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I’m Alexis J. Cunningfolk and it is quite nice to meet you! I’m an herbologist and apothecarian which means that I work with plants and people to bring minds, bodies, and spirits back into magickal balance. You’ll find me in sunny, Southern CA living with my love (she’s a midwife!) and our lurcher pup, Basil. Curious still? Learn more about who I am and the values I keep.

I also drink a lot of tea. Hi-five!

Our little Apothecary is part of the greater healing movement to make herbal medicine more accessible, holistic, and radically kind. I teach ecstatic herbology – traditional western herbalism rooted in the magickal. I am also the creator of the Lunar Apothecary, an online learning community for womyn exploring the realms of moon herbology, medical astrology, and learning how to trust our magick.

Get started by perusing our blog full of free tutorials, sign-up for our amazing Hedgehog Herald for herbal inspiration and exclusive recipes, and learn more about our online learning community, the Lunar Apothecary.

In wild community,
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We’ve moved! Update your links to keep up with the Apothecary!

Clever friends, we’ve moved to a new home on the mighty interwebs!

http://wortsandcunning.com/

Please update your links to keep up with the latest blog posts, herbal tutorials, free recipes, exclusive remedies, and dance mixes featuring wookies drinking tea!

Thank you!
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P.S. Oh, ok! You can find the tea drinking wookie party over here!

Changes + Shifts at the Apothecary

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I started Worts + Cunning Apothecary over three years ago while living in Portland, Maine. Since then the Apothecary has criss-crossed the country setting up shop in Maine, Texas, Arizona, and California. As an herbal remedy-maker, I’ve loved creating the fully enchanted herbal goods that so many folks have come to love from Worts + Cunning.

There is a big change coming and we’re about to embark on a new path for our traveling tea party.

I love remedy-making – it is one of my primary callings as an herbologist. I also really love teaching and engaging with others in the pursuit of knowledge, facilitating relationships between plants, creatures, and people. Some of you know that I launched my first online course this past may – the Lunar Apothecary – and I love, love, love the sweet and invigorating space it has become. Having written my first ebook, Morning Mischief, about a year ago I began my herbal recipe series this Fall starting with The Haunted Apothecary and I just published The Winter ApothecaryWriting these recipe books and sharing some of the most popular Apothecary remedies as well as creating new ones has only beget longer lists of ideas, recipes to experiment with, and more books to write. I love it! (Noticing a theme yet?)

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While I could continue to make and sell my own herbal remedies, it has been so much fun to teach others to do so themselves. I’m in the process of writing more online courses and as well as a few local classes in the Long Beach, CA area. Oh, yeah, and I’ve been running around with a bunch of plantfolk known as the Roots of Healing community, organizing herbs fests, remedy barters, and free classes, with big visions on the horizon (Southern CA-based herb school, anyone? What about a sliding-scale herb clinic?). The work of the Apothecary is shifting and I’m thrilled!

To make space for these big changes, this year will be the last winter holiday season that our herbal remedies are available for sale.

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I know.

Big news!

Where will folks go to get their daily dose of high-fives or their flower garden in a bag?

Well, I’ve been writing recipe books for a reason, clever friend, and that is to continue to share our recipes with you so you can make them all your own! More importantly, I’m making space to create more – from courses of study to lots and lots of free and enchanting resources for our plantfolk community.

In short, I’m upping our daily intake of high-fives and making sure that there is more than enough to go around.

So get your teasessencespowders, and super surprise packs while you can and make sure to keep in the loop by signing up for your own free dose of fully enchanted remedies and ecstatic herbology.

The year ahead promises to be a wild one and I’m so glad I have clever friends like you to share the road with!

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Dwelling in the Dark: The Moon + Herbology

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As the dark continues to lengthen in the Northern Hemisphere and some of us prepare to celebrate the new year, I find myself firmly ensorcelled by the deep of night and like a night-blooming flower I open up and turn my face towards the Moon’s glow. I stand out in my garden under streetlight and close my eyes, floating my senses above the teeming senses, like a grey-winged moth, searching for the Moon above the purply dark of Los Angeles. I hunger, like so many wild ones, for the nectar of Moonbright.

