Sunday 3 July 2011

Wild Crafting

Proving that the Goddess provides when you need her the most.  This Friday I came down with an ear infection that became complicated with a sinus infection (one of the things that come with Lupus). So I figured I would go for a run/walk to help elevate my temperature to aide in breaking the fever.

Since this is also an optimal time to harvest many wild herbs, I brought my 'wildcrafting kit' with me, it includes, several bags for samples, a marker, notepaper to write the names of herbs on, my camera,  a pair of gloves, and a small book about local plants. I also bring my phone because I can surf the internet and use that to double check the plants as well. Off I went to the woods to do some harvesting of some local  mugwort  I was also really on the look out for mullein I see it near the highways all the time but haven't seen it in any accessible places recently.

 As I'm walking I notice plant looking very beautiful, these lace like flowers kept calling me, so I took pictures, then realized I can't identify the plant if I don't have a sample. At first I thought this might be deadly hemlock, so i put on my gloves, got my sample bag and pulled it out at the roots.

I get home, pull out my research books, The Earthwise Herbal by Matthew Wood, and my herbal teas guide, I picked thru the book comparing the pictures, and discovered I had picked up :  Yarrow!!!  How amazing is that??  want to know why?? Yarrow is best for colds, fevers, stomach cramps, and menstrual flow encouragement.  So it's perfect for me at this moment (well for the first few things not the last one)!!!
In rare cases, exposure to fresh  yarrow can trigger itching, rashes, and small skin blisters. Discontinue treatment IMMEDIATELY. It has been shown that prolonged oral use of the herb may make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Not to be taken in large amounts during pregnancy.

Herbal Name: Yarrow:
Latin Name: Achillea millefolium,
Derives from:  the Latin name comes from the hero Achilles, who used the herb to staunch wounds during the Trojan War,
Folk name is "nosebleed" which also describes it's frequent use as a styptic to stop bleeding.
Current Use it is one of the most well known herbal remedies for the flu, fevers, stomachaches, sore throats, and menstrual problems.
Plant Facts: It's a hardy perennial that usually grows in bushy clusters. The stalks will grow as high as 24 inches tall, with white or pink flowers appearing from summer to fall. the aromatic white flowered yarrow is most effective for medicinal use with leaves rich in vitamins and minerals.
Origin: Native to Europe and to western Asia, it can be found throughout North America thriving in Temperatic climates, the herb grows wild along roadsides and paths, as well as in sunny meadows.
Parts Used: The entire plant can be used except for the roots, Fresh or dried the herb can be taken internally as well as applied externally, depending on the needs.
Why it Works: Yarrow is valued as a wound healer due to the tannins and chamazulene in the plant. It also contains alkaloids and flavonoids, which lower blood pressure, as well as coumarins, lactones, triterpenes, eucalyptol and camphor. The essential oils found in the yarrow are similar to the those found in chamomile, it's got astringent, antibacterial and some anti-inflammatory properties.

Hot infusions:
  • is highly effective in reducing fevers and helping colds and flu
  • the bitter tonic relieve stomachaches, diarrhea, and cramping, as well as sore throats, & gum irritation.
  • the tannins help to regulate the menstrual cycle and ease menstrual pain
  • externally the herb is often used to stop bleeding and prevent infection of topical cuts and wounds. here is a great recipe for herbal salve
  • For chronic lower back pain:
    a yarrow compress on the site can help. Apply a towel soaked in the tea, as hot as you can handle it, then place a hot water bottle over it. (can be used in other areas of chronic pain)
Cool infusions:
  • used externally or yarrow ointment relieves varicose veins and hemorrhoids
Methods of Administration:

Tea Infusions:
for fever and flu
  • pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp of finely chopped dried herb, or 1 tablespoon of fresh leaves or flowers; 
  • cover and steep for 10-15 min. Strain.
  •  Drink 2-3 cups daily between meals
For indigestion
  • chop 1 cup of fresh leaves and flowers or use 1/4 cup of the dried leaves and flowers, 
  • add to 2 cups of vodka. 
  • Pour the mixture into a clean glass jar and tightly cap.
  • Shake the jar every few days and steep for 4-6 weeks; strain. 
  • The liquid is now your tincture. 
  • Use 20-100 drops or 1 tsp, up to 6 times daily
  • You can also use the tincture diluted in water or tea.
Sitz Bath:
For Hemorrhoids & menstrual complaints
  • pout 2 qt of boiling water over 1 cup dried yarrow or 2 cups of fresh yarrow
  • cover and steep for 20 minutes.
  • Strain and add the liquid to the sitz bath. For optimal healing keep the bathwater as hot as can be tolerated. 
Yarrow Tea:
  • Drink i large cup of the tea before every meal.
  • Adding 1 tsp of yarrow to other medicinal teas can make them more effective.
  • can relieve chronic gallbladder pain
For Coughing:
1 1/3 oz yarrow flowers
1/4 oz narrow leaf plantain leaves
1/4 oz thyme leaves
1/4 oz calendula leaves

This will loosed tough mucus and tighten the tiny blood vessel located in the lungs bronchioles.

For stomach cramps & stomach pain
1 1/3 oz yarrow flowers
1/4 oz chamomile blossoms
1/4 oz fennel seeds

use this combination of plants to help relax the stomach mucous membranes & prevent inflammations. Fennel improves the taste and eliminates any flatulence.

To ease menstrual bleeding:
1 oz yarrow flowers
1/3 oz dried licorice roots

make the tea with 1-2 tsp of this mixture in 1 cup of hot water.
 Steep 10 minutes, strain, Sip slowly. 
Drink 3 cups daily during heavy menstrual bleeding. 
Drinking 1 cup of the mixture each day also relieves chronic sinus congestion in both adults and children.

To strengthen weak veins:
Yarrow has blood regulating effects that can help make the vein walls stronger. It is often used in combination with other medicinal plants for minor inflammations of the veins and even help with varicose veins. 
Mix equal parts of yarrow & either of the following herbs: calendula or hawthorn flowers. steep 1 cup of boiling water and drink 3 cups daily. 

Yarrow Wine:
To stimulate blood circulation and strengthen the heart. 
Place 1/4 oz of the following:
  • Dried yarrow,
  •  lemon balm leaves, 
  • hawthorn flowers or berries, 
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 
  • Place in 1 qt of red wine Steep for 3 weeks; strain. 
  • Drink 1 glass a day.
  • the flowers or the tops of the plant are typically dried for use.
I hope you enjoy the tea, as much as I did, as it came at a perfect time. Make sure to double check ALL plants before using them, I also used the Internet to look up pictures of yarrow and compared them, then I used my Mom (a garden witch if there ever was one, "even if she doesn't think so" and she identified it for me as well). You can also check with the local botany group or local herbal store, they generally have one person who is great at identifying flowers (my local store has a botany major working there to help you get the right herbs and their uses).

Be Blessed and Happy Wildcrafting!!


  1. Yarrow i awesome because up north its everywhere! In florida I can't find any yarrow or plantain. :( I grabbed as much yarrow as I could find and dried it out before I moved to florida so i could have a supply, which btw is running out. Another good reason to have yarrow around is for cuts and abrasions. Take a handful of fresh yarrow and run it under warm water. With the wet yarrow in hand, squeeze the plant over the cut. Its amazing how fast the cut heals!! Glad you discovered it :)

  2. @ MsLily thanks glad you liked it!!

    @Tamara, if you want when I go back and harvest some, I can send you some!!


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