Apothecary Chronicles: A is for Allium

Greetings! It’s been a while, hasn’t it. Things keep happening. To get myself back into the habit of posting regularly, I’m going to go through The Wild & Weedy Apothecary by Doreen Shababy and make every single recipe in it.

I’ve actually had this project in mind for a while. I want to be a healer, you see, and herbalism is one of the ways to get there. If I go through the book of recipes and make all the things, even if I don’t find anyone to try it out on I’ve familiarized myself with the process and I’m likely to remember it’s there when someone in my life does get hurt. I even made myself garlic tea sometime last year, but I never seemed to get around to making the next recipe.

And then my partner got bronchitis.

Unsurprisingly, this kickstarted me into making the next couple of recipes, which looked to be useful ones for this particular problem. “Alliums” are the garlic and onion kind of plants. It includes a lot of other stuff, like chives and ramps, but the recipes given are for garlic and onion. I deal with worry by cooking, so I prepared a massive pot of chicken and dumpling soup, roasted garlic, garlic syrup, and onion syrup. (The chicken and dumpling soup isn’t from the book; that’s just something I make whenever my partner gets sick.) Garlic syrup needs to be begun the night before, and I was joking about “#modernpaganism” involving standing at a stove in a brightly-lit kitchen with your knife, recipe book, and laptop blasting showtunes. If you take these things at the value of the stereotype, I ought to have been cutting stuff up with my bolline to put into a cauldron over the fire. But these days, you’re just as likely to be practicing the Craft over your stove. I certainly was. And that’s actually a sign you’re past being a raw beginner, when that starts to happen to you– it means you’re seeing the magic in everyday life. I don’t expect the people who need this statement to hear it, but: there is more to the world than circles and candles and velvet robes. Those are lovely and rituals that use them certainly have their place, but it is no less magical to stand in your kitchen chopping garlic and thinking very hard about how much you want your lover to get well again.

The remedies this chapter were all aimed at colds, and the standout winner was definitely the onion syrup. The book lists it as an expectorant, and its effects were fairly immediate after each dose and quite strong. It’s a good tool to have in the box. I’m less sure about how well the garlic syrup was working, but it’s meant for preventing colds, not treating bronchitis.


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