What does the Moon matter to herbologists + plantfolk? 

The moon is a celestial vessel pouring out the energies of the sun, stars, and planets in our everyday (and everynight) lives as She moves through the sky. Our magickal ability to access, shape, and bend energy is defined by how we relate to the moon. Integrating herbs that are aligned to the moon into our daily practice is an incredibly powerful way to harmonize the influence of the Moon on us, as well as more effectively accessing Her harmonizing energy.

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Physically, in traditional astrological herbalism lunar herbs govern the blood, lymphatic system, and all fluids of the body, as well as the stomach and digestive system. As the Moon distributes celestial energy on earth, so does our blood distribute water, food, and oxygen throughout our bodies. The stomach is our second brain, where we possess our “gut instinct” and digest food and information that we receive, just as the Moon is the realm of intuitive knowing and revelation of mysteries.

Emotionally, the Moon heals underlying emotional disturbances and traumas that can lead to health imbalances. Moon energy helps us to become more receptive to changes in our life, harmonizing our hearts, minds, and bodies to ebb and flow with power and intention.

Magickally, connecting with lunar energies is an opportunity to cultivate our intuition, our visionary abilities, and become creative, healing dreamers.

At the end of the day (pun most definitely intended), the Moon helps us to access and express our desire. When I speak of desire, I speak of expressing inner truth, trusting your story, and living with the brilliance of authenticity. Working with lunar energy we can create remedies and practices of healing that call on the metamorphic integration powers of the Moon to call all parts of ourselves home again.

So now, clever friends and dreamy lunas, I leave you with the following lunar questions to consider as you brew a cup of tea and dwell deliciously in the dark. You will also find a new recipe for your late-night Moonlight musings! If you are intrigued and ready to start your journey as a lunar herbologist, join our exclusive learning community: The Lunar Apothecary.

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Moondark Musings

  • What is your relationship to the dark? Write it out, illustrate it, sing it, and/or dance it.
  • The Moon and its affect on us, including the lunar tools we are born with as expressed through our Moon sign (discover your Moon sign here) is about authenticity and trusting our story or truth. Do you trust your story? If not, why not? What holds you back from expressing your truest desires?
  • A creature of change, the Moon waxes and wanes, changing form each night. What is your relationship to change? Do you struggle to adapt or fear change? Alternatively, do you change so often that you lose sight of what you really desire? Consider finding an herbal ally or two, especially of the Lunar variety, to help you ebb and flow to the rhythm of your inner compass. Some Lunar herbs include Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), and Aloe (Aloe barbadensis).
  • Next time the Moon is full take time for Moonbathing. Get under her glow and drink deep her mystery, taking time to reflect on the importance of adaptability in our practice as herbologists, trusting our story, and regularly relinquishing that which no longer serves us.

And now for some tea!

Red Ring Moon Brew

Recipes That Go Bump In The Night

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It’s here!

Lots of tea, magickal music, and the occasional costume party led to the creation of our newest recipes book – The Haunted Apothecary!

The Haunted Apothecary is our first recipe book in a new series from the Apothecary featuring some of our favorite remedies! Create remedies to keep you and your loved ones healthy during the darkening year – with a healthy dose of spooky and just a touch of fake gross to keep things interesting! For less than a $1 per recipe you can create gallons of Cauldron Polish and keep your house well stock with our WIZARD! Herbal Coffee Alternative. The Haunted Apothecary is a full of hand-drawn recipes, lots of color, and digital delights to excite both your mundane and psychic vision!

Folks have been asking us for our recipes for years and now that more and more of our remedies are retiring we thought we would share with you some of our most beloved Apothecary blends!

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You’ll get the following original, exclusive, + fully enchanted recipes:

☛ Witch’s Delight Tea Blend
☛ WIZARD! Herbal Coffee Alternative
☛ Cauldron Polish Cold Care Elixir
☛ Troll Gas Digestive Bitters
☛ Ogre Snot Syrup
☛ Dumbledore Tea Blend
☛ Zombie Bait Herbal Powder

The Haunted Apothecary is an excellent gift for students, parents, people, herbalists, folks who like plants, individuals who listen to spooky music, aspiring potion-makers, long-term communards, those who are nostalgic, and everyone in-between!

