For a green witch, learning to maintain an herb garden, is perhaps one of the pinnacles of achievement. When I began my journey into witchcraft, I knew right away, that my area of expertise would have to do with food.
It would be many years before I realized how closely connected I would become to plants. It would be still another couple of years before I realized how closely plants are connected to food.
You might think I’m joking. I’m not.
I grew up in the city, and the concrete jungles of California.
And while I knew that a lot of food came from plants, I had no concept of plant power.
I certainly did not realize that all of the pharmaceuticals in my life, and in the lives of my family members were originally written in plants.
I did not understand anything about plant medicine.
Now, of course, I feel silly.
But how could I know?
I had no mentor. And when I was growing up, there was no Internet, no computer, no Google search, that could help me understand myself, and how to explore my skills and talents.
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Herbalism, in my opinion, is the most powerful craft among all the different kinds of witchcrafts.
Understanding how to work with nature, learning the power of each plant, figuring out how to help the human body and plants function together, is real, tangible power.
I have counseled friends and family members on gut health, on anxiety, on hormonal support, on sleep, on energy, and on so much more.
I work with local farms, placing orders to keep my shelves stocked, I explore herbal powers, and the food that I feed my family, and I practice herbal medicine for a variety of preventative and healing medicines.
Herbalism is not a gift. It is a skill.
It is something you can study, and it is something you can learn. Anyone can do this.
It’s what I love about it
One of my favorite things to tell people I’m not special.
I mean, of course I’m special.
But when it comes to most things that I do and practice in daily life, there’s nothing special about me in terms of gifts.
You can study plant power, you can read books on nutrition, and on anatomy, and I’m functional medicine, and you can buy local herbs, and learn to incorporate them into your life.
Thanks to modern technology and industrialization, human beings are exposed to dozens and dozens of toxins every single day.
They’re in our water, they’re in our air, they’re in the things we put in our bodies, and they’re in the things we put on our skin and hair.
They are everywhere.
These toxins can have a disastrous effect on our bodies.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Herbalism is one of the most powerful ways that we can combat at these toxins.
Sure, we also need to try to avoid toxins whenever we can.
But learning how to work with plants can help us mitigate and even detox the harmful chemicals that are in our bodies.
History of Plant Medicine
Again, plant medicine is the original medicine.
Long before we had Tylenol and ibuprofen, we had a white willow bark, we had bromelain, we had ginger and turmeric, and we had devil’s claw.
And the witches in our society, kept at bay on the outskirts of villages, knew this.
We were the ones people turned to when they were in pain, when they were ill, when they needed medicine.
We helped desperate women abort unwanted pregnancies with herbs, we helped eager women get pregnant with herbs, and we helped bring life into the world with herbs.
We packed wounds with herbs, we healed internal infections with herbs, and we brought people back from the brink of death with herbs.
The inherent belief behind plant medicine is that all of life is connected.
We evolved alongside plants and animals, with the express purpose that we would serve each other.
Plants and animals would become food and companions, and we would be shepherds of the Earth.
This is a believe in the power of nature.
Unfortunately, extreme religious doctrine, fear of both what is new and different and fair of women and our power, as well as the scientific revolution, all collaborated to virtually wipe out the power of plant medicine naturopathic healing.
Once medicine was institutionalized, plant power was concentrated and channeled into pills with horrific side effects, and the original plants that those pills were concentrated from were shoved to the periphery of our wisdom and knowledge.
Medicine women and healers were shunned, shackled, and murdered as heretics.
Fortunately, we have been entering a reclamation of natural health over the past few decades, specifically in the last 10 years.
As the information age peaks, as more and more people realize how much information is at our fingertips, and how much we’ve been lied to and misinformed by the very people who were supposed to be watching over us – doctors, government leaders, and even some supposed teachers – we have begun to take power back.
This is, of course, not to say that all doctors, government, leaders, and teachers are evil and corrupt.
In many ways, the people that fill those roles are just as much victims of this awful system as we are.
They to received an inadequate education and insufficient information to do their jobs well. The levels of burnout are out of control.
Regardless, it’s time to take her health into her own hands, and herbalism implant medicine is a great place to start.
Health Benefits of Gardening
And even if you live the rest of your life healthy, your family and friends are healthy, and you never need herbs for healing purposes, there are tremendous health benefits to growing an herb garden, as well as to taking herbs for preventative reasons, to keep you healthy.
Abundant studies show the value of getting your hands into the dirt, of getting your feet onto the bare ground, and to simply spending time in nature.
Even if you have an indoor herb garden, there are beneficial mental wellness effects to growing something.
Of course, I would recommend doing both.
Have an indoor herb garden, and start gardening outside as well.
And I would say the number one most important thing you can do as you enter your journey towards gardening, is to not be afraid to fail
I have killed dozens and dozens of plants in my attempt to become a green witch, and I can just hope that they will forgive me.
But that collateral damage led me to a place where now I can say I have an almost green thumb.
Why to Start an Herb Garden
To start your own herb garden, the first thing you wanna do is decide which herbs to work with.
Great herbs to start with will be the ones that are both hardy and offer health benefits, but you understand, in addition to offering ways to incorporate them into your daily life.
Good will it do you to grow a bunch of herbs that you never plan to use?
As such, I recommend starting with the herbs, like oregano, sage, chives, basil, and rosemary.
Oregano and basil are common ingredients in most Italian dishes, and they’re easy to add to sauces and soups without making the flavors overwhelming.
The health benefits of oregano include being rich in antioxidants, being an antibiotic, having anticancer properties, decreasing inflammation, and reducing viral infection.
And it’s so easy to just add to a chili or soup.
The health benefits of basil include lowering blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, boosting, your magnesium levels, and contributing to your omega-3 fatty acids. Basil is also a source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as a source of copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and folate.
One of the things I love about basil is how easy it is to grow a thick, rich bush, which you can then harvest for pestos, or to throw into sauces.
Pesto sauce, which can technically can be just basil and olive oil, is perhaps one of the healthiest foods you can eat.
Sage is great for drying and burning to cleanse your house. You can also drink sage tea for its nutrients, antioxidants and oral health benefits.
Chives offer not only a savory onion, taste to your food, but they have also been linked to improving memory function.
Finally, rosemary is so easy to grow into huge plants and also offer cognitive benefits, as well as antioxidants an anti-inflammatory compounds.
So now you know why you should start an herb garden. It’s not only good for you, but it is good for everybody around you as well.
To take her first steps to learn how to get started, read my piece on how to start an herb garden for beginners.