In older times, the female head of household was responsible for the health of the household. Doctors or healing priests were usually too far away to consult except in extreme circumstances. In addition to directing the planting & maintenance of the garden, she had an herb room (later, a stillroom) where she dried the harvest and made the necessary medicaments from herbs.
Of necessity, she would compile herbal recipes and other practical information used to treat the illnesses and injuries of both family and retainers. This information would come from a variety of sources: her mother & other relatives, neighbors and travelers.
Following the tradition of her forebears, Ms. Martin has compiled helpful information on over thirty common health complaints and fifteen magical situations. As her ancestors would have recorded, she includes information on growing your own herbs and how to make herbal preparations.
Athlete’s Foot is a fungus, generally picked up by bare feet in public showers, such as those found in a locker room. Like any other fungus, it likes moist conditions, so keeping your feet as dry as possible is a good first step. Powder some dried Goldenseal and mix in equal parts with cornstarch. Dust your feet with this mixture prior to dressing and again at bedtime. Goldenseal is antifungal.
Wearing natural fiber socks will help your feet breathe and keep them dry. If your feet sweat a lot, consider changing your socks a couple of times per day. Try not to wear plastic or rubber shoes and never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Switching off allows your shoes to dry thoroughly. If you must be in wet public places (such as at a pool or in the locker room at your gym), wear waterproof flip-flops while walking around and in the shower.
Mix two parts Echinacea, one part Goldenseal and one-half part Poke Root. Powder well and take 1/3 teaspoon in water three times per day before meals.
If your feet have become infected, make a decoction of Black Walnut. Soak your feet in this twice per day. Alternatively, in a small pan of hot (as hot as you can tolerate, but not boiling) water, add 2-3 drops of Myrrh, Tea Tree or Thyme oil, soaking your feet in the liquid two to three times per day. This will not only help kill the fungus, it will calm the itching.
Applying a Comfrey Root poultice for one to two hours each day will kill the fungus. Rubbing a cut garlic clove on the affected area accomplishes the same thing.
Boosting your immune system will help you avoid future episodes. Add plenty of Garlic to your diet; or take 2-4mL of a combination Echinacea/Goldenseal tincture three times per day; or take 2-4mL of an Oregano tincture two times per day.
Deborah J. Martin, whom many call the “Herby Lady”, has a lifelong fascination with plants. A witch and Master Herbalist, she is the author of Herbs: Medicinal, Magical, Marvelous! and lectures frequently on the use of herbs, both medicinally and magically. She lives in the Appalachian Mountains.