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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The Longest Night: Herbs for the Winter Solstice Season

WinterSolsticeHerbs

The wheel of the year turns deeper into the dark, bringing us to the longest night of winter.  The Winter Solstice is both a time of honoring the reflective gift of solitude and the distant promise of the seed sparking to life.  With this spirit we invite herbs into our practice that root our dreams into reality as well as warm us with the inner fire of the sun’s promised return.

So put on the kettle, prepare your charm, and welcome in the winter!

PINE Pinus sp.
Evergreens are sacred trees and remain green throughout cold seasons when other trees lay bare.  The needles of the Pine tree can be made into a tea and is an excellent source of vitamin C (more vitamin C, in fact, than citrus fruits such as lemons and grapefruit!).  Drink Pine tea throughout the day to clear up congestion and excess mucus.

ROSEMARY Rosmarinus officinalis
Warming Rosemary gives us the gift of a dry, Mediterranean heat in the long dark days of winter.  After a bought of sickness or a round of the blues, drink Rosemary tea to restore your body’s inner warmth and fire for life. Rosemary is very restorative to all of our blood organs such as the liver, heart, spleen, and kidneys, bringing back balance after a period of fatigue.  It is also helpful for a dispelling the winter fog from a dull mind.

VALERIAN Valeriana officinalis
A root of water and earth, Valerian is gently sedating, helping us to fully settle into the Season of Slowing Down.  Restlessness, insomnia, nervous stomach, and tension, dissolve with the use of Valerian.  My favorite way to take Valerian is as a glycerite, but it can also be enjoyed as a tea (even though we use the root, it should not be decocted since that would destroy its delicate volatile oils).  Mix Valerian with other herbs such as Mugwort, Anise, and Peppermint to create a potent brew for inducing visionary dreams.

yule dala winter solstice

CHAMOMILE Matricaria recutita
A classic herb for stomach upset, nausea, and indigestion, Chamomile also supports a sense of peace and cheerfulness in the body through its nervine qualities.  Chamomile flowers are miniature suns and can be used in bath, steams, teas or made into an herbal oil to uplift the spirit, calm the cranky, and center wayward energy.  I think a jar full of Chamomile flowers is a pleasant sun-honoring addition to the home altar.

I also find Flower + Gem Essences to be beneficial at any time of the year!  The following are excellent deep winter wonders:

SAGE Flower Essence
The Winter Solstice is the cusp between the signs of Sagittarius and Capricorn – Sage is a plant of Sagittarius and its ruling planet Jupiter.  As a flower essence, Sage has an initiatory quality to it, helping us to ease through life transitions.  It is an excellent rite of passage herb and provides release to stagnating emotions.  For the season of the Winter Solstice, Sage helps us to express our deepest kept secrets in ways that bring us joy.

sage winter solstice yuleSage Salvia officinalis

OAK Flower Essence
As the Wheel of the Year turns from the Holly to the powers of the Oak, the energies of Capricorn begin to shine.  A tree of Saturn (which rules Capricorn), Oak is a great flower essence for those folks who struggle on even though they are exhausted – they put on a happy and courageous face, hiding their feelings, and never complaining in hopes of not being seen as weak.  While they appear tireless, they have only become rigid in a state of constant stress brought on by a need to achieve the next thing on their list.  An excellent remedy for Capricorns who tend to burn the candle from both ends (you know who you are).  Oak helps us know our limits and be kinder to ourselves by realizing that taking time to rest is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of intelligent strength.

HEMATITE Gem Essence
A reflective mirror of night, Hematite is grounding and centering during the hustle of winter holidays.  Hematite is also a very protective Essence and helps folks feel shielded from fears, especially those of the “lurking in the dark” sort of insecurities, teaching us that it is not the dark we fear, for darkness is beautiful and necessary, but what we perceive to dwell within the shadows.

Be well and drink deep the darkness for after the Winter Solstice the days begin to grow longer as we prepare for the burst of spring!  

Create your own delicious + fully enchanted recipes for the winter with The Winter Apothecary!

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Hematite Gem Essence is available in our Apothecary along with other fully enchanted herbal remedies for the wintertide.

Courage, Parents, Courage!

