Ten Useful Plants for the Kitchen Witch
Every plant, flower, tree and herb has its own energy and these can be used in various ways including healing and for spiritual and magical purposes. This does not just apply to mystical sounding and difficult to obtain ingredients but also to the everyday herbs, spices, plants and trees that we have in our homes and gardens or that grow around us in parks and even the busiest towns and cities. Many common but useful herbs can be bought in the supermarket and with some research you can learn to safely identify wild plants and trees and which beneficial properties they possess. If you have a garden or even a balcony or window box you can grow a variety of herbs and other plants for yourself and some are even able to be grown indoors. Plant material can also be dried for use at a later date.
Each type of plant has a series of correspondences and this provide us with information on what each is best used for. These correspondences include intents such as abundance, soothing, grounding and happiness, elements, planets, sabbats, astrological signs and gods and goddesses. Incorporating these when plants are used for magical purposes can help to add power to the work and insure that your intent is clearly heard.
What is a Kitchen Witch?
Kitchen witches follow a path that is possibly one of the oldest known. They are sometimes known as cottage witches and create magic at home through everyday life tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Kitchen witchery is a very informal and form of magic that lacks the ceremony of some paths, but this does not make it any less potent and affective.
Kitchen witches work with plants in a variety of ways including:
- Infusing the foods they prepare with magical intent
- Making oils, balms and ointments that can be used in healing
- Using herbs/plants and magical intent while cleaning their homes
- Growing plants around their homes for protection or use in spell work
- Using herbal teas to soothe and heal the body
- Working with herbalism
- Growing herbs and other plants to use in their practice
- Foraging for wild plants
- Using items such as charm bag, witches bottles, witches ladders and symbols to bring magic to the home
When you see spells listing ingredient such as bats wing, blood of a snake, paw or urine these do not refer to these items literally. These are folk and secret names for certain plants that were used in the past to help protect witches against persecution and misunderstanding or the risk of their magic being used for harmful purposes.
Useful Plants in Kitchen Witchery
Plants can be used in dried and fresh forms although some people believe that dried is more potent as the energy and so magical properties have been concentrated. If you are drying herbs and plant materials yourself you should ensure that they are fully dry before storing. Any moisture left can cause them to spoil or mold. A simple way of drying any plant material is to simply hang it in a warm dry room, ideally with space all round for good air circulation but this is not essential. If you wish you dry small leaves it can helpful to leave them attached together or to their branches until after they have dried. Metal racks such as those used in baking can be utilised for drying but it best to reserve one for this use only. This is due to the fact that not all magical herbs are safe for internal use and it is best to err on the safe side in these matters. The same applies to any knives, spoons or other tools used. Reserving tools for magical use also means that they can be infused with your magical intent. Once dried plant material can be crumbled or kept whole depending on your preferences and intended uses. They are best stored in sealed containers to prevent any moisture damage and should be kept out of sunlight as this can also degrade them. Brown glass bottles are a popular choice but any container with a well-fitting lid is fine. These can be bought especially or can be reused items. Small jars such as those used for baby food, culinary herbs, bath products and gifts are great for storing dried herbs, leaves, berries and other items. Be sure to label these clearly so that you know what is inside.
1. Buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus)
These little yellow flowers can often be found growing wild in even the busiest city parks and open spaces. In magic they are associated with abundance, wisdom, divination, protection and psychic abilities. These flowers can be hung over the main entrance to your house for protection purposes or placed on your altar as an offering asking that your spiritual abilities are strengthened. Buttercups can be placed in your purse or other areas associated with money and abundance to help attract this to you. They can also be added to prosperity rituals and spells.
Buttercups are linked to the sun and element of fire, masculine energy and the zodiac sign of Capricorn.
2. Cleavers (Galium aparine)
This is an annual plant that can often be found growing in parks, headgerows, woodland or wasteland. It has small white flowers that are followed by ball shaped fruits. This plant is commonly known for its ability to stick to other things and this gives it the nickname of ‘stickybud’. This ability is made possible by the tiny hooks that cover the plant and often makes it a favourite of children, who play at sticking them to each other’s clothes. This hooking and sticking power make cleavers ideal for working with situations that need to be brought together or stabilised. This includes increasing commitment or strengthening a relationship. They can also be used in binding.
Cleavers are associated with Saturn and the element of fire. They possess a feminine energy.
3. Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
Cloves are an aromatic flower bud and are commonly used in cooking either whole or ground into a powder. They possess a range of magical and health benefits and can also be used in creating incense and other aromatic blends. Clove oil is commonly known for its ability to soothe a toothache due to its eugenol content. Although this is a fairly well known remedy and cloves are common is cooking it is worth noting that eugenol is toxic at fairly small doses so caution should be taken using the oil, especially with children, the elderly and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. For use in easing the pain of toothache clove oil should be diluted with appropriate carrier oil such as olive or sunflower oil. A few drops of clove oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil is sufficient to provide pain relief. This can then be placed in a small clearly labelled bottle and applied to the painful area using a cotton bud or clean finger.
