January – CHAMOMILE – This little plant grows on my gravel driveway. It seems to like it dry and hot, but still needs water to thrive. Late spring is when it flourishes and this is when I cut some of the tops off. I never seem to have enough but fortunately it is a ‘cut and come again’ plant.
Magical properties – Chamomile is known as an herb of purification and protection, and can be used in incenses for sleep and meditation. Sprinkle it around your home to ward against psychic or magical attack. If you’re a gambler, wash your hands in chamomile tea to ensure good luck at the gaming tables. In a number of folk magic traditions, chamomile is known as a lucky flower — make a garland to wear around your hair to attract a lover, or carry some in your pocket for general good fortune.
Other Names: Ground apple, Whig plant, Maythen, Roman Camomile
Deity Connection: Cernunnos, Ra, Helios
Latin Names : Matricaria recutita, Chamomilla recutita
Common Names : Bodegold, Camomile, Chamomile, Common chamomile, German chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Hungarian chamomile, Sweet false chamomile, Wild chamomile
Suggested Properties : Anthelmintic, anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-peptic, anti-pyretic, anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, sedative, stomachic
Indicated For : Aiding digestion, aiding sleep, allergy relief, asthma, bacterial infections, burns and sunburn, burns (minor), Crohn’s disease, colic, colds, conjunctivitis, diverticular disorders, eczema, eye inflammation and infection, facilitate bowel movement, gastritis, gastrointestinal problems, hemorrhoids, heartburn, inflammation, inflammatory bowel conditions, insomnia, irritable bowel problems, lumbago, menstrual cramps, nausea, nervous complaints, peptic ulcers, rashes, relieving morning sickness, restlessness, rheumatic problems, skin ulcers, stress-related flatulence, stress relief, teething problems, ulcerative colitis, wounds
Side Effects : If you suffer from allergies to plants of the Compositae family (a large group including such flowers as daisies, ragweed, asters and chrysanthemums), you may wish to be cautious about using chamomile at first. While there have been isolated reports of allergic reactions, causing skin rashes and bronchial constriction, most people can use this herb with no problem.
February – FEVERFEW – Tanacetum Parthenium This plant is not a common one to have in NZ gardens. Mine grows up to 1-2 metres high and needs support, but the average height is 51cm – 61cm. Brushing against it gives of a very pungent musky/bitter smell.
Qualities – Feverfew seems most used for protection. Binding the flowers to the wrist is said to assist in drawing out pain as well. Sachets and pouches are recommended to ward off everything from minor accidents to insects.
Magickal -Feverfew is often used in mojo bags. Alone or combined with hyssop and rosemary in a bag it is used to prevent general accidents. To prevent accidents while traveling, put it in a bag with comfrey root and a St Christopher medal and put it in your glovebox, rear view mirror or carry- on bag. Likewise, using feverfew as a bath tea will help break hexes designed to make you more accident prone. Growing this plant around the outside of your home is said to prevent illness from entering.
General – There are several varieties of feverfew which can grow from 9 inches to 2 feet in height. The plant has pungent, grey-green leaves that are either deeply cut in a feathery look, or with scalloped edges. The flowers are a small, white flower with daisy-like yellow centers. Feverfew is a plant that is native to Asia Minor and the Balkans but is now common throughout the world. Feverfew leaves are normally dried for use in medicine. Fresh leaves and extracts are also used. Feverfew has been used as far back as the ancients Greeks. It was listed in their medical literature as remedy for headaches, menstrual discomfort, inflammation, and the reduction of fever. In the 1600’s, it was again used for general aches and pains, and was targeted as being most useful for women. In the 1700’s, it remained the leading use for headaches, and for rheumatic aches and pains. It was used in the 1800’s for hysteria and became known as an antidote for overdoses of opium.
Uses: Internal – Feverfew is used to relieve migraine headaches, but most recommend taking the leaves or teas on a daily basis for maximum effectiveness. The tea is used to relieve headaches, and minor aches and pains. A tincture is used to relieve the pain of bug-bites, the tea is also useful if suffering from menstrual cramping but take care due to the laxative nature. External – the leaves tend to repulse insects in the garden and home.
Cautions – Feverfew has blood thinning qualities and should not be used by anyone who is taking blood thinners or who is planning to undergo surgery. Pregnant women should not use feverfew.