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Best autumn herbs for warmth and protection

As the days get shorter and we have to face both colder weather and restless spirits, many turn to different kinds of herbal remedies and herb charms. I sat down with Hazel Evans, the author of the best-selling 100 herbs and spices for a modern witchard, for some tips and tricks.

You’re known to have a herb for any situation. Let’s start with an easy one: how not to get sick when it’s so chilly outside?

– Preparation is key. If you’re a tea person, you can add a dash of coriander, angelica or echinacea, whichever tastes the best to you. Another option is to take a couple of leaves of each and grind them into a charm to carry with you. You’re going to thank yourself later, it’s a bit of work but still much nicer than having to brew all the cold potions afterwards!

What about warding yourself against vengeful ghosts and evil spirits?

– Indeed, I feel like the veil has been thinner than usual in the recent months, and I personally don’t want any poor lost souls haunting me. I tend to go for a mix of basil and fennel, either added to a potion or, if the situation looks really bad, ground up and sprinkled outside your house. You don’t need a large amount, just a bit in every corner will already do wonders. And I know this is going to sound odd, but coconut actually works too! It’s a bit tricky to prepare, but I go through all the steps in my book in great detail.

Many people also tend to feel gloomy during these darker months. How do you stay cheerful?

– You wouldn’t believe how often I get asked that! In this case your best friends are things like marjoram, rosemary or feverfew. For me they work the best in incense form so I can just have the aroma floating around the house. Or, if I feel really terrible in the evening, I combine them into a charm to put under my pillow, and I’ll certainly feel better in the morning. Though to be fair, light spells and good company are often just as effective as remedies. You can use herbs for almost anything, but you don’t always have to!

Lastly, do you have any other personal favourites you’d like to share?

– You can’t go wrong with salt. I know many people disregard it as too bland and unimaginative nowadays, but seriously, don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. It makes for a decent enough protection against pretty much anything and I carry a tiny jar with me at all times. You never know what’s going to happen, and I like to be prepared!