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  • Writer's pictureSara Ault

Embracing Ancient Wisdom: The Significance of Herbal Medicine in Modern Health

Our people and our Gods have a deep historical connection to the healing abilities of herbal remedies. A great example of this is found in The 9 Herbs Charm, also known as "Nigon Wyrta Galdor," an ancient healing spell from the Old English medical compendium "Lacnunga," dating back to the 10th century. In this charm, Odin calls upon the healing powers of nine "sacred herbs": Mugwort, Plantain, Lombescyrse, Attorlaðe, Chamomile, Nettle, Crab Apple, Fille, and Fennel. These revered herbs were believed to possess extraordinary healing abilities.

While the knowledge of how to use some of these herbs has been lost to time, our ancestors had a deep understanding of the healing properties of plants and herbs, which we can seek to rediscover in our own lives.

Despite living in a vastly different era of modern medicine, the ancient wisdom of Odin and the healing properties of herbal remedies remain relevant today. Each of the known herbs mentioned in the charm continues to be utilized in contemporary healing. For instance, Mugwort aids digestion, reduces blood pressure, and manages stress and anxiety. Chamomile, with its calming effects, promotes restful sleep, eases inflammation, and soothes minor skin irritations. Nettle, packed with essential nutrients, can alleviate joint pain, help with asthma, and act as a natural hemostatic agent when applied topically.

To familiarize ourselves with these herbs, we can cultivate them at home and craft tinctures and salves. This process allows us to deepen our connection with their therapeutic properties and appreciate the ancestral heritage of our Folk. Embracing herbal medicine in our modern lives is not just about finding relief from ailments but also about preserving and honoring the ancient connection between humanity and nature—a legacy of healing that transcends time and unites us with the age-old wisdom of the Gods. By embracing both the old and the new forms of medicine, we pave a path towards a healthier, more balanced future where ancient traditions and modern advancements work hand in hand to support our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

I'll conclude this article with a family recipe for a calendula salve that I absolutely love, for those who wish to try it at home!

Let's make a calendula oil infusion! You'll start by filling a mason jar at least ¾ full of dried calendula flower heads, or about half full of loose dry petals. Then, you fill the jar with an oil of your choice, enough to cover the flowers. (I prefer Jojoba, but there are many that can be used!) Place a lid on the container, and store it in a sunny, warm location to enhance infusion. A bright windowsill is a popular choice! Allow the oil and flowers to infuse for at least three weeks. When the time is up, you'll strain the flowers from the oil with a cheese cloth, collecting the oil in another container. You've now made a great calendula infusion! This will be the base for our salve.

For this salve, you'll need

1 cup of calendula infused oil,

3 tablespoons of beeswax pastilles,

2 tablespoons Shea Butter,

A few drops of lavender or eucalyptus essential oil,

Small tins for storing your salve.

Have your salve tins, glass jars, or other calendula salve storage containers of choice ready.

In the top portion of a double-boiler (or makeshift double-boiler), combine 1 cup of calendula oil, 3 tablespoons of beeswax, 2 tablespoons of Shea Butter, and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice. Heat the double-boiler over a medium-low heat on the stovetop. We want to avoid excessively heating the calendula oil more than what is necessary to melt the beeswax!

Monitor and routinely stir the mixture until everything is melted. Then immediately transfer to storage tins of your choice.

You're all set! Calendula Salve has many uses. It has antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be applied on small cuts, scratches, and scars to promote faster healing, and cell regeneration.

I hope this inspires you to find more ways to include herbal remedies in your daily life!

Lydia Phelps

Apprentice Folkbuilder


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