When we began our journey into the world of plants and the role they play in Romanian lore as well as in contemporary witchcraft, I mentioned the important part that The Stinging Nettle – the fire in the garden, played in my childhood. While the “Healing Fire” tea and the “Rejuvenating Elixir” syrup have been used since the old days in Romanian tradition, the hair tonic seems to be one of the oldest methods of using stinging nettle in beauty rituals and the very first one I experienced as a child.
Winter turns into spring with the celebration of Sântoader, a caballine god in the Romanian pantheon who is especially cherished by women. He is summoned during an elaborate ritual on the first Friday of Lent as the women dig for the root and rhizome of the sacred Horse-Heal flower and chant an incantation asking Sântoader to give them hair as long as the tails of mares. They would continue the ritual the next day, by bathing and rinsing their hair with the tonic obtained from boiling the Horse-Heal in water. Throughout spring, bathing in tonic water became a custom, but instead of using the sacred horse-heal reserved for the celebration of Sântoader, women use the more modest stinging nettle to get the same results.
Long and healthy hair is traditionally a sign of beauty and pride for the Romanian women. And because nature is the healthiest source of beauty, many women look for ingredients for their beauty rituals in nature, especially in spring. The stinging nettle is already famous and acknowledged for its hair care properties and even though now we can prove why it works, in the old days women have already discovered its powerful abilities and used it to grow their hair long and strong.
Hair loss is often caused by scalp sensitivity and inflammation, and other body changes caused by the turning of the seasons. The stinging nettle is a fortifier, and not only does it combat inflammation and improve scalp circulation, but it can inhibit the production and release of certain hormones that can cause hair loss. Additionally, it is rich in antioxidants that can help regenerate your hair and protect it from damage caused by free radicals.
Stinging Nettle Tonic – How To Make It
The traditional fairy tail hair tonic is quite simple: you pick a few fresh nettles, boil them in water, allow it to cool, and continue to rinse your hair with the tonic obtained from that. But this simple method opens up new possibilities that you can experiment with by mixing it with other natural oils or tonic waters and you can use it as a conditioner as well. Here is an example to get you started:
- 5 tablespoons of fresh or dried nettle leaves
- 2 cups of water
- a few drops of castor oil (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (optional)
- For fresh nettle leaves, boil them in the water for 10 minutes.
- Strain the water and add a few drops of castor oil to it if you desire.
- For dried nettle leaves, let it brew in the water for 20 minutes before you add the castor oil.
- Store the tonic in the fridge, no longer than 6 months.
After your normal hair wash, massage your scalp with a little bit of tonic and leave it in for about 10 minutes, just as you would a conditioner. Rinse with normal water or with water combined with apple cider vinegar. This will help fortify your hair, prevent hair loss, promote hair growth, and treat dandruff.
Even if nowadays this treatment seems divorced from magick, its use since the old days is a testament to the power of beauty spells and rituals. Not only is it proven to work and has health benefits for your hair, but believing in the old and modest nettle to help you become more beautiful is a safe way to perform a beauty spell that empowers you both physically and mentally.
And if you need an incantation to empower you even further, there’s a thing called “singing in the shower” and I promise it works. Sing as you rinse: “Nettle, nettle of Mars’ flames, give me braids as long as mares’ tails!” and surely, the modest nettle will heed your call.