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Author Topic: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?  (Read 1488 times)

tigerlily

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What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« on: October 05, 2013, 02:13:19 pm »
So I poked into a store selling herbs last night, and was completely overwhelmed by choices. I don't know much at all about herbs, but love the idea of working with them, especially in kitchen witchery. I have some basics in the cabinet (cayenne, garlic powder, rosemary, etc.) but I also am missing a lot (the other night I couldn't find basil!).

What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock, and why? Which are good, general herbs that can be used for a variety of purposes or have multiple correspondences?

Breeze

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 03:47:01 pm »
Quote from: tigerlily;124245
So I poked into a store selling herbs last night, and was completely overwhelmed by choices. I don't know much at all about herbs, but love the idea of working with them, especially in kitchen witchery. I have some basics in the cabinet (cayenne, garlic powder, rosemary, etc.) but I also am missing a lot (the other night I couldn't find basil!).

What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock, and why? Which are good, general herbs that can be used for a variety of purposes or have multiple correspondences?

 
I always say to start with basic culinary herbs and spices, which it sounds like you already have.  My beginner's list would probably include: Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Garlic, Sage, Salt (not an herb, but yeah), and Pepper (both black and red).  To that, herbs that I have found I go through a lot of are: Vervain (probably my number one 'go to' herb), Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Patchouli, and Mint.  If you want to venture into resins too I'd include Dragon's Blood, Frankincense, and Myrrh.  Really you don't have to have a huge stock and you'll quickly find that one herb can be used in many different ways.

Schuyler

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 07:24:07 pm »
Quote from: tigerlily;124245
So I poked into a store selling herbs last night, and was completely overwhelmed by choices. I don't know much at all about herbs, but love the idea of working with them, especially in kitchen witchery. I have some basics in the cabinet (cayenne, garlic powder, rosemary, etc.) but I also am missing a lot (the other night I couldn't find basil!).

What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock, and why? Which are good, general herbs that can be used for a variety of purposes or have multiple correspondences?

 
Well, what do you intend to use them for? The top three in my kitchen are white willow bark (for pain and inflammation), ginger (for cramps, a detox bath, nausea, etc.), and St. John's Wort (tincturing a pick-me-up) on hand.

It sounds like you have a good start-- however, I would recommend getting fresh garlic. Garlic powder is fine and dandy for cooking for flavor, but you will not be getting garlic's full health benefits.

AthenaiiseSofia

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 07:37:06 pm »
Quote from: tigerlily;124245
What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock, and why? Which are good, general herbs that can be used for a variety of purposes or have multiple correspondences?


Depending on what you work with most (protection, healing, etc.) would help you choose more specific herbs. Personally, I would suggest Rosemary, Chamomile, any kind of Mint, Sage, Thyme, and Lavender. They have multiple uses, and I've found they work well. Very versatile. Also, though, common plants can work just as well as herbs, although they may not have the traditional "herb" title. For example, I use a lot of Oak, Pine, Willow, and Morning Glory. Also, salt is always good to have on hand.
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kiarakapow

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 05:42:45 pm »
Quote from: AthenaiiseSofia;134858
Depending on what you work with most (protection, healing, etc.) would help you choose more specific herbs. Personally, I would suggest Rosemary, Chamomile, any kind of Mint, Sage, Thyme, and Lavender. They have multiple uses, and I've found they work well. Very versatile. Also, though, common plants can work just as well as herbs, although they may not have the traditional "herb" title. For example, I use a lot of Oak, Pine, Willow, and Morning Glory. Also, salt is always good to have on hand.

 
These are good options however I have to say to be careful with sage. White sage has had an issue with over-harvesting lately. I don't think I've heard anything about it being at risk for endangerment or anything like that but it might be something to look into.

NanLT

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 06:19:13 pm »
Quote from: tigerlily;124245
What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock, and why? Which are good, general herbs that can be used for a variety of purposes or have multiple correspondences?


Oh, the choices!

What sorts of foods do you like to cook? Or eat?

I think I see a cooking blog post coming in...

Okay, let's see.

Some good all-rounders:
Parsley, rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, dill, chilli flakes, fennel (seeds -spice; leaves - herb) whole black peppercorns, cinnamon, mustard powder

For Mexican or Indian cooking:
dried chillies, cumin, turmeric

For Italian cooking, or dishes with a tomato base:
Oregano (or marjoram which has a milder flavour), basil, fennel seeds

For strong meats like beef or venison - juniper berries work very well
For fatty meats like lamb - rosemary and mint
Fish - dill, fennel


Until you really understand what kind of flavour an herb or spice will give, try not to mix more than 3, possibly 4 together in a dish.

