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Forums -> Herbalism -> Starting out?

Starting out?
By: / Beginner
Post # 1
I want to start making some potions, and utilizing herbs in my magic. I also would like to make some smoking blends. I don't really have a place to start a garden, but I could find the herbs at a store. I was wondering which herbs I should start with, kind of like a beginners kit that I could put together. Also which tools would I need? Thanks for the help.
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Re: Starting out?
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 2
I would start with lavender, chamomile, basil, and mint. these herbs are pretty easy to work with, in my experience. Just be careful with the mint because if you don't contain it, it will spread everywhere.

If you plan on making potions then you'll need something to store them in. Try to find some small bottles with lids and maybe a place to store/dry your herbs. I've also read that storing your potions in a cool dark place can actually make them last longer. When I actually make potions, I usually only make a small amount and I never keep them for longer than a week or two. You can keep them longer or for a shorter period of time if you like, just be sure to write the date on them. If they are pretty old and you use them it could make you sick.
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Re: Starting out?
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 3

Basil is always a must, I would agree. One of my personal favorites is thyme, and lavender. Of course for a beginner, I would read up on most common herbs used for such creations, and the types you would be more interested in having.

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Re: Starting out?
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 4
Garlic is very easy to tend to, as long as it doesn't get too wet. You can buy a bulb of organic garlic and bury the individual cloves. Authentic marigold is hard to find, but it's very hardy and easy to grow. Basil, thyme, oregano, and dill are simple and easy. Mint must be moved every two years and can get rust. They need a perfect environment, so make sure you have that first. Yarrow is also very easy to grow, it grows in fields naturally and spreads like a weed.
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Re: Starting out?
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 5
To use herbs, you don't need much. Depending on whether you're making a tea, oil, vinegar, powder or tincture you'll need a jug of spring water, a large bottle of olive oil, a jug of vinegar, (if you're of age, a high proof vodka or gin), a blender or a good knife and a talent for mincing. A double boiler is best, but just a good (non-aluminum) large pot with lid and oven safe porcelain cookware (just one 8oz one is good) works well. I like using a tea egg (its a small stainless steel egg with holes, you put in herbs, screw it tight, and drop it in water, instant tea bag!) I have a spoon one too, but I like my egg better. Some jars and bottles, and coffee filters or cheesecloth for straining. Mortor and pestles are nice but optional. I've done the same work with a meat tenderizer (the mallet not the enzyme), cheesecloth and a good arm.

I like buying high end herbal teas that aren't a mixture, like Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Mint, etc. I once used an apple cinnamon tea in a peace ritual (to mend a mother/son relationship). When it comes to using herbs for magick, quality counts. You want the freshest you can get. Even dried herbs have a degree of freshness. That's why I buy high end teas and herbs if I only have the choice of obtaining them dried. I've noticed freeze dried herbs now are becoming popular. I am weary of them!

As for smoking blends. If you are a smoker, than you probably won't like the taste of herbal smoke. Some are very good to help you quit smoking cigarettes though (many brands like Honey Rose) and you can turn to it instead of addictive chemically soaked tobacco if you get the urge to smoke. My husband used mullein in filtered cigarette papers to help subdue his smoking cessation when quiting. Some herbs are better than cigarettes (due to no chemical additives) but any smoke being inhaled directly into your lungs is unhealthy for you, although mullein isn't bad for quiting smoking because it actually helps you lungs recover. In my husband's case, it was better than lighting up a regular cigarette at his time of...insanity. =) It smells beautiful while burning! But according to him, the taste wasn't very nice. Many traditional herbal smoke is a hallucinogenic or in such cases as lobelia, can be overdosed.

So please becareful and do plenty of research on every herb and the way you wish to use it before actually utilizing it. Be sure to check all "overdose", "toxicity", and "contraindiction" information and look for the "medicinal" dose and undercut that unless you want the medicinal value. Always test to see if you're allergic by rubbing the soaked dry herb, crushed fresh herb, tea, etc. on the inside of your wrist or behind your ear before using it in bathes, ingesting it, etc. Wait about 30min and look for a rash, itchiness, burning, etc. You can also see its "family" and see if anything you are allergic to relates. For instance, if you're allergic to garlic or onions, you have a higher chance of being allergic to aloe vera.
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Re: Starting out?
By: / Beginner
Post # 6
thank you guys so much for the tips. whiteraven especially, youre always so overly-helpful its really great. (: im surprised that the most essential herbs are probably in my kitchen.
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