The tools required for herbalism are items that you can buy in your local supermarket, they are simple to use, usually very cost efficient and best of all, easy to find and hide (for all you still in the broom closet). Before we begin to list the different types of tools and what they are used for, it is very important to mention proper tool care, by means of thoroughly washing your tools before and after usage. This will keep the different herbs from contaminating each other and can also help keep you safe in the cases of dealing with poisonous herbs. Failure to clean tools appropriately after usage can result in your magickal workings not going as planned, sickness, and in extreme cases death. I cannot emphasize cleanliness enough. A spiritual cleansing of the tools is important as well to prevent the transfer of negative energies into your next workings. Next week, I will do a post on how to properly clean and cleanse your tools. Now onto the common tools for a magickal herbalist: A magickal diary or journal: This is a very important tool for witches even outside of herbalism. This diary (can be your book of shadows if you keep one) is a place to write down the basics, tools, safe practices, which herbs go well together ect, for quick reference and to help keep you safe from ingesting anything that could be toxic. A journal is also very effective when used as a sort of "cook book". Write down each herb used, how much of each herb used, how long you cooked or dried the herbs ect. It will be very useful in recreating a working, if it is successful, in the future. The mortar and pestle: This handy tool is for grinding your herbs and extracting some of their natural oils. Now, when choosing a mortar and pestle to buy, it can seem rather daunting. The size of it doesn't really matter (unless you are making very large quantities) but how porous the mortar and pestle is does matter. The more porous the mortar and pestle is, the more friction it creates on the herb, which will result in much more effective grinding. They may not be as pretty as the glazed ones, but they are definitely more effective and will result in less work for you. Strainer: This is very important for getting the nasty little bits of herb out of your tinctures and brews. Most brews will need to be strained before they can be used. There are a lot of items that can be used as a strainer (holes should be small), a typical metal or plastic strainer, coffee filter (unbleached so as not to contaminate your brew) or even cheese cloth. Tea infuser: Now this one can seem a little off to some, but a tea infuser does wonders when brewing up a single dose of tincture. It enables the herbs to be infused in the water safely and it strains them for you, so no worries about little bits of herb floating around. Now, that being said, some loose tiny particles may escape the infuser; if that happens, run the brew through an additional strainer to make it more pure. Scale: Now this tool is rather self explanatory. It is used for measuring the weight and quantity of a particular herb being used. This tool is very important for dosage! Incorrect dosage of a particular herb can lead to illness or death. Be very precise when figuring out dosage, carelessness is not worth it. Bottles and jars: Once again, rather self explanatory in their usage. They are for containing your herbs and tinctures. These containers should be glass (to prevent leaching) and preferably tinted to keep out direct sunlight. Sunlight (as well as metal) can change the chemical composition of your herbs, rendering them ineffective. Once again I repeat, clean out your bottles and jars after use! Now, there are other items that are used, but not necessarily used in all containers. It would get a little tedious mentioning all of these, so use common sense when creating a brew. If you need an item, don't be afraid to use it. On a side and ending note, for tools, stone or glass tools are the best for the single reason that plastics and metals can change the chemical composition of your herbs and render them ineffective. If you have no other option, plastics and metals can be used, but just keep in mind the brew may or may not be as potent. Have fun, explore the tools, get comfortable with using them.