With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching, it’s time to prepare some of the herbal “remedies” that will help romance blossom. Here are some of my favorite romantic herbs: Roses are perhaps the first herb that comes to mind for romance, and therefore is a traditional Valentine’s gift. Roses signify “true love” in the language of flowers and their sweet scent is often the base for sensual perfumes, sachets, soaps and bath mixtures. They are nearly a universal symbol for love, but often also for purity and perfection.
Clover is not an obvious herb for Valentine’s and romance but back to medieval times, its link to the heart was recognized and unmarried people were advised search for a two-leaved clover stem (3-leaved clovers are common, 4-leaved clovers are for luck, 2 are for love) to put in their right shoe. The next person they met would become their mate. Clover has a long history as a medicinal herb, and can be used in tea blends (both leaves and flowers.)
Bay is often used in amulets to attract a man. Mix together lavender flowers, dried bachelors’ buttons and a tiny pinch of valerian. Add a bay leaf, put it in a pink pouch and wear constantly. Wishes are also sometimes written on a bay leaf, and put under a pillow. If one dreams about the circumstances written on the leaf for three nights in a row, it should come true.
Rosemary is the herb of remembrance, so it is often included in wedding bouquets. Because it remains green year round in many areas, it is added to Valentine’s Day nosegays for its refreshing scent.
Lavender signifies “devotion” and has a long history as an herb for romance. Long ago, prostitutes used the scent of lavender it signal that they were free of disease, so lavender as a fragrance for wives and mothers fell out of fashion. Fortunately, lavender is regaining popularity and is included in many wedding bouquets. A few lavender blooms are often sprinkled in the envelopes of Valentine’s Day cards or wedding invitations to add a lovely scent. (Photo is of part of my former lavender field…I miss it!)
Love in a Mist (nigella) has often been included for its name alone. This pretty flower comes in amazing blue and also mulberry rose or white. An easy to grow, self-seeding annual, its ferny, lacey foliage adds a nice texture to the garden. After the flowers are pollinated, a balloon-like capsules form, often with pretty purple streaks which can be used for dried arrangements. Open the capsule to release an abundance of black seeds which are often used in cooking as a pepper substitute. Another name for this herb are Love in a Puzzle.
Love apple (tomatoes) in a food processor: 3 large tomatoes, 1 T. honey and 2 tsp. plain yogurt. Blend until fairly smooth. Smooth over any dull, dry skin and leave on for 5-10 min before rinsing off. The acid in the tomatoes will remove dead cells and leave smooth, silky but vulnerable skin so don’t go sunbathing immediately. Use sparingly on the face and avoid eye areas.
Basil is considered an aphrodisiac is some cultures, and is the symbol of “fertility” in the herb world. To harness its loving qualities, polish 2 silver coins (dimes or quarters in the U.S., or for more power silver dollars) before a full moon. During the full moon, go outside and hold the coins in the palm of your hand until it is shining with moonlight, repeating a request to the moon to “fill the coin” with its power. Keep the coin in total darkness until Valentine’s Day (or some other desired romantic occasion.) When ready, pass the moon-charged coin over 4 fresh perfect basil leaves in a circular motion, asking the coin to release its moon power to the basil. Drop 2 leaves in each of 2 goblets, a coin in each, and fill the goblets with honey mead. (A mead made with honey was traditionally drunk a month after a wedding, to renew the passion of a newly married couple….thus the term “honeymoon.”)
If it’s too “midst of winter” for access to herbs, use these essential oil combinations to add some romance to Valentine’s Day. Place a few drops of the selected mixture on cotton balls and place them in the heating vents to perfume a room, add a few drops to a pre-romance bath, or spritz on linens.
1) 3 drops sandalwood; 2 drops rose; 1 drop bergamot; 1 drop jasmine 2) 6drops sandalwood, 5 drops sweet orange, 1 tsp. good vanilla extract 3) 2 drops jasmine, 2 drops lime, 1 drop cinnamon 4)10 drops rose, 6 drops bergamot, 6 drops jasmine, 4 drops coriander, 2 drops sandalwood.
If you’ve a ready supply of dried herbs, make one of these blends as a romantic sachet blend to put under pillows, scent bed linens, etc. 1) Equal parts honeysuckle blossoms, sweet marjoram leaves, violet flowers, black currant leaves 2) 1 c. dried Rose petals, 1 c. dried patchouli leaves, snipped vanilla bean
Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all. May your life be filled with love….and herbal blessings!
Thanks to Diane S Clark for posing a question in the comments of a recent post, that led to this post!