kola nuts

Herbs/Food/Plants by Purpose

Banishing: Basil, Betel Nut, Black Pepper, Black Salt, Cactus, Cayenne Pepper, Chamomile, Cloves, Dragon’s Blood, Elder, Garlic, Heliotrope, Horehound, Juniper, Morning Glory, Mullein, Mugwort, Oleander, Onion, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Sea Salt, St. John’s Wort, Thyme, Tobacco, Vinegar, Wood Betony, Yarrow Flower

Beauty: Avocado, Beet, Catnip, Chamomile, Evening Primrose, Flax, Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, Henna, Lady’s Mantle, Lemon, Lilac, Lucky Hand (Orchid Root), Magnolia, Maidenhair, Myrtle, Orange, Orange Blossom (Neroli), Orchid, Pea, Prune, Rose, Sunflower, Violet, Yerba Santa

Binding: Agrimony, Calamus, Crowfoot, Hydrangea, Ivy, Knotweed, Morning Glory, Skullcap, Snapdragon, Solomon’s Seal, Spiderwort, Vinegar, Witch Hazel

Cleansing/Purification: Angelica, Anise Seeds, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Cedar, Coconut, Dragon’s Blood, Fennel, Fern, Frankincense, Garlic, Ginger, Grapefruit, Guava, Honey, Horehound, Horseradish, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lemon Verbena (Vervain), Lime, Marjoram, Melon, Mesquite, Parsley, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Sea Salt, Solomon’s Seal Root, Tangerine, Thyme, Turmeric, Vinegar, Yucca

Keep reading

“You say you like [thing] but you didn’t even read the original source material.”

Yeah well I also like Coca Cola, even though I never ate raw kola nuts, sugar canes and rainwater.

Haven Craft’s Beginner Witch Tips, Part Four

Something I’ve noticed about online beginner spells for witches is that a great deal of them involve herbs that are inhaled, drunk as tea or potions, or bathed in. So let’s go over the basics of herbalism as spellcraft.

First off, understand that herbalism is a very, very dangerous thing to dabble in just enough to think you know what you’re doing when you don’t. I’ve had quite a few people into Haven Craft who’ve started exhibiting very dangerous symptoms because their witchy hearthcraft friend recommended this or that for them, and they’re having allergic reactions or medication reactions or because it’s just a dangerous plant to begin with.

My favorite of these so far was someone who was on lobelia, for weight loss, because her friend recommended it. She came in exhibiting symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, constant nausea, and stomach pains. Lobelia is also called puke weed and she was close to the LD50 (lethal dose in fifty percent of the population) in the amounts she was taking.

Her herbalist friend had never bothered to Google the other names by which the plant was known, what medications it interacted with, or what the dangerous warning signs of its use were, because it was “just an herb” and “herbs are safe.”

No, they aren’t safe. 

Even external application can be dangerous. Especially bathing in something, which can give it access to mucous membranes it is absorbed through.

My favorite example of this is hyssop oil. Essential oils can be dangerous anyway, causing chemical burns and photo-sensitivity if they are not diluted properly, but some are dangerous for other reasons. Hyssop is one of them – it can cause people with epilepsy or other neurological conditions, including depression, to experience dizziness, difficulty concentrating, trouble focusing, and even cause seizures. It can be lethal to apply hyssop oil if you have a history of seizures.

And yet it is commonly listed as something to apply to the body to banish negative energies, with no warning. You hope people Google things before using the, you hope people look them up on WebMD, but if they don’t, they may hurt themselves or others severely, because they’re “just plants.”

So is atropa belladonna. It’s “just a plant.”

Ethics of Herbalism, Kitchen Witchery, Etc.

Like all magickal practice, herbal witchcraft requires that you determine your personal ethical stance. My advice is to determine what you are an are not willing to do in the real world – because magick, including herbal magick, is part of the real world and affects the real world. A practical way of looking at it is, “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do with your own two hands.” For example, if you aren’t willing to physically assault someone who has displeased you, sending a malicious spirit after them probably isn’t for you. If you aren’t willing to roofie someone, love spells to bind a particular person to you romantically and sexually probably aren’t for you.

However, there are some specific lines of ethics that come into play with magickal herbalism, in particular. Please keep in mind that these lines come from my own tradition – I can only advise based on my own work and experience, so these guidelines may not work for you.