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Taking Root: 10 Steps to Deepen Your Practice

Taking Root

In a recent conversation with a very clever and courageous herbalist, I found myself articulating just what it is that I love to do when it comes to herb work and magick. In my classes both online and in the garden, regardless of the subject matter, whether a course on flower essences or the home apothecary, the heartbeat of my teaching is the importance of practice and developing your very own devotional rhythm to guide you through your studies, herbwork, and personal journey of wellbeing. So, in the continuation of our series about the path of the herbologist (see part 1 and part 2), I would like to offer some of my thoughts on taking root and deepening your herbal practice. As always, these are offered in the spirit of this-is-not-all-that-there-is-to-consider and change-it-leave-it-dance-it-as-you-will.

1. Learn daily. Cultivate a healthy appetite for exploration where every day holds an opportunity for learning something new, becoming more adept at a skill, making mistakes, and re-membering truths you may have forgotten along the way. You might choose to learn one new item of information about a plant you are currently working with each day, but learning more about herbs does not mean you need to be continuously learning about herbs. Learn how to relax, how to skateboard, how to build an app or cook your great-grandmother’s red bean cake recipe really darn well (and then share some with me, oh please). Having a healthy practice of conscious learning helps us switch into student mode when we are presented with an unexpected learning opportunity as well as doing all those good things like keeping our brain muscle fit, our heart engaged, and our curiosity primed for action.

2. Find your plant ally. I have already written about connecting with plant allies, but briefly, by investing in long-term relationships with plants we grow our depth of understanding for their healing qualities, often in unexpected ways. Also, our plant ally is able to learn more about us and those we serve, sharing its greening perspective of our humyn-ness.

3. Become aware of your breath. Breath is the foundation of wellbeing. If we stopped breathing that pain in our back or chronic psoriasis doesn’t matter too much. Become aware, right now, of your next inhalation. Now, be aware of your next exhalation. Be aware of your breath for the next five minutes and you’re well on your way to developing a meditation practice. Through breath we take up, nourish, and circulate. We also release, unwind, and give away. Explore breath techniques like measuring your breath by heartbeats, pranayama, and how to ground and center through the breath. Breath work grows awareness and mindfulness and lays the foundation for my next suggestion.

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4. Start meditating. The practice of meditation is as varied as the practice of herbalism. Find a technique that you enjoy and proceed from there. Meditation grows mindfulness and I feel pretty safe in saying that nearly every one of us could benefit from more mindful behavior. Whether your eyes are closed and you are sitting or your eyes are open and you’re running along a country road, meditative states can be accessed and propagated. Mindfulness can lead to more attentive listening, being more aware of what triggers certain emotions in our psyches, and acting rather than simply reacting to a situation. All these skills are skills of the herbologist.

5. Get uncomfortable. Sometimes we need to push past the boundaries of our comfort zone in order to grow. If something makes you uncomfortable or fearful, examine what lies beneath. Often times we discover pieces of ourselves that we have hidden away. Imagine the wholeness of calling those pieces of ourselves back home. The importance of feeling uncomfortable can also be understood in the context of the healing crisis. A healing crisis occurs when we release that which no longer serves us but we have been holding on to for a long time. It may occur during a period of detoxification when environmental toxins are released from our bodies. A healing crisis might emerge when we let go of stubborn tapes in our head that tell us we aren’t worth being well or that we are permanently broken. A healing crisis is uncomfortable, at times disorienting, but we are reshaping ourselves to align more clearly with our truth. Another important way to get uncomfortable is to examine the narratives of privilege, accessibility, oppression, and discrimination that infuses our North American culture, including in paradigms of healing both allopathic and holistic. Get uncomfortable, examine your privileges and oppressions, and then continue to do the joyful work of inclusivity, accountability, and kick-ass compassion. From the Ground Up: Herbalism For Everyone is a (free!) resource that I recommend getting started with if you’re curious about the cross-sections of herbal medicine and social justice.

