Friday, November 28, 2014

Herbal Notes: Caraway

Caraway (Carum carvi)
Notes:  
Caraway is a biennial herb.  In its first year, it produces a leaf rosette.  The second year it produces a flower stalk.  The flowers produce fruits containing two seeds.   The best seeds for propagation are found in the central umbel and will ripen first.  

Use the young leaves which have a slight aniseed flavor in salads and soup.  The seeds can be eaten at the end of a spicy meal to aid digestion and freshen breath.  

In herbal folklore, Caraway is known to ward off witches and evil spirits.  It has also been used to keep a lover faithful.  In addition, this herb has been historically associated with marriage and death.  
For example, in Great Britain, Caraway was included in love potions used to bind two lovers together and keep them faithful to one another.  In Germany, Caraway was placed in coffins with salt to protect the dead on their passage to the afterlife.

Bibliography
McVicar, Jekka. New Book of Herbs.  Woodbury, MN:  Llewellyn Publications, 2009.

Arrowsmith, Nancy.  Essential Herbal Wisdom:  A Compete Exploration of 50 Remarkable Herbs.  New York, NY:  DK Publishing, 2002.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Herb Garden, Herbal Lore and Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day November 2014

It seems the patio garden is evolving into an Herb Garden, which is basically what I first started growing when I was new to gardening.  I’ve always had lots of herbs around.  Maybe I take them for granted since they have been here from the beginning.  Many times my herbs have gone unmentioned in my posts, taking a backseat to showy flowers.  In fact, I’ve had some of my herbs for years... the three old Rosemary plants protecting my front door and a pot of trusty old Sage which has provided me with countless leaves to burn in purification of my home.

For Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, Hosted by May Dreams Gardens, I've put together a list of what's currently growing in my Herb Garden and noted some herbal lore* that I find useful or interesting:

Basil
(Folk name:  St. Joseph's Wort, Witches Herb)
If you want to attract wealth, carry Basil with you.  For a love divination:  Place two fresh Basil leaves on a hot coal.  If they lie where you put them and burn quickly, your relationship will be harmonious.  If the coal crackles excessively, expect quarrels.  If the Basil leaves fly apart, the relationship is no good.  If you suspect your lover is unfaithful, lay fresh Basil on his or her hand.  If he or she is untrue, the Basil will wither.  Basil kept in the home will ward off evil spirits.
“Where Basil grows, no evil goes.”

Bergamont
(Folk name:  Bee Balm)

Borage
(Folk name:  Star Flower)
Note these seeds were planted not too long ago and they are not yet ready to bloom.
Grow Borage for courage.

Bugleweed

Caraway
For a lust inducing treat, bake Caraway seeds into cookies, bread or cakes and give it to your partner or eat it yourself.  If you carry this herb with you, you will be protected from evil and negativity.  

Catmint

Catnip
(Folk name:  Cat’s Wort)
One of my favorites... Catnip can be mixed together with rose petals to create a love sachet.  When hung over a door, Catnip will welcome good spirits and bring good luck into your home.  If you dry and press one of the larger leaves of Catnip, it makes for a great bookmark (just remember to keep the bookmark away from your cat!)   And of course, the obvious... Giving Catnip to your cat will create a psychic bond between you and your familiar.

Coriander, Cilantro
(Folk name: Chinese Parsley)
Add the powdered seeds of Coriander to a warm wine to conjure up a lustful brew.  

Feverfew
Carry Feverfew for protection against illness.  Feverfew has been known to help cure migraines.

Geranium
"Where Geraniums grow, snakes will not go!"  Geranium is a protective plant that will tell of oncoming visitors by the way they move.  You'll find red Geraniums outside of a Witch's cottage; The flowers will point in the direction of approaching strangers and warn her of unwanted guests approaching.    

Hyssop
A staple herb for purification.  
Hang Hyssop in your home and be rid of negative energy.

Lavender
(Folk name:  Elf Leaf)
Lavender not only smells wonderful, but it attracts love, promotes relaxation and aids in sleep.  It's great for sachets and pillows.  Scatter Lavender around your home to keep it peaceful.  It is said that if you place Lavender under your pillow while thinking of a wish just before going to bed, your wish will come true if you dream about the wish.  Also, if you want to see ghosts, carry Lavender.

