With Halloween right around the corner, we asked Matt Ralphs about some of his favourite unusual witches potions that he discovered researching Season of the Witch. Here are some magical potions for various ailments taken from a real 9th century book of spells – but don’t try them at home!
Pound some roots of beet with honey, wring them, then apply the juice to the face, and let the patient lie supine (facing upwards) against the sun, and hang the head down that the juices may run all over the head.
Take betony (a herb), bruise it and lay it on the head, then it unites the wound and healeth it. For the same, take garden cress, introduce it into the nose that the smell and the juice may get into the head.
Smear the lips with honey, then take film of egg, scatter it with pepper, and lay on.
Take a live crab, put his eyes out, and put him alive again into water, and put the eyes upon the neck of the man who hath need; he will soon be well.
Take green betony and rue (a herb), pound them in vinegar, twist them together like as it might be a sloe (roll it into a ball), poke it into the nose. A blood stopper; eat the netherward (bottom) part of bishopwort (a herb) or drink it in milk. To stop blood again, poke into the ear a whole ear of barley.
Mistiness of the Eyes
Mingle the juice of wild rue, dewy and bruised, mingle with equally much of filtered honey, smear the eyes with that.
These and many more magical facts can be found in Season of the Witch: A Spellbinding Witches and Other Magical Folk, available from Flyingeyebooks.com here.