Monday, June 27, 2016

Herb Corner

Stephanie Kane, Weavers Way Local Buyer and Henry Got Crops Farm Market Manager
The tea section of our You Pick is full of herbs that have been used for centuries to gently ease symptoms and encourage overall health. All conveniently go very well together and are safe for frequent use, but many are contraindicated for pregnancy, so they should not be used without the guidance of an herbalist, especially in stronger doses.
Periodically, we’ll take a look at an herb to learn about its historical use and different ways to prepare it. See our guide for how to make teas, tinctures, and salves. You can also attend one of our workshops to learn these different infusion methods.
This information should be used to promote health, not to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Do your research, try some different applications, and discover what works for you!
Also known as: Soldier's' Woundwort; Thousand Leaf
Did you know why Achilles’ heel was so vulnerable? In the Greek myth, Achilles was dipped into a tincture of yarrow, to make himself invulnerable to arrows. Held by his heel, his entire body was covered, everywhere except that infamous heel. That Latin name for yarrow,Achillea, was named after the warrior, Achilles.
Harvesting: Flowers and leaves
Harvesting: Check out this article from Oak Hill Homestead on harvesting and preparing yarrow for preservation. It does a great job of showing photos from every step of the process.
Flavor: Sweet and Bitter
Tea -  If you decide to include yarrow in your tea, only include the flower heads, they are less bitter than the leaves. Blend with other herbs if you’re seeking its medicinal benefits!
Digestion - Can calm digestive upset, often combined with echinacea, elderflower, ginger, and peppermint. Its bitterness can stimulate the release of stomach acid to digest proteins and fats. It’s antispasmodic (suppresses muscle spasms) properties can make it good for some IBS symptoms.
Fevers/Coughs - Yarrow opens the pores and encourages our body to sweat out a fever.
*Combine with catnip to make a strong tea, and add to a bath when your child has a fever!
Its cool, dry, and astringent qualities make the tea useful for wet, phlegmy coughs.
Wounds - Because of its blood clotting properties (hence the name Soldier's Woundwort), yarrow can be used to stop bleeding in wounds.
Try It! - *Harvest leaves and flowers and dry (by one of the drying methods in your herb booklet, available at the CSA pickup). When fully dry, grind it in a clean coffee or spice grinder, and keep in a small tin. Next time you get a cut or scrape, clean it thoroughly, and pack with yarrow powder. Wrap and let bleeding stop and the wound begin to close. You can also use dried yarrow to steep in oil, and make into a salve for skin conditions.
Skincare - Steeped in witch hazel, Yarrow can be used externally as a wash for eczema or acne.
*Fun Fact: Yarrow has also been used as a substitute for hops (bitter!) when making ale.
Growing: Very easy to grow, and can become invasive if not thinned yearly. You can dig extra deep and set large pots or plastic down in the hole before filling in with dirt to keep from spreading.
Contraindications: During Pregnancy & Lactation. Do not take while pregnant, can cause spot bleeding. People with severe ragweed allergies may have a reaction to this herb. High doses are needed to cause serious issues, but be aware that yarrow can increase lithium in the body, and as a mild sedative, it can increase the effects of other sedative drugs. It can also increase stomach acid, so it can conflict with acid-reducing medications (like Zantac).

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