The art of stepping dried or fresh herbs in hot water goes back many thousands of years. Ritual teas and infusions derive from medicament and ritual preparations that are effective today just like they were thousands of years ago. The only difference now is that you don’t need to boil the water in the middle of the forest to make your magical teas work, your kitchen will work fine. 😛
Nowadays we have several choices in terms of tea and infusions. However, if we talk about good quality teas, then we can exclude a good part of those. Yes, because the teas that almost everyone bought at least once in their life, the teabags aren’t (usually) good quality teas.
Unfortunately, companies have to manufacture the leaves to grant long-lasting conservation, bright colors and sweet taste. The ending result is tasty indeed but forget about magical and health-giving properties if you choose these ones.
My suggestion is to support local businesses and opt for loose tea sold by weight. In this way, you’ll be sure to buy good quality teas which are less treated, especially if you need them to make ritual teas or infusions. You will find a completely different flavor, color and even smell.
When you choose the type of herbs you need for your ritual, don’t improvise and most importantly, always ask which part of the plant can be drunk and how to make a tea with it. That because tea can be made from flowers, leaves, roots, stems and fruits, but some parts of a specific plant might, for instance, be toxic. Better be safe than sorry, don’t be afraid to ask.
To grant a good and effective ritual tea, water is the other essential component that must be chosen with care. Avoid tap water as much as possible, especially if you live in a very polluted area or it’s particularly chalky or rich of chemicals. First of all, because it’s not healthy, and secondarily because it will alter the taste of your tea.
Prefer filtered and spring water, or, if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with low pollution levels (i.e. mountain), even rainwater works fine. I usually make moon water every month and one/two bottles are exclusively charged for teas and such. When I run out of it, I use filtered water. Don’t boil water over and over: prepare exactly the quantity you’re sure to use, and if you need more, just use freshly-drawn water.
Needless to say, the cleanness of your tools is as important as the rest. However, I’d avoid plastic or metal utensils since some herbs react to specific materials. Glass or porcelain will work perfectly and will stand the hot temperature of the water.
Most herbs are not intended to be drunk more than three times a day, so be careful and don’t have too much.
Making and drinking tea is a whole ritual, so take a tip from the Japanese: take your time. Smell it, enjoy the warmth of your mug, for instance. Focus on your purpose, if it’s a ritual blend that you’re drinking.
Magical references for ritual teas and infusions:
You will find a load of recipes in many books about witchcraft, with the exact proportion of every ingredient. For this reason, I recommend to follow the recipes and don’t improvise, because as said, some herbs can be toxic if taken in the wrong quantity. Remember that rosemary can be used in substitution of pretty much every other herb, rose to replace other flowers.
Here you have a small list of reference for the main herbs and plants used to make ritual teas:
- Basil: love, wealth, protection. Gastric pain reliever and reduces fever.
- Chamomile: money, sleep, purification.
- Cherry: romantic love, divination.
- Elderberry: protection, healing, prosperity.
- Marjoram: love, happiness, health, money. Disinfectant and antiseptic.
- Mint: healing, travel, protection.
- Nettle: curse breaking, protection.
- Orange: luck, money.
- Peach: love, fertility, longevity.
- Pear: sexual energy.
- Raspberry leaf: protection, love, banishing. Perfect to strengthen the female reproductive system.
- Rosemary: cleansing, purification, mental power, youth.
- Rhubarb: fidelity, protection of the house
- Sage: longevity, wisdom, wishes.
I thought about adding here few recipes I personally tested from the books I have (which I will mention as we go). Enjoy 🙂
Tonic Tea – From Green Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
“This tea is used for cleansing the blood and toning the digestive system. Its magical associations are protection and healing. Makes approximately 1/4 cup (2ounces) of the tea blend: 1 tablespoon of the tea blend makes 1 1/2 cups of tea.
- 1 tablespoon of Rosemary
- 1 tablespoon yarrow
- 1 tablespoon horehound
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 1 large catnip leaf
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Mix dry herbs in a small jar. To brew, pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of the herbal mixture and steep for 7-10 minutes. Strain and drink. If you find this tea too bitter, you may want to add a full teaspoon of honey.”
Bedtime Tea – From “Green Witch” by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
“This tea is good for aiding sleep. Its magical associations are peace, harmony, healing, love and happiness. 1 teaspoon of the tea blend makes 1 cup of tea.
- 1 part of lavender
- 1 part of catnip
- 1 part of verbena
- 1 part of chamomile
- 1 cup boiling water
Mix dry herbs in a small jar. To brew, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the herbal blend. Steep 5-7 minutes. Strain and drink.”
Divination Tea – from “The real Witches’ kitchen” by Kate West
“Drink this tea an hour before undertaking any form of divination. If you wish, you can continue sipping it throughout the divination process. “
- 3 tablespoons rose petals
- 1 tablespoon jasmine flowers
- 2 crushed bay leaves
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 pinch cinnamon
We could really keep mentioning teas and their magical properties for ages, since there are so many different ways to employ them and take benefit from them. We’ll surely come back on this topic eventually, also because for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is starting to hit and what better remedy is there other than a hot tea during a cold afternoon, drunk in your cozy home, maybe reading a good book? Besides, as the Madhatter would say… IT’S ALWAYS TEA TIME!
Hope you enjoyed talking about ritual teas and infusions, see you soon, witches 🙂