The process of bringing a new baby into the world is a process of unfolding, expansion, and great change.  Many parents experience a broad range of emotions from elation to fear, joy, uncertainty, and sadness that are all part of the very normal and quite extraordinary journey of parenthood.  Blue Skies Postpartum Courage Blend can help lend courage to the heart and strength to the mind.

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Luxurious Locks: Herbal Hair Vinegar

Our Herbal Hair Rinse combines golden, raw apple cider vinegar with healing herbs that will help promote hair growth and beautiful locks.  Raw apple cider vinegar is an all-natural conditioner for the hair, aids in manageability of your luscious locks, and cleans the scalp of residue and build-up.  Vinegar is balancing and helps restore health to a scalp prone to dandruff and itchiness.

To use combine 1 – 3 tablespoons of our Herbal Hair Rinse with 1 cup water.  Generally, you’ll need 1/8 to ¼ cup of Herbal Hair Rinse per bowl of water.  After you’ve wet your hair thoroughly, slowly pour the Herbal Hair Rinse mixed with warm water onto your head, massaging it into your scalp.  Rinse and enjoy your majestic mane!

Our Herbal Hair Rinse includes the following scalp-nourishing, itch-reliving, hair-growing, highlight-enhancing herbs:

CHAMOMILE Matricaria recutita: Accentuates golden highlights as well as relieves an itchy scalp.

LAVENDER Lavandula officinalis: Soothing to the scalp and spirit while helping the hair to grow

ROSEMARY Rosmarinus officinalis: Prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth

PEPPERMINT Mentha piperita: Balances the pH of the scalp so hair is not too oily or too dry.

ROSE Rosa damascena: Nourishes and revitalizes hair.

BASIL Ocimum basilicum: Great for hair growth.

NETTLES Urtica dioica: Promotes the growth and regrowth of hair, reduces dandruff and helps thicken hair.

YLANG YLANG Cananga odorata Essential Oil

LAVENDER Lavandula officinalis Essential Oil

ROSEMARY Rosmarinus officinalis Essential Oil

Our Herbal Hair Rinse and other enchanted herbal goods

are available in our S H O P.

Remembering Wholeness: Rosemary

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Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis is known for remembrance and to keep the spirit youthful. Keep it under your bed to protect against bad dreams, hang it above doors and porches to deter thieves. Rosemary planted by the front door shows that the women run the home as well as their fortune. Clears spaces of harmful energies through its purifying vibrations and happy song. Watch closely the Rosemary bush, for you might just spot the Good Folk hidden amongst its branches.

Rosemary is the herb for those who look as though they need the dry, hot heat of the Mediterranean to restore their vitality and bring a healthy color to the skin. For those who feel stuck, might have poor circulation, and a general lack of energy and enthusiasm – life seems a bit grey, a bit bitter. The glow of Rosemary relieves the chilliness of body and spirit, bringing warmth and movement to the heart and mind.
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More Stars for More Merriment

As with any part of the year, whether you are tired, invigorated, flabbergasted, illuminated, joyful, disgruntled or bursting with any other exuberant expression of emotional being-ness, we hope that you’ll always have time to drink deep the incredible (tea)cup of life that we’re all experiencing.

All that said, we are simply tea-sellers at the end of the day and we would like you to know that we’ve more stars to light your way.  Our Star of Yule Tea Blend is now available in our standard 3 ounce size in our little online shop. You can still find it in our Winter Remedy Kits, too, in a smart-looking 1 ounce tin (who doesn’t want to look clever?).

A History of Thievery: Making Medicinal Vinegars

Death Plays with Medicine
Hartman Schedel, 1493
Image: Histoire de la Medecine

What is full of essential amino acids, vibrant enzymes, vitamins, and minerals and balances the bodies acid/alkaline state and tastes good?  Apple cider vinegar!  In the body, apple cider vinegar diminishes thirsts, helps to relieve feelings of restlessness, manages fevers, and has an overall cooling effect.  Externally, apple cider vinegar keeps skin smooth, treats sprains and bruises, checks perspiration odor, and relieves inflammation and itching.  Making medicinal vinegars is abundantly easy.  They are great alternatives to alcohol and glycerine based extracts and have a long history of use in western herbalism.  Ever heard of the infamous Four Thieves Vinegar?

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