Working for Others

I believe an herbalist should always ask someone before you perform magick on their behalf and DEFINITELY before you cause them to ingest any kind of herbal magick. Obtain permission beforehand, even for what you consider “positive” workings. Try to remember that your idea of what’s positive for someone’s life may not be their idea of what’s positive for their life. And that you may have no notion as to someone’s allergies or intolerances. You may think a rose and strawberry potion for self-love is a great idea – until you need to rush for an EpiPen, or until it turns out you didn’t have a full grasp of why someone was struggling with self-love in the first place.

I recommend that you don’t interfere with someone’s free will – don’t presume to know their full desires on any situation, even if they’ve been forthcoming with you. As for not causing someone to ingest something without their knowledge – go back to those real world consequences. What would the real world consequences be for powdering ambien and slipping it into someone’s drink be? What would the real world consequences be for powdering viagra and putting it into someone’s food?

Just ask.

Magick is real. Herbcraft is real – and it has real world consequences, from allergic reactions to possible reactions with someone’s medication, that you might not know they are on.

Anyone you perform herbal magick for should always be advised appropriately of the possible risks and benefits of a particular herbal magick and encouraged to make an informed choice about it.


When practicing herbalism and herbal magick for someone else – whether you’re making them a potion for household protection or crafting them an herbal spell to help them get over a bad breakup, it is not your place to share their personal business with anyone – not their friends; not their family.


Sometimes people approach witches and herbal practitioners for solutions to problems that really require more help than we can give.

For example, when approached regarding a domestically abusive relationship or a stalker ex, an herbal witch can provide magickal protection, but not physical, which may be required. A witch can stop a person from feeding on someone’s energy or using magick to manipulate and control them or to bring them bad luck – but a spell won’t stop a person from assaulting someone or breaking into their house. A person who approaches you for aid in a situation like that really also needs help from the police – you can provide spells of warding, spells to help them feel strong enough to escape from that negative relationship, and spells to calm the anxiety, fear, and depression that probably come along with the situation – but you can’t provide a safe place for them or a protective order, both of which they likely need.

Also, keep in mind that all spells for anxiety, fear, and depression that require ingesting, inhaling, or bathing in something should really be thoroughly checked for whether the herbs work for the kind of struggle they’re going through – is it laconic depression? Chronic depression? Situational depression? Anxiety? PTSD? – and any contraindications for those. For example, chamomile should not be used to treat chronic laconic depression, nor should kola nut be used to treat anxiety, despite both being listed in common herb recommendations for depression and anxiety.

Another example is medical necessity. Herbal magick for depression, anxiety, stress, pain, strain, exhaustion, and etc. can only help so much before someone really needs to seek a mental health professional, physical health professional, or other alternative therapies, like massage, to deal with their difficulties. It is often the responsibility of the practitioner to refer someone to a person who can help them, when magick isn’t enough or isn’t the correct solution. Err on the side of caution – if someone is exhibiting worrying physical or mental symptoms, provide them with what help you ethically can, but please refer them to outside help as well.

It is the practitioner’s responsibility to know their own educational and magickal limitations and to refer out when specialist treatment is required to serve the best interests of the client.

Always double check herbs that are to be ingested, inhaled, or bathed in for contraindications through WebMD, Drugs.com, and Epocrates.

Seeking Medical Help

It is very important to note that there is a difference between using an herb magically and ingesting it. Be safe when using herbs in magic – some that are safe for potions that were never designed for internal use are definitely not to be ingested. Please don’t take anything in a manner that may be potentially harmful to you and please don’t give something to someone else that you aren’t sure of. The proper dosage of herbs for an internal tisane versus a bath tisane is very different – proper research is paramount.  

If you have created an herbal magickal remedy or spell, something ingested or inhaled or bathed in, and either you or the person who is using it begin exhibiting a negative response, such as an allergic reaction, medicine interaction, or increased, rapid heart palpitation or uterine contractions, and etc., be responsible. Contact emergency services, poison control, or your personal physician as soon as possible – seek Quick Care or an Emergency Medical Technician – do not disregard symptoms of something potentially dangerous to yourself or someone else.

Environmental Commitment

It is the responsibility of herbal practitioners to have some awareness of the geographic and cultural origins of the main herbs used in his/her practice. Magickal herbalists should not utilize herbs or herbal products that are derived from any wild species known to be threatened or endangered.