6. Return to your center. Just as it is important to stretch your boundaries, remember to always be coming home. Figure out what fires you up about your herbal practice and follow its light to your heart’s content. I love making herbal remedies and it is a central part of my herbal practice. When I get caught up in research, writing, teaching, and consulting, where I can feel my energy reserves wavering, my focus breaking up, and the rumble of burnout on the horizon, I get back in the Apothecary and I make something. Whether a blah-busting brew or an herbal gift for a friend, I know that I feel renewed and connected to joy when I am making herbal remedies. I make sure to carve out enough time in my schedule to be in the process of remedy-making, knowing that it will support all the other work that I do as an herbologist because it centers me in my practice. Find your center and us it as a compass. If you feel inspired, create a mission, vision, and value statement for your practice to use as a written and visual compass for your practice and goals as an herbologist.

7. Invest in your education. Whether spending regular time in your local library or bookshop reading materia medicas, visiting your local herb garden, attending workshops or herb festivals and conferences, make sure you invest in you and your learning. When you learn more those you serve learn more and the cycle of dissemination of information continues. Mountain Rose Herbs has a great list of herb schools in North America and for those of you looking for an online community course about herbal medicine and magick with a lunar gaze and a group of amazing womyn, come this way. Make time every week for your herbal studies (and then, of course, disregard that suggestion and spend a full week only learning about how to make vegan ice cream). Learn about subjects that you feel shaky in from anatomy and physiology, to Traditional Western Herbalism energetics, or your understanding of terminology like analgesic, febrifuge, ecbolic, and catarrhal. To make your studies effective and fun, figure out what your learning style is and pursue knowledge through that lens.

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8. Examine what kind of herbologist you are. You might not even be an herbologist! You might be an herbalist instead or an herbal healer or any myriad of terms used to describe folks who work with plant medicine. Beyond what you call yourself it is more important to figure out just what you do. Some plantfolk are called primarily to be teachers while others are growers and gardeners. Other plantfolk are remedy-makers, clinicians, festival organizers, writers, and activists. All of us possess a myriad of skills as plantfolks, but most feel a calling to one or two aspects of herbal medicine and magick in particular. I have met a number of plantfolk for one reason or another worry that they are not able to be or call themselves an herbologist because they are unable to or do not like doing a particular aspect or possibility of herbal practice. I have heard folks say, for example, “I love growing and harvesting herbs, but have no desire to see clients, so I’m not really an herbalist.” Untrue and not useful, I say, to think in such a way. I identify primarily as a remedy-maker and apothecarian – it is the aspect of herbology calls most deeply to my desire. I only see a select few folks for consultations, I am learning how to grow herbs in ways that they feel most nourished, but I am happiest and doing my best service to my community when I am mixing up a new blend of tea or brewing up a new extract. Give space for change in your practice as the aspects of herbology that you feel most call to can change over the years as you change. Keep your compass handy, find your happiness as an herbologist, and pursue it with pleasure.

9. Follow the wheel of the year. Reconnect with the cycle of the seasons in your local bioregion. You’ll learn the best time for harvesting various local herbs and it is important that as plantfolk we dwell in plant-time. You can begin to create a rhythm of time that is dictated not by the linear constraints of the clock, but what I personally believe to be a greater authentic and accountable relationship to the land and sky of where you are. As we engage open heartedly with the seasons, our journey through the year becomes less about keeping up and more about moving with. A fantastic way to develop a seasonal practice is to create your very own seasonal tonics that incorporate local herbs and assist your mind, body, and spirit with the transition and the presence of each season. What would a fall tonic look like, for example, as opposed to a spring tonic?

10. Be always in practice. Every moment is an opportunity – whether for learning a new skill, taking time to rest, enjoying a meal, laughing out loud or burying your nose in a book. Engage with the world as an herbologist, practice the ideals that you hold in your heart, and be aware of the moments you are performing rather than practicing your craft. Through practice we realize we are always in practice and that there is always space for us to free up and grow. Come home again and again to your values and marvel at all the ways you are shaped by the truth of your story.