In magical terms cloves are associated with love, money, clarity, protection, repelling negativity, stress relief and preventing gossip. This bud has a masculine energy and is connected to fire, Aries and the planet Jupiter. Clove incense or essential oil can be used in clearing negative energy from you home and other spaces. Placing whole cloves above your front door is said to stop gossip about you and protect your home and its inhabitants. Cloves can be used to create a tea that is report to help in seeing the truth of a situation clearly.
4. Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Dill is a tall annual herb that has feathery leaves and yellow flowers. It is used in cooking as well as for magic and its properties includes working with protection, balance, love, money, jealousy and knowledge. Carrying dill is believed to help create balance between you conscious and subconscious minds. Used in incense it can help to bring insight, clarity and wisdom. This herb is ruled by Mercury and has a masculine energy. It is associated with the zodiac signs of Cancer, Gemini and Leo and the element of fire.
In cooking the seeds and leaves are used and the leaves are often referred to as dill weed. It has a strong distinctive taste that resembles a combination of fennel and celery. It is commonly used in pickling, fish dishes and rice but is also sometimes included in tzatziki recipes.
5. Evening Primrose (Oenothera)
This plant has a strong connection to the moon and has a powerful feminine energy. It is also associated with faeries and hunting – traditionally it was used to honour hunting deities or in rituals for safe and prosperous hunts. It can be used in helping to find lost items or in hunting down things we desire. This includes things such as new jobs, relationships or a new home. Evening primrose is associated with the element of water.
Evening primrose oil can be bought and is a highly beneficial supplement. It is rich in the omega 6 fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and can help ease premenstrual syndrome and improve brain function and skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and acne.
6. Garlic (Allium sativum)
This is in fact the bulb of a plant and can be used in magic, healing and cooking. It can ward off illness such as colds and has been found to contain ingredients that can help protect against conditions such heart disease and cancer. It is also a good source of nutrients including manganese, selenium, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and copper. Garlic is a common ingredient in cooking and can also be taken in capsule form.
In magic garlic is used in protection, healing, preventing/easing jealousy and strength. It is connected to Mars and the zodiac sigh of Aries. Hang garlic bulbs above the main entrance to you home for protection and prevent jealousy entering. Eating a meal containing garlic is said to give you strength when you need to face difficult or draining people and situations.
Garlic possesses antioxidant, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties and can be used to protect against the damage caused by free radicals. This bulb has a masculine energy and is connected to the element of fire.
7. Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
This tree is commonly found in hedgerows and has a strong connection to the fae. It grows well even in poor soil and the berries and leaves are used in magic. The ripe berries can also be eaten and are often used to make jams, jellies and chutneys. Hawthorn berries are believed to aid digestion and contain antioxidants. The berries can be gathered in autumn but take care as the tree also has spikey thorns. Some studies have shown that hawthorn may also help in easing heart complaints and high blood pressure.
In magic hawthorn is associated with love, happiness, purification, fertility and hope. This tree forms the faery triad along with oak and ash and is thought to offer a gateway into the faery realm. Add hawthorn berries to water used to mop floor or clean your house for protection. Use in workings to gain forgiveness and is warding off evil. This tree is associated with Mars and Venus, the zodiac sign of Sagittarius and fire. It has a masculine energy.
8. Nettle (Urtica dioica)
This plant is generally regarded as a weed but has many beneficial properties. Although not a common practice it can be eaten once cooked and used to create a green dye. It can also be used to create a nitrogen rich fertiliser for plants. Nettle leaves can be used to make a tea that boasts a wide variety of health benefits. These include boosting immunity, easing menstrual cramps and bloating, reducing inflammation, easing allergic rhinitis, relieving cold symptoms and fighting against intestinal parasites.
Nettle is said to help protect against lightning and to be useful in drawing money towards you. They can be used to break curses and hexes and to protect against negative energy. Dry nettle leaves and crush them to a fine powder. This can then be sprinkled anywhere you wish in order to prevent negative energy entering the space. Use nettle in workings for healing, protection, money and removing hexes. It is connected to Mars, fire and the zodiac signs of Scorpio and Aries and has a masculine energy.
9. Plantain (Plantago major/Plantago media)
Plantain is a common plant found on footpaths, roadsides and anywhere grassy. It is considered a week by most people who do not know of its great magical and healing benefits. The dried or fresh leaves can be seeped in oil for several weeks before straining. The resulting infused oil can be used in creating healing and soothing balm and creams. When combined with melted bees or carnauba wax plantain oil can be used to make a balm for soothing sore or itching skin and insect or other stings.
Carrying plantain has long been believed to protect against snake bites and this method can be used for protection in general. When hung or grown in front of your home it will ensure that only pleasant and positive people enter. In magic plantain is used when working for strength, protection, healing, energy and courage. It has a feminine energy and is connected to Venus, the element of earth and Capricorn.
10. Violet (Viola odorata)
Violet flowering in spring with purple or white flowers and has pretty heart shaped leaves. It is associated with love, lust, peace, healing, commitment and rebirth. These flowers remind us to be true to ourselves and to be committed to what is important to us. Although the flowers may seem small they are a powerful addition to magic concerned with love and lust. Violets can be grown outside or in your house and bring peace, protection and healing to all around them.
Violets are linked to Venus and the zodiac signs of Cancer and Libra. They have a feminine energy and are associated with the element of water.
© 2018 Claire