Witches Potions and Lotions

Quick Guide to Lotions and Potions


Infusions work best for making tea from leaves and flowers as these plant parts give up their active constituents easily.

Allow the tea to steep for 10 to 20 minutes so the therapeutic properties can pass from the herb into the water.

To make an infused oil put dried herbs in the top of a double-boiler, cover with oil about an inch over the herb (olive works well for this because it has a fairly long shelf life), let simmer for 2 hours without letting it get too hot or boiling, a temp of 150 F is good. Strain the oil into a clean jar, date and label. Without any preservatives, infused oil will last about a year.


Teas made from roots and twigs are most often brewed by decoction because it is more difficult to extract their medicinal properties any other way. Boil or simmer 1 to 2 teaspoons of the herb per cup of water for 10 to 20 minutes.


A poultice is a paste of chopped, fresh (or dried and then re-moistened) plant material which is applied directly to a wound or skin infection. It is held in place by a wet dressing covered by a bandage. Poultices are most often used to prevent infection and hasten healing.

To make a poultice, boil, steam, or pound the healing herb of your choice to release more medicinal compounds. Then shape the material into a small, coin-size wad which can then lie flat against the wound. Many herbalists recommend mixing 1 part herb with 3 parts
water, alcohol, witch hazel or vinegar. Thicken with flour to make the poultice easier to handle and apply.

Note: doing a patch test first would be a very good idea to make sure your skin doesn’t get irritated.


Stuff dried herbs into a jar, add enough alcohol (usually vodka or everclear (natural grain alcohol), depending on the strength needed for the particular herb) to amply cover the herbs, and screw the lid on. Allow the mixture to stand for about a week, shaking it occasionally. Then strain it, discard the plant material, and store the tincture in a bottle with a dropper lid. Label and date the bottle. Most tinctures have a shelf life of 2 years.


A tea or infusion meant only for external use. A mild form of a wash would be ¼ ounce of herb to one pint of boiling water, steeped until lukewarm, then applied.


To steep an herb in fat, such as done with salve and ointments. Best oils to use are almond and sesame. Warm one cup of oil over a low flame and place one-half ounce herbs wrapped in cheesecloth to soak. Continue until the herbs have lost their color and the oil is rich with their scent.


2 oz solid fat -such as Crisco, coconut oil, cocoa butter or lanolin
5 oz herb infused olive or grape seed oil
2 oz herb infused water
1 tsp (approximately) beeswax -shave or grate before use
3-5 drops essential oil, if desired for fragrance or effect

Gently melt a solid fat, wax and oil over double boiler or carefully in microwave; use low heat and stir until blended. Remove from heat.

Put water into blender or mixer bowl and agitate. While water is spinning, slowly pour the oil, fat, wax mixture into the water. Continue mixing until emulsified. You may notice a distinct change of sound as the cream congeals.
Remove cream, while still warm, into clean containers and leave open until completely cool. Label each jar with contents and date, be sure to note the date your herbal oil especially if it is much older than your cream. Store in a cool, dark place; should stay fresh for 6 months to a year. Sniff before using and look for mold after 6 months. If the oil and water separate, just stir before using.

Basic Lotion

1 oz. solid fat (Shea butter, cocoa butter, ect.)
3 oz. skin oil (almond, olive oil or another oil)
2 oz. Rosewater (or herb water of your choice)
5 drops oil of rose
5 drops essential oil of your choice
Melt the solid oil in a double boiler. Add the oil and Rosewater alternately, a bit at a time, stirring continuously. Remove from heat. Add essential oil and stir in completely. Pour into a 6-8oz. bottle. Shake almost continuously until cooled.


Make a compress by dipping a clean cloth in an herbal solution – an infusion, decoction, tincture, or herbal vinegar. You can hold a poultice in place with a compress, in which case it doubles as a bandage. or, apply the compress directly to the skin (also called a fomentation).