Spiritual Health

I’m a Green Witch, And I Swear by These 7 Herbs for Healing and Self Care

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Photo: Ally Sands; Graphic: W+G Creative

Nature is a healing force that holds the power to both nurture our psychological well-being and also feed our spiritual side. To that end, Ally Sands, a certified master herbalist and self-proclaimed green witch (a witch who focuses Earth, flowers, herbs, and plants), says a number of herbs for emotional healing are worth growing and/or buying, and then incorporating into mystical self-care practices. And given that 2020 has been a year, you may be interested in exploring what natural gains you can snag from these herb-led practices.

"Even if you don’t have access to a large space, you can easily grow a few of your most-used herbs in a windowsill, a balcony, porch, or even in your kitchen," says Sands, author of Plant Magic for the Beginner Witch: A Herbalist's Guide to Heal, Protect, and Manifest. "The best part of using herbs for magical purposes is that a lot of the herbs overlap, so you can use them across a variety of different kinds of workings. Lavender, for example can work for love, healing, protection, and cleansing rituals."

Whether in dried or fresh form, below, Sands shares some essential herbs for emotional healing, and how to use them in any number of calming rituals.

How to use 7 different herbs for emotional healing, according to a green witch

1. Garden sage

Maybe you're familiar with sage, having used it before to clear out negative energy left behind by repulsive couches and even more repulsive exes. That's great, but also be sure to fact-check where you get your sage, and what sage you get.

"When you use sage in rituals, make sure you are using common garden sage," Sands says. "White sage is an at-risk plant that's being over-harvested in the wild. So even if you live in an area where it grows, I don’t suggest you forage it, as there are dozens of varieties of sage that can be substituted. Substitute culinary sage in any cleansing work that you might typically use white sage for."

Furthermore, white sage is traditionally used for the Native American ritual of smudging, and those who aren't members of the Native American community who co-opt the ritual using white sage are culturally appropriating it.

How to use it: "Sage has strong cleansing and purifying properties that are best suited for making incense, dried bundles or in ritual baths."

2. Rosemary

Rosemary is an excellent all-purpose herb, and one Sands recommends that every witch has in her garden. While the scent can be stimulating for memory and for making really boss focaccia, the herb offers other emotional healing properties. "Rosemary is mainly used for protection and cleansing, but also for love, healing, and feminine power," Sands says.

"Rosemary can be hung from a doorway to protect your house, in a floor sweep to rid your home of negative energy, or in a ritual oil that can be used to anoint yourself or your magical workings with." —Ally Sands, herbalist and green witch

How to use it: "Rosemary can be hung from a doorway to protect your house, in a floor sweep to rid your home of negative energy, or in a ritual oil that can be used to anoint yourself or your magical workings with."

3. Lavender

Lavender has many benefits, including de-stressing and easing into an easy slumber, and its versatility extends to mystical spells. Sands, for example, uses lavender to cleanse the house of negative energy and as a beacon of love. "Lavender can be used in love oils, powders, and in ritual baths as well," she says.

How to use it: "Keep a lavender sachet under your pillow at night to help you sleep or attract love into your life."

4. Roses

In herbalism, Sands says, roses are believed to help calm the the nervous system and heal the heart center. "You can make roses into a tincture to heal any trauma or nervous energy," says Sands.

How to use it: "You can use fresh petals in a love bath, distill them into a rose water, make a love-attracting incense, or use them for self-compassion and self-love."

5. Chamomile

Planting chamomile in your garden is almost like having your most supportive confidant waiting at your window (or, more specifically, in your windowsill garden). "Chamomile is one of the best herbs for friendship, luck, money and healing," says Sands. "It is also great for relaxing, and soothing frazzled nerves."

How to use it: "You can use chamomile in an herbal tea blend for anxiety, as a tincture for relaxing, to mend a friendship, or to bring abundance into your life."

6. Lemon Balm

Similar to chamomile, lemon balm is another comforting herb for emotional healing.

How to use it: "Lemon balm can be used as a tea, in healing spells, in anxiety tinctures, or in ritual baths," says Sands.

7. Peppermint

Peppermint is freshly aromatic and can provide a jolt if your vibes feel extremely off. "Peppermint is an uplifting, energetic plant that stimulates physical healing in magic," says Sands.

How to use it: "You can physically rub it on your body to discharge negative energy or ill health; make it into an herbal bundle; place a few handfuls in a healing bath; or dry it and add it to candles, sachets and powders."

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