Yarrow

Yarrow is somehow not an herb we have used a whole lot of as a medicinal.  We use it all over the garden for a plethora of reasons - mostly that it draws in beneficial insects, is considered a dynamic accumulator, and it is a great plant for companion planting.  It also survives our summer humidity and heat unbelievably well.

During the winter of last year we did a lot of work in the garden to make it work for us.  We made more paths, created more beds, got our beds on contour, and divided the most beneficial plants in our garden.  As we did this I made a vow to myself to get to know what was coming out of our garden better and to try to use as much of it as I can this year.

In getting to know Yarrow as a plant - beyond one of my husbands favorite plants - I discovered it is used for colds, flus, and fevers, and cuts and abrasions.  I did use it in a salve I made with plantain and I have been quite impressed with how it has added to the healing nature of the salve.

The same day I made the salve I also tinctured Yarrow by washing the plants thoroughly and pulling off any less than perfect leaves or flowers and stuffing them in a mason jar.  I then covered the herbs with vodka and let it sit in a dark place for 6 full weeks turning regularly.  (I turn my jars just in case any of the herb isn't fully covered in alcohol I feel like it maximizes the pulling of the herbs)

We're now facing our first cold of the season as the kids have returned to school and thankfully, the yarrow is ready to go!

I think we will see how it works this time around and then I will likely bring some in to dry to add to my elderberry syrup I will begin making soon.

after tincturing for 6 weeks the yarrow leaves are strained through cheese cloth through a funnel into a fresh sterilized mason jar.

 

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harvest to healing

Busy morning in the kitchen teaching a friend how to make tinctures, salves, and herbal vinegars.  We made Yarrow Tincture (for colds and coughs in the winter), Lemon Balm (for upset tummys and anxiety), Purple Basil Vinegar, and healing salve.

Healing Salve:

Cover herbs in oil (I never measure - I use what I have and cover it making sure to cut up any fresh herbs.  This salve has yarrow, plantain, calendula, lavender, and comfrey covered and rendered for 2 hours) 

Render herbs in oil on very low heat for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally and ensure all the herbs stay under the oil while it draws. (I like to allow mine to steep for 4-6 hours if possible ensuring the oil does not burn)

Allow the oil to cool and strain through a cheese cloth - measure the amount of oil you made - I strain my oil directly into a measuring cup

While oil cools bring a double broiler of water to a low boil. (I did not know what a double boiler was the first time I heard the term - it is two pots stacked.  The bottom pot has water in it that comes to a boil and the inner pot is used for cooking).

Add the oil to the inner pan (you want to make sure there is no water bubbling or splashing into the inner pan.)

Once the water is boiling add the oil and begin heating it back up.  Also add 4 tbsp of beesbax beads for every 1 cup of oil.

Allow the beeswax to melt and mix with the oil stirring constantly.

Pour into airtight containers.  (You can add oils when you pour it if you wish - be sure to use oil that are safe for skin contact)

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