It is the duty of all herbalists to remain cognizant about those herbs that are endangered and threatened and adopt appropriate practices in the harvest and use of those herbs. Magickal herbalists have also a responsibility to train the next generation of herbalists not to promote the use of wildcrafted herbs whose survival is threatened or endangered. Be responsible – keep informed.

Magickal plants that are currently endangered include, but are not limited to, Red Sandalwood, Wood Aloe, Himalayan Mandrake, North American Indian Paintbrush, and Centaury. White Sage is also increasingly endangered.

When collecting and harvesting plants, please be responsible, and avoid endangered species. By the same token, when buying herbs and botanicals, please check your suppliers for ethical conduct. Herbs are big money business these days and money is unfortunately a prime consideration to many pickers and wholesalers – buy ethically sourced, Fair Trade, and non-endangered whenever possible.

Returnee Africans: The Aguda, Amaro and the Saros

Saro refers to freed Africans of Yoruba descent who migrated from Sierra Leone to Nigeria in the 1830s. Amaro refers to freed Yoruba people from Brazil or Cuba or other Latin American countries. Aguda specifically refers to returnee Africans from Brazil. A large number of Saro, Aguda, and Amaro people migrated to modern day Lagos and Ogun state in Southwestern Nigeria. In Lagos specifically, many Saros settled in Ebute Meta, Olowogbowo, and Yaba and they were the pioneer traders of kola nut in the area that became western Nigeria. 

In the 1850s the Saro were expelled from Lagos due to tensions between them and the Yoruba indigenes. The Yoruba indigenes perceived them to be disrespectful and paternalistic. However, the Saro soon returned back to Lagos. Some Saros were also expelled from Abeokuta by the Egba due to tensions between the Egba and Europeans. 

The Amaros and Aguda primarily settled in Lagos. They returned back to Nigeria in order to reconnect with their homeland. They settled in the area known as Popo Aguda (Brazilian Quarter) in Lagos. The Aguda were renowned as skilled artisans and they are known for the distinctive Afro-Brazilian architecture in Lagos today. 


Hello everyone! This past week our team dyed the Adire and yarns we have been preparing over the last month. All the hours of tying and stitching culminated with us dyeing using indigo and Guinea Corn leaves (Oka Baba). We were blessed with perfect weather and some beautifully dyed Items that will be incorporated into the final installation. The pieces incorporated dyeing techniques from all over west Africa including “Adire Alabere” (stitch resist) techniques from Nigeria. “Gara” kola nut and Indigo over dyeing techniques from Gambia and Sierra Leone and over dyed tie and dye handwoven textiles drawn from Dyula and Baule textiles from the Ivory coast. Stay tuned as our project continues to develop!     

Window Shopping...

[Edit: This post has become wildly popular compared to others on my blog, so I’m going to edit it now and again to make sure the listings stay up to date.]

Charms, Beads, & Pendants




Keep reading

Fun Decolonizing Facts: Soda Edition™

Most major Sodas (in the US?) are based on native beverages and medicines. That’s why so many were invented in like the 1800s by pharmacists, they were commodifying native drinks, medicines, and drugs.

1.       Coca-Cola and Pepsi: The most popular drink is basically just cocaine, a south American herbal substance, and the kola nut, originally from Africa where it was chewed and used like tea but super successful in the Americas. Used super frequently all over the continents but especially in the amazon and the central pan, cocaine was one of the most successful drugs. Kola was brought over and used for teas and such for a while before some white guy mixed the two with wine and sold it. Coca-Cola ta da.

2.       Sprite and etc.: Based on the pine tea and subsequent lemonade type drinks the natives made for scurvy ridden colonists. Their repayment was genocide and not being given credit.

3.       Rootbeer: Made from sassafrass and wintergreen was a common American beverage for a long time before colonization. Interestingly it is almost only popular in North America still to this day.

4.       Seltzer: The first real appropriated beverage was stolen from the Inca as a cure for malaria in the form of quinine. The natives of Tawantinsuyu or the Andes seemed to have enjoyed it for hundreds of years and learned to use it as a treatment once malaria was introduced during colonization.

5.       Ginger Ale: Based off of ginger beers and teas popular in precolonial America. I don’t really like it so that’s all I’ll say.

6.       Dr. Pepper: No one really knows what the main ingredients of Dr. Pepper are but we know it’s not prune juice. Natives had a tea made from Kola and Ginger that was a remedy for digestive problems and when some white guy made Dr. Pepper in the late 1800’s he marketed it as a digestive aid. So… that’s my guess.