Lemon Balm
(Folk names:  Lemon Balsam, Sweet Melissa)
Carry Lemon Balm with you to attract love.  Makes a delicious tea!

Lemon Verbena
Hang the herb around your neck to prevent nightmares.  It is said that if you wear Lemon Verbena, it will make you irresistible to the opposite sex.

Marjoram
(Folk names:  Joy of the Mountain, Wintersweet)
Keep Marjoram with you to ensure your love remains strong.  Growing Marjoram outside in the garden will prevent evil spirits from entering your home.  Also good to use in money drawing sachets.  


Mint
Chocolate Mint
Mint can be used for many purposes.  Rub it against the head to cure a headache.  If you want to encourage money or prosperity to come into your life, place Mint leaves in a wallet or purse and carry it with you.  To rid a home of negative spirits, mix up a potion of the following:  Saltwater, Mint, Marjoram and Rosemary.  Sprinkle the herb infused water around the house.  Keeping Mint in the home, will provide protection from evil and attract good spirits and positive vibrations.

Nasturtium

Oregano

Parsley
(Folk name:  Devil’s Oatmeal)
If you are in love, don’t cut Parsley or you'll sever your love along with it!

Peppermint

Peppermint can be used in healing and purification.  Rub Peppermint leaves against the head to relieve a headache.  Wear it on your wrist to ward off illness.  Having Peppermint around your home raises positive vibrations and welcomes good spirits.  It's also highly aromatic.  Inhale the aroma of Peppermint to induce sleep.  Place it under your pillow at night to invoke psychic dreams.  If you want to cleanse your home of negative energy or evil spirits, rub it on walls and floorboards.  Like Mint, Peppermint also helps to attract money and prosperity if placed in a wallet or purse or wherever money is kept.

Rosemary
(Folk name:  Dew of the Sea)
Another multi-purpose herb is Rosemary.  Burn it to clear an area of negative energy.  Placing Rosemary under your pillow at night ensures a good night’s rest and banishes nightmares.  If Rosemary is laid under your bed, it will protect you from harm.  Hang Rosemary on the porch and keep or hang near your door to prevent thieves from entering and for protection.  If you want to stay in good health, carry Rosemary.  Bathing in a Rosemary infused bath will preserve your youth.  If you want to know the answer to a question, burn Rosemary on a charcoal and inhale its smoke.  The answer will be revealed.   

Rue (Folk name:  Herb of Grace)
Wearing Rue around your neck aids in healing and protects from illness. By adding Rue to a bath, you will break any hexes that may have been placed upon you.  Hang Rue over doors to protect your home or rub the fresh leaves on floorboards to send back evil.  To clear a house of negativity, mix together in infusion of saltwater and a sprig of fresh Rue.  Sprinkle the potion around your house.

Sage
Burn Sage (or smudge the home) to cleanse the home of negative energy.  If you want to make a wish come true, write it on a Sage leaf and hide it under your pillow.  Sleep with it there for three nights.  If you dream of your wish, it will come true.  If not, burn the leaf so no harm will be done to you.   

Spearmint
Same properties as Peppermint.  

Thyme
Lemon Thyme
Burn Thyme or or wear this herb to promote good health.   Place it under your pillow to ensure restful sleep and rid yourself of nightmares.  Wearing Thyme will aid in developing psychic abilities.  Thyme is also a purification herb.  If you want to banish negative energy from your past, in the Spring, take a bath with Marjoram and Thyme.  You will be cleansed of the past negativity or sorrow.  Also, if you want to see fairies, wear Thyme. 

Valerian
(Folk names:  Garden Heliotrope)
Valerian aids in sleep.  Hang it up in your home to guard against lightning.  

Yarrow 
A staple herb in the "Witch's Garden".  Hang dried Yarrow over a bed to ensure everlasting love. By carrying Yarrow, you will attract love and friends - you may even receive a phone call from a distant relative or a long lost friend.  Drinking an infusion of Yarrow flowers is said to improve psychic abilities.

*For more information about herbal lore, I recommend "Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs" by Scott Cunningham (one of my favorite authors) which is where I have collected most of this information regarding these magical of herbs.