I suggest the same thing when using herbs and spices for magical work - use them singly or no more than 3, possibly 4 together in a spell until you are sure how they will interact with you.

I suggest sitting down with the herb, whether fresh or dried, and listening to what it tells you. Where your direct input from the plant disagrees with or contradicts what you found in a book, ignore the book. Think about what the flavours of each evoke in you - are they pleasant - be good for drawing nice things to you; are they nasty - be good for repelling or getting rid of not nice things; what shape are they? - bay leaves remind me of spiked tongues so I've used freshly picked lieaves for spells to keep people from spreading lies or gossip. Cinnamon while very nice when mied with sugar has a rather unpleasant taste when tasted by itself, so I have used it to repel unwanted visitors or influences.

Juni

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 06:46:01 pm »
Quote from: tigerlily;124245
What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock, and why? Which are good, general herbs that can be used for a variety of purposes or have multiple correspondences?

 
This may not be the answer you're looking for, but: this is not necessarily a useful approach. It's an appealing one, mind- I remember imagining a proper witch's cabinet stocked with glass jars of herbs and spices, and bundles of things hanging up to dry... It's all very poetic.

In reality, there's a good chance that running down a list of herbs and stuffing them into your cupboard is a recipe for having a cupboard full of expired herbs and spices seven months down the road.

Instead, my recommendation would be to do one or both of the following: A) pick up a beginner's herbal book (there are several threads, I believe, that could recommended one- I can't) and start learning before you start working. Learn about physical properties, metaphysical properties, shelf life. Purchase in small quantities, dabble until you feel comfortable, and then move on. and/or B) Look at the work you want to do. Make a list. Do you like to cook soups? Is magical healing something that interests you? Cross reference the ingredients, and see what comes up a lot. What any other given witch uses regularly may or may not have anything to do with what you will use regularly. And, if you're the forgetful sort like me, find a decent inventory app so you don't run out of basil when you need it. ;)

Other people's lists and correspondences do have their place, but mostly that place is with other people.
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Tana

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 02:12:09 am »
Quote from: Juni;136071

In reality, there's a good chance that running down a list of herbs and stuffing them into your cupboard is a recipe for having a cupboard full of expired herbs and spices seven months down the road.


Ha! This!

I am using very little, that is not on my kitchen cupboard anyway and in case I need something special, I will get it when I need it.

Even dried herbs don't keep forever.
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That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
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All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.\'
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Scales

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 05:14:17 pm »
Quote from: tigerlily;124245
So I poked into a store selling herbs last night, and was completely overwhelmed by choices. I don't know much at all about herbs, but love the idea of working with them, especially in kitchen witchery. I have some basics in the cabinet (cayenne, garlic powder, rosemary, etc.) but I also am missing a lot (the other night I couldn't find basil!).

What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock, and why? Which are good, general herbs that can be used for a variety of purposes or have multiple correspondences?

The normal kitchen set, whole, if possible. Garlic and sea salt are both very useful
-Cinnamon sticks
-Peppercorns
-Ginger root
-Garlic
-Salt
-Bay leaves
-Sage
-Rosemary

And then, common tea ingredients are a good set as well
-Licorice
-Fennel
-Chamomile
-Cornflower
-Lemongrass
-Hyssop
-Mint
-Lavender

From that I'd go to whatever appeals to you or is required for specific purposes.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 05:16:08 pm by Scales »

faralder

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 03:25:10 am »
For me the most potent relationships with plants are the ones which are rooted in connection with the land on which I live. Which is to say: what grows around you? Are there stands of cedar or pine in the woods down the road? Yarrow and mullein growing in the ditch? Maybe a huge rosemary bush in a friendly neighbor's yard?

It can be a bit more challenging to learn to identify plants growing in your area, but fresh material contains an energy and vitality you won't find in dried, packaged, store-bought stuff. Not that that's all bad of course, especially when you're in acute need or things are out of season. Its just a more intimate connection to the plants to learn them, come to know them, and to gather what they might offer. Also plant identification is fun! So go scoop up a good book for your area maybe. And make certain of what you're gathering when you do.

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Re: What herbs would you recommend a beginner to stock?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2014, 05:21:22 pm »
Quote from: faralder;141754


 
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