The only exception to these origins is Fanta and Mountain Dew. Fanta was made by and for Nazis. Mountain Dew was made by redneck bootleggers during prohibition to wash down moonshine.

So that’s my excuse for my horrendous addiction to Diet Coke. It’s in my blood MOM!

Herbs by use

Angelica root
Kola nut
Lemon balm
St. John’s wort**
Yerba mate
Ylang ylang
Lemon verbena
Oat straw
Rose hip

** do not take if already on depression medicine

Holy basil
Kava kava
Oat straw
Reishi mushroom
Siberian ginseng
Stuma root
Wood Betony
St. John’s wort **

California poppy
Jamaican dogwood
Kava kava
Sweet marjoram
Passion flower
Red poppy
Sandal wood
Valerian root
Linden flower

*use in small doses/ don’t use if pregnant

Astragalus root
Kola nut
Licorice root
Rehmannia root
Ginseng root

California poppy
Celery sage
Jamaican dogwood
Juniper berries
Kava kava
Oat straw
Passion flower
Skull cap
St. John’s wort**
Valerian root

Notes on the God Mars - Potential altar inclusions

There are a few things that you can put on an Altar as an offering to Mars, here are some of them.

Herbs that you can burn/spread (burning is preferred if possible, as Mars is often seen associated with fire) - Acacia, Agapanthus, Aloe, All-Heal, Asafoetida, Asarabacca, Ashwagandha, Barberry, Basil, Belladonna, Betony, Black cherry, Black gum, Blue cohosh, Broomrape, Bryony, Buckbush, Butterbur, Butcher’s broom, Cacti, Calamus, Caper, Cardamom, Cardoon, Cassava, Catnip, Chicalote, Chickweed, Chives, Coneflower, Coriander, Corn salad, Cow Parsnip, Cypress, Dandelion leaf, Devil’s claw root, Dragonhead flower, Dragon tree, Field horsetail, Flax lily, Garlic, Gentian, ginger, Gobo, Gorse, Guanique, Hawthorn, Horseradish, Hyacinth, Japanese knotweed, Kola nut, Lamium, Maca, Madder Root, Madwoman’s Milk, Masterwort, Mistletoe, Mugwort, Mullein, Mustard, Nettle, Onion, Pepper, Pepperwort, Pennyroyal, Pigweed, Radish, Red cedar, Red clover, Red-hot poker, Reed, Resurrection lily, Rowan, Rue, Safflower, Sarsaparilla, Solandra, Tea, Tarragon, Thistle, Thyme, Toadflax, Tomatillo, Turmeric, Wild ginger, Wild tobacco, Wormwood, Yohimbe.

Stones - Any red stone laid out is fairly good, though Ruby, Garnet and Bloodstone are especially significant.

Symbols/statues - The horse, the bear and the wolf are all associated with Mars.
the signs: African Astrology

‘The current belief is that the Africans were the most primitive of the societies to have become interested in the stars, invented names for the planets and to have begun a study of astrology.’

