I have read books on this topic (they are mentioned later in this article), but most of my knowledge comes from personal trial and error as well as information passed down through my family. While only myself and another relative practice Paganism, herbal remedies, herbal brews, etc, have been common place and in most cases preferred over modern medicine. My grandfather was an old fashioned Scotsman that swore by his remedies. Some of what I know about herbal brews came from him. When he passed away, I continued the research on my own.
Please keep in mind this is mostly from personal experience and should only be used loosely as a guide.
What is a Potion?
Potions are herbal brews or drinks (also often referred to as tinctures)that have a variety of uses. You can use them for love, luck, protection, and so on. They can also be used for medicinal or healing purposes, but any serious medical issue should bepromptly treated by a proper medical professional.
How do I create a potion?
Potion creation works similarly to that of spell creation. You need intent and you need your tools (now you don't always need tools to cast spells, but when making potions you do need certain items). Now then, if you drink ginger tea and focus on it healing or curing a cold, you essentially are making it a potion by strong intent and visualization. Think of it as a liquid form of a spell. (Let's also keep in mind that ginger already has natural healing properties, the goal is to try to further utilize those via charging the tea, etc.)
How do I know what herbs to use?
Use common sense when working with herbs and potions. If an herb has calming qualities, such as lavender or chamomile, use it in a potion for relaxation or for better sleep. If an herb, such as ginger, has a spicy yet sweet and warming quality use it in a potion for protection, love, or healing. If you've never worked with a particular herb, do extensive research to find out if it can be harmful before ingesting it or giving it to others. This includes doing research on any negative effects it might have when taken with certain meditations.
If you would like further information on herbs and their qualities I recommend the books:
The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews - Written by Scott Cunningham
Herb Magic for Beginners: Down-to-Earth Enchantments ~ by Ellen Dugan
When working with potions you will need the following items:
A saucepan and water- I use a stainless steel pan because Teflon pans tend to chip, but you can use whatever you have on hand or prefer. (The size depends on the amount of potion you wish to make)
A spoon- I use a wooden spoon, but again you can use whatever you have on hand or prefer.
Glass jars - to place your potion in.
Labels - to date your potions if you plan on storing them, I suggest not keeping them for longer than a week or two at the most.
Strainer- This is used to separate the liquid from the herbs once the potion is ready to be bottled.
Herbs- The herbs should correspond with your intent and should be charged for the best results.
Intent- Your intent in potion creation is the same as if you were creating a spell. Your intent needs to be strong and clear for the greatest chance of your potion to work.
Day of the Week: The days of the week are associated with certain aspects (love, protection, healing, etc.) You can make your potion on a day associated with its aspects to strengthen it. I have provided a list of the days and their associations below.
Days of the Week:
Monday: The day of the moon, fertility, and healing.
Tuesday: The day of Mars, strength, and courage.
Wednesday: The day of Mercury, communication, study, and travel.
Thursday: The day of Jupiter, luck, and fortune.
Friday: The day of Venus, love, and relationships.
Saturday: The day of Saturn and clearing obstacles.
Sunday: The Day of the Sun, health, and success.
*Source for Days of the Week:
The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-Paganism ~ Raymond Buckland.
Brewing Your Potion(s):
Step 1: Charging your Herbs- to charge the herbs visualize them being filled with the energy of your intent. For example, if the potion is being created for protection, visualize red protective energy flowing through the herbs. Both visualize and feel the energy flowing within the herb(s).
Along with the above mentioned method, you can also pray over the herbs and ask them to allow you to use their magical energies during potion work. I don't personally do this but my cousin does. She will hold the herbs in her hands and say a small prayer, asking them to grant her their wisdom and power during herb magic, potion brewing etc. The idea being that by praying to the spirits within the herbs, it will further strengthen your works of magic for which they will be used.
Step 2: Place water in the pan and bring it to a boil. Add the herbs and turn the heat down to a simmer. Visualize and feel the herbs filling the water with their energies. You can also say a chant or charm associated with your intent, if you feel it helps strengthen your potion. Allow the herbs to boil for about ten minutes then turn off the heat and allow the potion to cool.
Step 3: Once the potion has cooled run it through the strainer to separate the liquid from the herbs.
Step 4: Bottle and label your potions and return your leftover herbs to the earth as opposed to tossing them in the trash. (I bury them to return them back to the earth and the deities. You don't have to do this of course. This is just a suggestion.)
NOTE: Store your potions in a cool, dark place. Only make as much as you plan on using. I also recommend not keeping them for longer than a week, so that the brews don't spoil. Believe it or not, potions can become rather rancid and unpleasant if not used within a certain amount of time.
Brewing a Potion/Tea for Better Sleep:
2 teaspoons of Chamomile flowers, if you can't find them you can always use one or two prepackaged teabags.
1 teaspoon of Peppermint leaves; if you can't find them you can use one prepackaged teabag.
Honey or sugar to sweeten it to your own personal taste.
One medium to large tea ball, if you are using the fresh or dried foliage (i.e. you aren't using store-bought teas already bagged.)
Making Your Potion:
1. Visualize the herbs being filled with a blue energy, an energy that will bring you better sleep or the energy of helping you drift off to sleep.
2. Boil water in either a teakettle or saucepan. Once the water is boiling pour it into a large teacup and add your herbs and sugar or honey.
3. Again visualize the herbs being filled with a blue energy and visualize the herbs filling the water with that same energy, the energy to either bring you a better sleep or to help you drift off to sleep.
4. As you drink your tea visualize it bringing you a peaceful sleep.