Baba Yaga Bitters
There once lived a primordial being in the old growth forests of eastern Europe. She was not good and she was not evil. She simply was. Her name was Baba Yaga and brave travelers sought her out to grant their wishes, not knowing if she would indulge them or eat them alive. And, so, for millennia she’s lived in infamy in her house on chicken legs, a crone full of ferocity, wisdom, and most of all: freedom.
This blend seeks to embody the wise ways of this divine forest witch by incorporating some of our most revered folk herbs such as the fierce healer motherwort. To bring the clarity and enhanced focus necessary of a powerful witch, sage, rosemary, and holy basil are called upon for their affinity in this area as well as their potent digestive bitter aromatics.
Lilac flower essence is key in this blend to help us detach from anything that no longer serves us. Like the fleeting beauty of spring, lilac flower essence allows us to savor the moment while letting things happen the way they are meant to rather than how we think they should. So many times we get tied into relationships or situations that steal our power or purpose, but the crone magic of Baba Yaga encourages us to claim ourselves as worthy…and this essence helps us on that journey.
Besides being a unique flavoring agent to sparkling water or cocktails, bitters are a traditional digestive remedy dating back to ancient Egypt. Many modern bitters can even be traced back to the Renaissance era...being some of our oldest plant ancestors. Used as a daily tonic or upon the onset of digestive trouble, these time-tested formulas may help heal the gut, relieve gas + heartburn + occasional heartburn, curb sugar cravings, encourage enzyme production, promote healthy skin, gently detoxify the body, and promote overall wellness.
Organic cane alcohol, spring water, motherwort, sage, rosemary, holy basil, lilac flower essence
*All plants biodynamically grown to the cycles of the moon on Woodspell’s own land or obtained from organic, sustainable sources.
To stimulate digestion, take 1/4 teaspoon before meals. As a flavoring agent, try mixing 1/2 teaspoon with sparkling water + fruit + fresh herbs + ice, or experiment combining bitters in different cocktails. Do not take during pregnancy.
As an adult, herbalist and founder of Woodspell Apothecary, Val Elkhorn started to see the enchantment in the elusive ghost pipe and lady orchid when she would stumble across them in the wild. She would feel the chilling magic at nightfall when an owl would hoots in darkness. The trees felt as if they were reaching out to her as bejeweled flowers bloomed at their feet. She began to see how the forest could provide a sustainable restorative agriculture approach by growing food in the forest such as nuts, berries, mushrooms, and perennial vegetables. This in turn would help the fight against climate change through carbon sequestering that the forest does naturally. She saw how this could be an opportunity to cultivate common and at-risk woodland medicinal plants to heal the earth and the body.
Thus, Woodspell was born. Out of a love for this land and a desire to delve deeper into the gifts of the forest, Val began crafting herbal medicines that spoke to her as a way to share this magic with the world. The 12 acres her husband, dog, and two cats dwell on in northern Michigan sustain beautiful plant communities from pine and hardwood forest that is home to trillium, wintergreen, and violets to a wetland marsh that hosts gentians, boneset, and milkweeds. All the herbs + ingredients used in her blends are either grown biodynamically to the cycles of the moon within Woodspell or acquired from sustainable, organic sources.
Val's goal is to show the wondrous relationship in the forest between magic and productivity; healing and progression, and how we can tap into that to live a more sane and beautiful life.