The Baobab Tree (4th Jan ~ 3rd Feb)
: Capricorn/Aquarius

The Wealth of Amber and Silver (4th Feb ~ 5th March)
: Aquarius/Pisces

The Family (6th March ~ 4th April)
: Pisces/Aries

Small Services to the Neighborhood (5th April ~ 4th May)
: Aries/Taurus

The Market (5th May ~ 4th June)
: Taurus/Gemini

The Ancestor (5th June ~ 4th July)
: Gemini/Cancer

The Judge (5th July ~ 4th August)
: Cancer/Leo

The Kola Nut (5th August ~ 3rd September)
: Leo/Virgo

The Traveler (4th September ~ 3rd October)
: Virgo/Libra

The Distance (4th October ~ 3rd November)
: Libra/Scorpio

The Child of the Word (4th November ~ 3rd December)
: Scorpio/Sagittarius

The Harvest in the Granary (4th December ~ 3rd January)
: Sagittarius/Capricorn

The Signs as Wizard101 Pet Snacks
  • Aries: Dr. Jalapeno, Taco Town Special, Glowing Dragon Fruit.
  • Taurus: Cow Pie, Shanta Pudding, Mooshu Cheddar.
  • Gemini: Gummy Wyrms, Deviled Eggs, Double Popsicle.
  • Cancer: Sprinkle Cupcake, Crab Knight Cakes, Butter Worms.
  • Leo: Spicy Bubblegum, Wild Strawberry, Fried Ice Cream.
  • Virgo: Avocado Milkshake, Treant Bark, Pyramints.
  • Libra: Flapjacks, Fancy Truffle, Sugar Donut.
  • Scorpio: Dastardly Radish, Athame Pop, Hot and Sour Bits.
  • Sagittarius: Zocalo Wings, Kola Nuts, Golden Pizza.
  • Capricorn: Fancy Yogurt, Goat Cheese, Dagwood Sandwich.
  • Aquarius: Submarine Sandwich, Radioactive Pizza, Rock and Roll Candy.
  • Pisces: Fish Flan, Glowing Taffy, Jelly Baby.

2010 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Aries Pinot Noir

I love Sinskey wines! This is no exception. Red cherry, kola nut, fresh twigs, tea, Asian spices, touch of cardamom, and red florals on the nose. Riper on the palate with much of the same bouquet of flavors and aromas! Crisp acidity. Nice long finish. Really nice stuff!

4/5 bones


Pinot Noir

14.3% abv

Carneros (Napa Valley), California, USA

Real Facts From Episode 109

While The Knick is a work of fiction, it is based on exhaustive historical research. Below, the show’s writers share some of the true facts of the era that are depicted in this episode.

Pharmacies really did carry cocaine and there was no prescription needed. (Image courtesy of the Burns Archive.)

Women of the era ingested “sanitized tape worms” in order to lose weight. (Image courtesy of the Burns Archive.)

A Gibson Girl was the idealized beauty of the time, based on a series of drawings done by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson. 

Coca-Cola, named for coca leaves, was originally made with cocaine as one of the ingredients. The kola nut gave it caffeine. 

The German Hospital moved uptown in 1905 & became @lennoxhill where Knick writer @JackAmiel was born. (Image courtesy of the Burns Archive.)

Okwa oji, Igbo kola nut and condiment serving dish for ritual uses and receiving visitors. Lid and compartment at the centre for condiments. 19th-20th century.

What Coke Contains

Coca-Cola is made from a syrup produced by the Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta. The main ingredient in the formula used in the United States is a sweetener called high-fructose corn syrup 55, so named because it is 55 per cent fructose or “fruit sugar” and 42 per cent glucose or “simple sugar” — the same ratio of fructose to glucose as natural honey. HFCS is made by grinding wet corn until it becomes cornstarch. The cornstarch is mixed with an enzyme secreted by a bacillus, a rod-shaped bacterium, and another enzyme secreted by a mold called Aspergillus. This process creates the glucose. A third enzyme, also derived from bacteria, is then used to turn some of the glucose into fructose.

The second ingredient, caramel coloring, gives the drink its distinctive dark brown color. There are four types of caramel coloring — Coca Cola uses type E150d, which is made by heating sugars with sulfite and ammonia to create bitter brown liquid. The syrup’s other principal ingredient is phosphoric acid, which adds acidity and is made by diluting burnt phosphorus (created by heating phosphate rock in an arc-furnace) and processing it to remove arsenic.

A much smaller proportion of the syrup is flavors. These include vanilla, which is the fruit of a Mexican orchid that has been dried and cured for around three months; cinnamon, the inner bark of a Sri Lankan tree; coca-leaf which comes from South America and is processed in a unique US government authorized factory in New Jersey to remove its addictive stimulant cocaine; and kola nut, a red nut found on a tree which grows in the African Rain Forest (this may be the origin of Coca-Cola’s distinctive red logo).

The final ingredient is caffeine, a stimulating alkaloid that can be derived from the kola nut, coffee beans and other sources.

2012 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Pinot Noir

It’s no surprise to many that I’m a bit of Pinot Noir lover. This one doesn’t disappoint. Kola nut, red cherry, strawberry, wild raspberry, tea leaves, and cranberry on the nose. Fuller fruit on the palate - riper raspberries and strawberries - kola nuts, florals, and sneaky tannins. 

4/5 bones


Pinot Noir

13.8% abv

Carneros (Napa), California, USA

2012 Lioco Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

About to hit the slopes with this Pinot Noir, guys! No fining or filtration on this bad boy! Kola nut, small ripe berries, twigs, hint of allspice, and a touch of licorice on the nose. Sweet and tart at the same time on the palate - sour cherry, kola nut, and twigs. Cool stuff! 

4/5 bones


Pinot Noir

13.1% abv

Sonoma Coast, California, USA