Mar 7, 2011

Strewing Herbs


Upon entering my home last night, I noticed a spray of organic material of some sort up my wall and on the inside of my door.  At first, in the dark, I had a moment of panic thinking that those little spots all over the wall was a bug infestation of some sort.  Nope.  But what?  Potting soil from my plants?  No...not quite dirt.  Plant material?  I took a chance and picked a piece off the wall and took a sniff.  It smelled herbal.  Herbs?

Walking past a few other scattered pieces of this substance, I entered the kitchen to find my cat Beau looking pleased, and a torn, empty tea bag on the floor.  Apparently, leaving the tea bag in the sink is not a good idea.  I'm not sure if she was just bored, or this was her way of helping out, as I had planned to mix up some strewing herbs today for my Spring cleaning.  Either way, the house had a good preliminary sweep last night!



Strewing herbs are just that.  Herbs tossed on the floor.  In the days of packed-dirt floors or meagre flooring, fresh herbs were strewn on the floors to keep out insects, mice and other undesirable critters.  It was an added bonus that the herbs released their lovely scents when walked upon. 

Today, we don't need to keep the herbs on the floor.  Instead they perform two duties that help keep my home feeling fresh.  I give the floor a cursory sweep, and then toss handfuls of my dried herb mix onto the floor, and leave it sit for a time.  The scent of the herbs and their energy infuses the room.  Then, when I sweep them up, the sharp edges of the material helps to gather up any dust particles, cat hair, or anything else the broom missed in it's first sweep.  The heaviness of the herbs keeps the dust down and ensures I collect it to toss away, rather than it blossoming up into the air, only to settle again later.

My mixture is simple.  Rue, hyssop and lavender.  I grow all three of these in my garden but you can purchase these herbs from your favourite supplier.  Some other great strewing herbs are rose petals, mint, thyme, rosemary, sage, tansy (great for ants) and meadowsweet.  You can choose herbs for their scent, availability, or for their magical symbolism.

Also, chamomile is a great strewing herb, so I guess I owe a big thank you Beau for the chamomile tea addition to the floor last night!




24 comments:

RetroKali said...

My cats LOVE to rip into tea bags. I love the idea of letting the energy and scent of the herbs sort of infuse into the room. Thanks for the idea!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Beau probably mistook that teabag for a mouse. Probably . . . .

Christian said...

that is a wonderful idea thank you rue!
I had never thought of doing that but now I will!
blessed be

TheBlakkDuchess said...

Aaaaahahahaha... Glad to know my cats aren't the only tea bag hunters... XD

I love your idea for strewing herbs! I'll have to give this a go. ^-^

XOXO

Robin Larkspur said...

Good cat! A magickal soul indeed. Strewing herbs sounds wonderfully old-fashioned, and very effective.

Kathy said...

What a great idea! Other than catnip I've never had herbs strewn on my floor before.

Dark Mother said...

I've never done this dried herbs, but I always add essential oils to my mopping water.

Ponderosa Pagan said...

lovely idea Rue! i cant wait to try it. my puppy would destropy anything i leave out. i need to try and grow some of these herbs like you to avoid paying for them.
blessed be!

SilverFox said...

I learn something all the time from your posts! Never knew of tossing herbs or such things. I am hoping to grow some herbs if we get to making our vegetable garden this Spring :D

Lois said...

Can't wait to try this! My son and his partner just moved in and we have to smudge their new room, plus the rest of the house. This strewing sounds fantastic. And cats are such bizarre creatures, have to love how random they can be.

mxtodis123 said...

Oh, these cats are something, aren't they? My poor girl is much too old to be so mischievous anymore, but she did have her day. You really gave me a much needed chuckle.
Mary

the wild magnolia said...

cats are cool and have a dry sense of humor!

ohhhhhh....a spring cleaning we will go! love strewing the herbs.

blessings.

andrea said...

Great idea! thanks I never hear of that! I definitely will do it!!

The Frog Queen said...

Great idea.....if I used catnip, my cats would love that!!! :D

Cheers!

Wendy said...

I've always loved reading books that are about times past where they use "strewing herbs." Lavender is one of my favorite combined with rose petals. Very smart kitty Beau!

Jeanne said...

Beau was just trying to help you out. :0) I like to strew herbs as well. I almost always use lavender and the other herbs will vary from mint to rosemary to sage.
I also like to grind my herbs up a bit and sprinkle them over the rugs. I'll leave them for a day or two and then vacuum the rug. Makes the rug and the vacuum smell so much better.

L. Starkey said...

What a great idea! I just purchased some herb seeds and now I can't wait to try this.

Mina said...

I have heard of strewn herbs in olden days but not that they help to collect things missed in the intitial sweeping. Thank you so much for this great tip!

Suzie said...

I was going to ask if you were drinking catnip tea!

I periodically give my cats either dried, or fresh catnip, and they do their part in spreading it around before I sweep it all up.

And I periodically strew lavender or sage, and my cats let me know how disappointed they are, with the indignant looks, and the tail flips, but the house does smell and feel SO good after I'm through.

Thanks for the other blend suggestions. I've taken notes!

Midwinterain said...

Cats can be so damn cute. Especially when they do something naughty and then proceed to give you that 'who, me?' look. It's like my cats know I can't resist that look!

Strewing herbs sounds like a good idea, although Spring is six months away for me and the only place I could do it is my carpeted bedroom...

Your house must smell lovely. :3

Wulf said...

In the 19th c. people kept used tealeaves and coffee grounds to strew on the floor before sweeping. Looks like Beau was just trying to revive the practice!

Pixie said...

I just love this idea with the herbs on the floor, i am definatly going to try it, i had a cat once who found some slightly more,, 'shall we say' medicinal herb! if you know what i mean,,, he was spaced out for two days, the funny part was when he grinned at me he had it all stuck round his teeth. We laughed for a long time over that;)
Anyway i love your blog and i am really pleased to of stumbled across it. Pixie x

Anonymous said...

This piece has been plagiarised word for word on the following blog:

//threecatsandabroom.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/strewing-herbs.html

Not even the feeblest attempt to rephrase. The sheer nerve of some people!

Rue said...

Dear "Anonymous,"

The blog "Three Cats And A Broom" is owned and operated by me. I've placed an Etsy ad for Three Cats And A Broom on the side bar here on Rue and Hyssop as well. I've also posted about the shop a couple times here on the blog (see "three cats and a broom" under "Subjects Include:" down the sidebar on the right.)

I reposted this information because some of the people that read the Three Cats blog do not subscribe here at Rue and Hyssop and I like to share information about my products and herbal adventures on both blogs if possible. Because I sell the strewing herbs under the Three Cats label, it made sense to share the info there.

I do appreciate people letting me know if they find my material in other places on the net though. Thank you.