Autumnal Equinox: Recipes of Fortitude + Balance

Autumn Equinox Recipes

Continuing the conversation begun with our Autumnal Equinox : Herbs for Balance blog, we’ve created three recipes that feature herbs that we find resonate with the energies of the Autumnal Equinox including Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Horsetail (Equisetum arven). Make sure to read about these three herbal allies on our original Autumnal Equinox blog post.

For our Hawthorn recipe, our Blah Buster Brew fits the bill. A remedy for those days when the drearies descend upon the heart and mind (which can often happen when we realize that not only is summer truly over, but we might not be ready yet for the cold of the year), the Blah Buster Brew features Hawthorn flower, leaf, and berry along with soothing nervines and brain-tickling beauties to uplift the spirit and shoo the Blah-Beast from your door. Come this way to learn how to make your own Blah Buster Brew.

Skullcap is an Apothecary favorite and one of our dear green allies. The wise Skullcap tells us to slow down. If you are someone who worries that they are not getting enough done, you probably need to slow down instead of trying to put more on your plate (a common imbalance that many folks experience in during the Autumn of the year). If you are someone who never stops moving, you probably need to slow down. Seriously. If you are seeking to reconnect to your body, pulling your focus from your head into your roots, try slowing down first. For our Skullcap recipe we have created a nourishing, nervine extract with a Saturnian foundation for you to enjoy. As the Autumnal Equinox is also a time of the apple harvest, we’ve included fresh apples into our brew as well as apple cider vinegar. We call the brew Switch because it helps you to switch off, slow down, and be present.

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Blend together the following herbs + fruits:

  • 1 part Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
  • 1 part Horsetail (Equisetum arven)
  • 1/2 part Nettles (Urtica dioica)
  • 1/2 – 1 part fresh apple

Cover them, with 1/4 – 1/2 inch of additional menstruum floating above it, with 2 parts alcohol to 1 part of raw apple cider vinegar. To make the blend alcohol free substitute simply use only apple cider vinegar as your menstruum. As an added bonus add a few drops of Elm Flower Essence to the finished blend. Let the blend brew for at least one cycle of the Moon, shaking it daily. When ready, strain out the plant material and bottle. Enjoy 5 – 10 drops a day.

Horsetail is dinosaur medicine. Thinking of old plants and our ancient planet, I think of our how star-life emerged from the waters of our ocean planet so long ago, it makes sense that we should submerge ourselves in the healing qualities of Horsetail in via an herbal bath. Herbal baths are like giant teacups of spa-ness and are an incredibly enjoyable and easy way to incorporate herbal healing into our daily lives. Since Horsetail is so rich in silica it creates a skin restorative blend to nourish our cells and create a radiant appearance.

Stars + Dinosaurs Herbal Bath

You will need:

  • Horsetail
  • Good Quality Sea Salt
  • Epsom Salts
  • Essential Oils of Choice

Begin by decocting your Horsetail. In a soup pot I bring a generous handful of herb to boil, then allowing it to simmer for 3 – 5 hours. While the herb is simmering, prepare the salt by grinding it up in your mortal and pestle, preferably while singing songs of the sacred bounty of the sea. For every one part of sea salt add three parts of epsom salts. You will want 1 – 3 cups of salts for your bath. Add 10 drops of essential oils to your salts and mix well, letting the salt sit in a sealed container to let fragrance blossom as your Horsetail continues to simmer. I think a combination Cypress, Juniper, and Lavender are a lovely scent for this time of the year.

Draw your bath and when the Horsetail decoction is ready, strain out the plant material and add the Horsetail infusion to your bath water. Add 1 – 3 cups of your salt blend to the bath as well, stirring the waters until the salt dissolves. Relax and enjoy your bath! Splashing around like a dinosaur is optional.

Blessed Autumn Equinox! Enjoy the darkening year, clever friends!

Craving more recipes and herbal goodness?
Continue your herbal journey with us through our Hedgehog Herald and our super wonderful online learning community.

The Quick + Clever : Lemongrass

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A home surrounded by Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratum) is protected from snakes. Lemongrass clears the aura of harmful energy and changes bad luck to good, opening the way up to success and good opportunities. Add Lemongrass to blends to promote psychic vision and for the success of divination as the herb will also add clarity to the messages being received and given.

