Start a magical apothecary and watch how quickly your knowledge of herbs and their uses in spellcraft grows!
Something about jars of mysterious herbs lining the shelf inspires spontaneous spell casting and turns a house into a magical home.
Don’t know where to start? Let me show you!
What is a magical apothecary?
A magical apothecary contains herbs, flowers, spices, and potions used in spellcraft or magical rituals.
It differs from a traditional apothecary, which typically contains items based on health-related concerns (though many herbs overlap).
Curating an apothecary for your magical practice helps to cultivate an environment that makes creating potions, herbal blends, herbal ritual baths, and other plant-based magical items as simple as reaching for the shelf.
The best part? It’s very simple to get started.
Spell crafters use many thousands of herbs in magic. It’s totally unrealistic to expect to learn them all immediately—-or even in a lifetime of study.
What’s important is to know the ones use do use very, very well.
Some are totally okay for humans, but poisonous to cats. Some are fine on their own, but toxic when combined with others.
If you feel intimidated by the idea of working with herbs, just start with plants you know and work your way out.
Generally, the herbs discussed in this article are safe for most people—but allergies, drug interactions, and other factors mean that no herb is safe for everyone under all circumstances.
Know your body.
All that said, when selecting herbs for your magical apothecary, you want to start working with one or two from each of the following categories:
Let’s go over these categories and cover some of the most common, safest, and widely available herbs for each one.
Beginning a witchy apothecary need not cost you a fortune. Tools for the practice are minimal.
If you want to get elaborate with antique medicinal jars or beautiful oil vessels, by all means, go for it. (I recommend looking for these items on your next quest for spell crafting tools at the thrift store).
But for our purposes, I recommend starting with:
–10 or 12 clean glass jars. Use whatever you happen to have to start. Old jam jars work well. As you get better, you may find that you prefer dark glass to prevent the discoloring of herbs. And dark liquor bottles are great for storing tinctures and potions!
–A pair of gardening shears. If you grow your own herbs, treat yourself to a designated pair of gardening shears. I love vintage ones, but any pair of sharp shears work.
–A mortar and pestle. Many people use more modern approaches to grinding magical ingredients, but I find the concentrated effort of hand-grinding them lends power to your magical recipes.
–1 or 2 herbs from each of the following categories. Don’t overdo it in the beginning! You can always expand your collection as your practice grows. But as stated above, it’s much better to know a few herbs very well than to have a shallow understanding of hundreds of herbs.
Love Spell Herbs
Love spells are among the oldest in recorded history. The earliest recorded use of love spells dates back to 2,200 BC in ancient Persia.
Modern witchcraft employs a wide variety of herbs in love magic.
Consider any of the following for your magical apothecary:
–Roses. Practitioners associate red & pink roses, in particular, with love, romance, and attraction. But other parts of the plant also serve particular intentions in magic. For example, use thorny rose stems in spells to protect yourself from heartbreak.
–Basil. Perfect for kitchen witch love spells, basil emits a beautiful, fresh aroma that lends itself well to culinary witchcraft. Add it to a soup of pureed tomato (a fruit with its own romantic properties!) for an edible love potion.
–Apple. All parts of the apple, including the fruit, seeds, stem, and even the wood of the apple tree, contain powerful attraction properties. Add apple seeds to a love spell sachet or the fruit of apples with a few cinnamon sticks in your cauldron to fill your home with romance.
–Bay leaves. Use bay leaves in spells to find a lost love or reconnect with an old lover. Or, write a wish for romance on a bay leaf and burn it in your hearth fire to attract new love into your life.
(For more romance herbs, check out 9 Alluring Love Spell Herbs).
Protection Herbs & Spices
Historically, protection spells are perhaps the most common in ancient spellcraft. The need for protection from all things imaginable–from floods and plagues to wayward spirits and vengeful gods—was of supreme importance to the ancients.
In modern witchcraft, the needs are different, but the desire is the same!
–Rosemary. This evergreen herb proves especially useful in the winter months. After all the summer herbs die back, rosemary usually remains hardy in all but the most northern climates. Add it to teas and sachets for general, all-purpose protection,
–Garlic. Aside from its wide variety of health benefits, garlic also serves as a classic protection herb. Use it in any spell for that intention. Consider hanging it over the threshold to protect the household.
–Oregano. Add oregano to spells for protection from nightmares and to promote courage when faced with adversity or to confront irrational fears.
–Dill. This herb confuses enemies and disrupts negative intentions. Add it to sachets to ward off gossip and thwart the efforts of those who harbor ill will.
(And for a more in-depth article on protection herbs, check out 9 Protection Herbs Every Witch Should Know).
People often confuse the term abundance with money, but spiritually, abundance really means a life of plenty. This plentifulness extends beyond the material to include an abundance of inspiration, creativity, and community.
Of course, practitioners also use these herbs in spells for career and financial success.
–Mint. To anyone who keeps some in their garden (or just can’t get rid of it), it’s no secret why mint is associated with abundance. This herb takes over any fertile soil, coming back year after year with a vengeance once planted. Fortunately, its clean, bright scent makes up for its troublesome garden behavior.
–Thyme. All those tiny little leaves add up to success! Plant thyme in your garden in the spring and bury a gemstone of your choice near its roots to encourage success in your endeavors over the coming year.
Intuition and dream magic are important resources for any practicing witch. Cultivating a revealing dream life and building trust in your intuition with herbs that tap into your innate, natural ability to read the spiritual world around you.
–Mugwort. This herb contains the notoriously toxic thujone (the same active ingredient that gives absinthe its legendary hallucinatory properties). However, herbalists regard mugwort’s thujone content as negligible and safe in all but very large quantities. Nonetheless, you need not ingest it. Leave a pinch in your tarot card pouch to enhance your relationship with the cards, or include it in an infusion to wipe down your altar and promote insight during rituals.
–Lavender. Perfumists and magical practitioners alike prize lavender for its aromatic beauty. Known to promote relaxation and deep sleep, lavender works well in spells to heighten the dream state. Try taking a bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil in a hot bath before bed, especially on the night of the dark moon.
–Sage. A common garden herb (as well as a lovely addition to lamb and pork roasts!), sage enhances wisdom and helps to find deeper meaning in messages during divination. Burn sage incense before divination or during rituals for clarity when trying to make a difficult decision.
Healing Herbs & Spices
Learning to heal spiritual wounds using magical herbs empowers the witch to move forward from emotional trauma and even learn to use it for growth and renewal.
–Chamomile. A common base for a calming tea, chamomile softens spiritual disquiet and helps to promote a sense of ease. Perfect for spells to unknot “kinks” in your personal energy.
–Echinacea. There’s no shame in anger. Anger is a natural, healthy response to injustice. But when anger becomes chronic or embedded in our daily psyche, echinacea helps to heal this “inflammation of the soul.” Carry a sachet of echinacea to keep your temper in check, or cultivate it in your magical garden as an act of mindfulness to encourage a more peaceful outlook.
–Ginger. The heat in ginger’s flavor reveals its power to heal spiritual imbalances that arise as the result of stagnation. Much like the soreness and pain that comes from being physically sedentary, neglecting one’s own spiritual needs often deepens chronic emotional pain. Ginger helps to awaken our awareness of this pain to concentrate on healing it. Add it to ritual tea s and potions for this purpose.