Ritual Herbal Wash (Horehound)

Early fall before a first frost is a perfect time of year for moving stagnant energy and purifying living spaces or objects. All cultures use water for cleaning, discharging, rejuvenating, sanctifying, restoring, connecting , stimulating, cooling, heating, celebrating, replacing, nullifying, resolving, clarifying, repairing, blessing, balancing, transforming, regulating and proving communion with various forces. This ritual wash can be used to wash floors, items, or people. It can also be used as part of something more elaborate like a ceremony.

I like to have a container of dried herbs like mugwort, sage, horehound, oregano, rue, lavender, bee balm on hand to make an infusion for ritual use.If it is the growing season I will add in the fresh leaves of basil, or clary sage and the fresh flowers-of marigolds, roses, malva, hops, feverfew, or calendula. These plants have a history of being used for healing, aromatherapy, or “magic”.

When creating your ceremony think of the aesthetics of color, smell, chosen objects, and arrangement. Add in prayers, poems, words or song to create connection or move energy. Gestures or actions create sacred space, altered states, and serve as offerings.

If doing a house blessing one can imagine bringing abundance, health, fertility, wealth, good luck and other positive qualities into a home. When doing an energy clearing one can imagine illness, bad memories, misfortune, conflict, obstacles, traumatic events, stress and negative aspects being expelled. This is an opportunity to do some “house cleaning, start over, repair ruptures with people and nature, or begin a new habit or project.

To prepare the solution pour 1 gallon of boiling water over 1-2 cups of fresh or dried herbs. Let cool to room temperature and strain out the herbs. Some people like the sensual and ritual practice of squeezing and straining out the plants by hand. Compost and discard them with respect when you are done.

Water prepared with herbs can be used as a/an

Ablution-to wash, purify or sanctify as part of a ceremonial act.

Libation-to pour a liquid out as an offering

Lustration-to brighten or clean with water as part of ritual or to prepare a sacred space

Ritual casting-into another body of water or the environment into order to “throw away” something no longer wanted so that it can be recycled.

Spray to asperse-blessed water

Splash onto hot rocks to discharge negative ions and release essential oils that can be absorbed through the skin, smelled or breathed in.

Horehound may seem to be an odd choice in a ritual wash. It really does not have a “magical” history for this use in any culture that I know of. I chose it for my mixture because 1) I have an overabundance of and few uses for it. 2) I happen to love the smell of it-fresh, clear, sweet. Maybe I have strange tastes but I think it’s aromatic notes are under appreciated.

Marrubium vulgare

White horehound is a perennial plant in the mint family that grows easily on several continents. You will find it in gardens, dessert pastures, the wild, and wastelands. The entire plant is downy and has a silver “bloom”. The fibrous twisted root sends up several square shaped stems. Numerous leaves are opposite, petioled, round/ovate, wrinkled and soft underneath. Tiny with a pink/white two lipped flowers with a spiny calyx grow in axillary whorls in late summer. Prefers sun and well drained soil.

Marrubium has been used for healing since ancient times. It is a common ingredient in cough syrups and lozenges because it clears phlegm and prevents infection from moving into the lungs. It is thought to helps with bronchitis, laryngitis, hoarseness, sore throat, asthma, pneumonia, and a hacking cough. Historically this plant has bee used to treat fever, anemia, hepatitis, retained placenta, stomach issues, heart conditions. It balances bodily secretions and makes a bitter digestive tonic. It increases circulation (vasodilator) and sweating. Stimulates the production of bile and supports the liver.

Externally a serum can treat blackheads and rough/dry skin. Adds a healthy glow and moisture to the skin. As a poultice/compress it can be used on deep wounds, a rash or for shingles.

Taste: highly aromatic/pungent (volatile oils) and bitter. Requires a lot of sweetner to make it palatable.

Energetics:Moves energy, clears heat/cooling and toxins. Drying.

Element: Air

Contraindications: pregnancy. Excessive use may lead to hypertension. Fresh juice applied to the skin may cause a reaction. Large doses may act as a laxative.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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