Lemongrass folks need to find their luck again. They may stumble over their words, feeling inadequate when it comes to articulate their feelings, ideas, and ambitions. Sometimes they resort to being dishonest, even when they are just little white lies, in an attempt to break through what can feel like a communication barrier. Lemongrass folks both struggle to communicate and to receive messages – sometimes they can be sharp going after the messenger and end up not paying attention to the actual message. Dampness and inflammation (the Damp/Stagnation tissue state) is a common complaint often materializing as sluggishness and a feeling of swelling. When Lemongrass folks are able to dry out and claim the beneficial qualities of their blocked Mercurial energies, their communication becomes unblocked, their become more flexible in mind and body, and are able to become messengers themselves.

Most folks are familiar with Lemongrass as a culinary ingredient that is found in many southeast Asian dishes like Tom Kha (yum!). While I’ll be discussing Lemongrass from a primarily Traditional Western Herbalism (TWH) perspective, I encourage you to explore the ancient and diverse cultures of southeast Asian herbal traditions that have long used Lemongrass as a standard herb in their Apothecary traditions including, but certainly not limited to, the Jamu healing traditions of Indonesia, Ramuan of Malaysian, and as well as Thai herbal healing traditions.

Lemongrass makes a wonderful tea and eases indigestion with its sweet lemony taste and delightful fragrance. The herb also has constituents that protect against blood platelet aggregation, protecting against clots. In TWH Lemongrass is typically classified as a cool and dry herb, so it would be helpful in addressing Hot and Damp tissue states. I have seen, however, Lemongrass categorized as hot and dry in Malaysian practice. For me, Lemongrass has less of a refrigerant quality as it is gently calming but has a taste that contains a fiery edge within it (like a combination of mild ginger and lemon). Depending on what herbs it is combined with you can pull out Lemongrass’ cooling or heating qualities. As a drying herb, soundly in the element of Air and under the guardianship of Mercury, there is a quality of cleverness and dry wit to Lemongrass that underlies its initial sweet taste and scent. Lemongrass is both one thing and then the other, which lends it to being a useful herb when transitions and initiations are occurring in your life and you are taking up new identities, especially when these identity shifts are accompanied by the change of physical appearance.

There are some very early studies that Lemongrass may induce apoptosis in some types of cancer which essentially means that the cancer cells destroy themselves. Some folks have begun to use the herb as a cancer preventative and I find that it is a great addition to your rotation of daily teas to keep your cells happy and healthy. The herb is used as well for common household complaints such as colds, the ‘flu, fevers, insomnia, and diarrhea (remember it is drying and an astringent). The flavor of Lemongrass helps “the medicine go down” so to speak, as its sweet flavor can alleviate some of the stronger tastes of other necessary medicinal herbs (another Mercurial quality of delivering what can feel like difficult and challenging, but very necessary, messages).

The essential oil is used as a disinfectant, containing antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Add a few drops to your countertop cleaners for a good scent and swift action against bacteria!

Topically, Lemongrass has many uses from reducing inflammation, treating boils, cuts, wounds, as well as helping swollen gums. The herb is used in prenatal massage blend oils as part of the Ramuan or Malaysian tradition of herbal healing as well as being used in postpartum baths to promote healing by reducing swelling and promoting blood circulation. I have made a gorgeous smelling herbal oil by infusing coconut oil with fresh Lemongrass and then adding drops of Lemongrass essential oil (check out my Herbal Oil Tutorial). I use it for conditions of inflamed tissue such as lower back strain, tendonitis, and assisting in repairing connective tissue tears. Lemongrass is also an insect repellant, so you can take care of your aching muscles after a long day outside without having to continuously swat away those biting bugs!

