warm – not hot – area out of the direct sunlight.  You may also dry in a dehydrator.

When growing for the seed try growing more than one plant, one or two for the leaves and one or two for the seed. Do not plant Dill next to Fennel as the plants will cross-pollinate. Keep them away from Carrot as well as the carrots will not grow well with Dill around.

Dill seeds in the late summer or early autumn. Flower can take up to 25 days for the seeds to germinate. The seeds should be collected when they are light brown and fully formed. Place a paper bag over the seed heads and cut, leaving a bit of the stem sticking out of the bag.  Tie the stems together and hang to dry for a 10 to 15 days. You will know that they are ready when you shake the bag and you hear the seeds fall.

Warning:  Mature dill seeds are toxic to birds! Harvest all seeds before they drop.

Culinary Uses of Dill

Dill Seeds

Add Dill – our Herb of the Month – to potatoes for a tangy treat.

Create a Dill infused vinegar for use on salads by adding Dill to white wine vinegar and infuse for 2 weeks.

Add some dill to scrambled eggs, omelets and frittatas for some zest.

A pinch of dill creamed into butter with some added garlic makes a great spread for toast, bread and biscuits.

Let’s not forget the pickles! Dill – our Herb of the Month- is essential in making a crisp and crunchy dill pickle.  Check out this great dill pickle recipe here

Medicinal Uses of Dill

The information provided below is for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. More information on these disclaimers can be found here.

  • Antimicrobial
  • Bacteriostatic
  • Carminative
  • Digestive aid
  • Flatulence reducer
  • Helps to soothe colic in infants
  • Sleep Aid
  • Soothes a gassy stomach
  • Stimulant
  • Stress reliever
  • Dill helps relieve flatulence and a gassy stomach when taken as a tea or by chewing the seeds.
  • Use Dill to assist in relieving infant colic.
  • German health authorities have approved dill as a treatment for intestinal complaints related to bacteria.
  • Chew on the seeds of the Dill plant to dispel bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Taken as “dillwater” it aids in promoting the secretion of milk and, when taken regularly by nursing mothers, is said to help avoid colic in their babies.

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Tarragon – Herb of the Month

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Tarragon is a perennial plant with long, light green leaves. It is not a plant that is normally found in the American garden as it is used sparsely for culinary purposed here. However, tarragon, our herb of the month, is a must have for every magickal herb cabinet.

Plant: Tarragon, French Tarragon

Latin Name: Artemisia dracunculus, Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa

Folk Names: Estragon, Little Dragon, Dragon’s Herb, Dragon’s Mugwort,Wyrmwort

French Tarragon
Ready for Harvest

Gender: Feminine

Elements: Fire

Planet: Mars

Astrological Signs: Aries

Deities: Artemis, Venus

Magickal Uses of Tarragon:

Parts Used: Leaves – fresh or dried

  • Detoxification
  • Protection
  • Banish Negative Energies
  • Exorcism
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Keeping secrets
  • Sprinkling tarragon upon the windowsills and doorways is said to protect the home from thieves.
  • Often used by Hedge Witches for its soothing and calming effects.
  • Cultivates warmth and feelings of comfort
  • Used as a “fixing herb” in hoodoo and voodoo.
  • Attract Love
  • Luck
  • Aids in personal growth
  • To Elicit desire

Substitutions: Anise can be substituted for tarragon in most spells and vise versa.

Growing Tarragon

Grow Tarragon in your Witches Garden to have fresh herbs in your magickal herbal cabinet.

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Tarragon, our herb of the month, cannot be started from seeds, only cuttings. Transplant Tarragon in the early spring.  Plant your cuttings in well-drained soil about 2 – 3 feet apart in a sunny area. Tarragon does not care for wet conditions as this may cause the plant to become straggly and die off.

Plants may grow to 2 or 3 feet in height. Prune your plant regularly to prevent flowers and to keep at a height of about 2 feet as any taller and the plant tends to droop.  Every 3 or 4 years divide up your plant in the spring or fall, freeing up space to keep the plant healthy.

In the fall remove any leaves and debris that falls on the plant as it will kill the foliage. Tarragon will die back to the ground during the winter months but will reemerge quickly in the spring.

Culinary Uses

Fresh cut Tarragon leaves

The French Tarragon variety is the plant most used in cooking.  Tarragon adds flavor to eggs, fish, cheese and poultry.  It is a main ingredient in French Bernaise sauce for Eggs Benedict. Tarragon butter can be used over green beans, asparagus, peas, carrots. Add tarragon to mayonnaise to serve with cold seafood or fish.

Create a Tarragon infused vinegar for use on salads by adding tarragon to white wine vinegar and infuse for 2 weeks.

Medicinal Uses

The information provided below is for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Additional information

  • Antiseptic
  • Mild anesthetic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Laxative (in large amounts)
  • Cardioprotective
  • Anti-hyperglycaemic
  • Tarragon stimulates the digestive system and also enhances appetite. It helps regulate metabolism by promoting the secretion of digestive juices and activates the co-enzymes that assist digestion.
  • Tarragon herb helps relieve flatulence, constipation, hiccups and dyspepsia.
  • Tarragon is a rich source of Vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system of the body. It helps prevent strain on the immune system, preventing a variety of infections and ailments.
  • Another health benefit of tarragon is its ability to cure oral problems like loosening of teeth, cavities and fragility of gums.
  • Chew Tarragon to relieve the pain of toothache and sore gums.
  • A fine paste made of fresh Tarragon leaves placed on abrasions, ulcers, boils and cuts will assist in preventing infection and facilitate the quick healing of the wound.
  • A handful of fresh tarragon leaves placed into a pot of boiling water will create a fragrant and healing vapor. Place your face carefully over the pot and inhale the fumes to clear sinuses, relieve headaches and migraine pain.
  • Warnings: Do not consume Tarragon while pregnant as it may be harmful in large quantities and to avoid risk of complications and accidental abortions.

Notes: Tarragon is a member of the Asteraceae family. If you are sensitive or allergic to other plants in this family such as ragweed, daisy or marigold you should take caution when adding tarragon to your diet either as a culinary herb or medicinally.