Friday, April 15, 2011

An Herbal Garden

So, it's about that time.  You know, for planting herbs.  I always have this image of myself as the woman with shelves of herbs, who knows which to go to for what.  Who, when a friend comes by, complaining of a headache says, "I know just what will fix that!" and proceeds to make tea.  Granted, come by my house and I'm more than likely to make you tea already.  But that's not the point.

So, since I'd like to start small and build up over time, I wanted to start with some "essential" herbs.  I haven't grown herbs in some time, and this year I'd like to put a bit more thought into it.  My gardening budget is virtually non-existent.  But for this, all I need to start are some paper cups, seeds, and a bit of potting soil.  I have plenty of space in which to grow things.  I just usually don't.  Unless weeds count.  I don't think they do in Minnesota.  So, they the question became, what do I want to grow?  What are my essential herbs?  Here's what I've come up with.

My basic Herbal Garden

  • Sage - "For thousands of years sage has been used for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes. It has been used in connection with sprains, swelling, ulcers, and bleeding. As a tea, sage has been administered for sore throats and coughs. Herbalists have also used this herb for rheumatism, menstrual bleeding, strengthening the nervous system, improving memory, and sharpening the senses." Magically it's uses are "wisdom, psychic awareness, long life and protection. As secondary aspects, spells for money use sage. But, by far, its most potent aspect is wisdom and learning. Sage is often bundled tightly into smudge sticks and burned as a scent." and it's great for cleansing spaces, as well.
  • Rosemary - "it is an antiseptic, a gentle stimulant to the entire body, a wonderfully aromatic garden aid, a headache dispeller, a folk medicine heart tonic", helpful with colds, coughs, and stomach spasms. Really, this one is good for a lot! Magically it's uses are "mental ability, healing, love and purification"
  • Lavender - It's uses are for bites, bruises, aches, relaxation, and it's a great natural insect repellent. Magically it's uses are peace, love, health, and balance.
  • Basil - It's uses are to bring on delayed menses, to relieve the pain of bug bites, and as an additive to insect repellents. Magically it's uses are for love, prosperity, and to help with communication.
  • Mugwort - It has so many uses! It's a digestive aid, an anti-inflammatory, a detoxifier, the list goes on and on and on. I won't be able to take it for anything during pregnancy however. It can cause miscarriage in pregnant woman. Be warned! Magically it's uses are for safety and protection, to keep travel plans, and to assist in psychic or clairvoyant work.
  • Mint - It's uses are for digestion, headache, cramps and spasms, and to treat sinus trouble.  Magically it's uses are for prosperity and healing.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?  What are your essential herbs?


  1. How about chives, dill or coriander(cilantro)?

  2. So, my advice would be for culinary herbs cuz I'm admittedly very ignorant of the medicinal variety... But I think thyme is fabulous. Probably my favorite herb. I've seen is used a a tea to help with colds and the stomach flu. And there are soooo many varieties. Lemon Balm and Aloe vera are two I know are used medicinally. And I total echo Sonya's recommendation for chives, dill, and cilantro. And parsley!! Its delish AND its a digestive aid.

    Good luck! You can get a little starter garden at Target for $10. Its got 16 little starter cups and soil pellets. Your seeds get started really fast that way. No need to invest in potting soil.

    This site might help you get some ideas:

    Its a decidedly Christian site, but not fundie, and if you search under "herbs" you can find TONS of medicinal recipes and suggestions for seeds/gardening...

  3. Parsley! Parsley is great in a poultice with Basil and ginger to bring down swelling. I'm going to be starting my own herb garden this year (my first!!) and I'm quite excited about it. Keep us updated on it!

  4. Sonya, those are all good options, but also available pretty cheap at the store. I wonder if it's worth it to grow them? I do love the flowers on chives though.

    Genevieve, the only problem with that being your screenname is that if I type "Jen" no one will know who I'm talking to. =P Parsley is also really easy to get, but I wonder if it might not be nice to have some ready on the back porch, whenever!

    Stacy, Basil is one I've considered for a number of reasons. Not only medicinal, but I'd love to make some homemade pesto. A friend got some from a co-op a number of years ago. Literally a trash bag full of organic basil. We used my food processor and made batch after batch and it was SO good!

  5. Sorry- its cuz I'm signed in to Google that way. The problem with buying parsley from the store (for me at least) is that its usually a chopped up and used as a garnish on top of whatever I'm making, so a lot of times, I end up throwing it out. If I grew it, I could just go pinch off what I needed.

    Maybe you could try an herb box for kitchen herbs that you would use all the time for cooking. You could put the parsley, chives, cilantro and maybe one kind of basil (I'm partial to Greek, lol) in your kitchen window or wherever. Those herbs you might just use a handful at a time and so they'd always be available.

    As an aside, I think its funny that I'm helping you plan your pagan herb garden... ;-)

  6. Okay, I have no idea why I just showed up as Jennifer. What's going on???

  7. Funny, huh? But a good idea. I could buy some at the store for drying, however. When dried and stored I could just use what I needed.

  8. Very true... but if you're going to dry them, I think you get a MUCH better value buying them already dried. You can get them for pretty cheap in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs or from your local ethnic grocery store. Heck, when you come to CA next time, I'll take you to one of my favorite shops where you can get good dried herbs for pennies.

  9. Well, I don't have everything I want yet, I started with Basil, Chives, Lavender, Moon Flowers, and Dill.

  10. I get witchy fantasies like that, too. I dream of a life like in "Practical Magic" where I'll have all the tools, supplies, and time... especially the time.... I'll grow my own herbs, make my essential oils, pour my candles, etc., etc. Well, I've done the candles bit a few times.

  11. I <3 Practical Magic. I want to live in their house.


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