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She Pours Again: Full Moon in Aquarius

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The second Full Moon in Aquarius of the year, the Water Bearer dances with the Sun in Leo, demonstrating what it is to be truly generous, especially after so many of us may have experienced the heat of burnout in the past few weeks. In the Twenty-Sixth Mansion, our August Full Moon is oozing with the pleasure of devotion to those we hold dear in our lives.
As a fixed Air sign, Aquarius Moon energy is unusual and when the Moon moves into the house of the Water Bearer we feel it. Moods shift, priorities abruptly change, there is social upheaval, and the craving for freedom reaches new heights when the Moon is in Aquarius. As a sign of eccentricity mixed with the possibility of changing the world, the Moon in Aquarius is a time to network, invest in community building, and looking out for the welfare of others. The mood shift that occurs during an Aquarius Moon can be optimistic or pessimistic – a lot depends on how much freedom you feel you have access to. The freedom to move, express, and be unconventional is what makes the Aquarius Moon shine.
Learn more about the Moon in Aquarius and Aquarian herbs to work with at the Lunar Apothecary.

The Blah-beast visits the Apothecary

Blah Buster Brew

It happens.

We try our darndest to keep it centered, but then there is the knock at the door.

The Blah-beast has come with its one-monster show of stressful cacophony, the dullest brew of boredom, and the persistent fear that we might never get back on track.

“NO! Not the Blah-beast!” We cry out.

And, then we have a thought.

“Blah-beast, could you hold on just one moment? We wanted to position ourselves in a much more effective repose of despair and put on the kettle so its sharp wailing will add to your monstrous sense of foreboding!” We shout from behind the door.

“Blah, whatever, it doesn’t matter, I’ll be wiggling my toes in your head very soon,” The Blah-beast grumbles.

Gross. We think, but don’t dare say. “Thank you, great Blah! We’ll be but a moment!”

Quickly, quickly, what to do? Gather together herbs for the heart, herbs for passion, and herbs to disassemble the structure of stress attempting to build a small suburb along our spine. Jars full of herbs are pulled down from the shelves, the magick wooden bowl is brought out for the mixing, and with a wild-eyed charm (Will it work? It must! It will!), a tea pot is given four spoonfuls of a new herbal tea.

There is a shout in the kitchen for the kettle is hot! There is a grumble at the door of a Blah-beast anxious to come in!

Pour the dancing water in the pot, let it brew, keep it hot. Pour a cup and drink it up!

The Blah-beast has been tricked! It roars and beats its paw upon the door – but it has been overtaken with an overwhelming sensation to bust a move, drop it like its hot, and groove its suddenly happy heart off into the sunset.

Phew. We made it, our Blah Buster Brew to keep the Blah-beast bustin’ a move to their own happy dance and not our own personal groove.

Blah Buster Recipe

Swedish Chai + Summer Deals

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I just spent the past weekend in the beautiful wilds of Oregon dancing the days and nights away with magickal creatures of all varieties at the amazing Faerieworlds art and music festival! I came back to my seaside city feeling inspired and with some extra dirt and glitter packed in my bags (and, to be honest, tangled in my hair and between my toes). As some of us celebrate the week of the First Harvest in the Northern Hemisphere and late winter / early spring fire festivals in the Southern Hemisphere, I’m filling up on summer’s glow as the promise of fall is just around the corner.

One of the ways I like to celebrate the early mornings and long, lazy nights of summer is with pots of chai. Chai is simply the word for tea in a number of cultures, though many of us are familiar with the Masala chai of South Asian fame. I love to make chai blends based on local flora, culturally-entwined spices, and my own take on whatever tea drinking culture I may find myself in. Some of my chai blends are created with longing-in-the-heart, as I dream of places I look forward to visiting. Sweden has captured my imagination in recent years and so I created a Swedish chai in exploratory tea anticipation of future journeys. The recipe is below along with some insight into the spices and herbs included in the blend. Enjoy!

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Books have been written espousing the greatness of healing spices and what many consider dusty kitchen condiments are actually earthy jewels of wellness delight. Spices are healing foods that are easy to add to any meal and act as a fragrant passage for medicine to find its way through our mind, body, and spirit.

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is an excellent spice for indigestion and calming upset stomachs. Like many spices, Cardamom also has aphrodisiac qualities.

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), like many spices, aids with indigestion, but also has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anesthetic qualities.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) is a delicious blood sugar balancer and is also heart-healing, promoting healthy circulation, reducing hypertension, and possessing anti-clotting properties.

You can learn more about Elder, the Tree of Medicine + fiery Ginger in previous posts!

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