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The Yarrow is flowering out here on the Farm along with a lot of other wildflowers! Our world has suddenly exploded into shades of pinks, yellows, purples and whites. Little blue flowers dot the landscape here and there and Morning Glorys and peas are beginning to blossom. It’s a beautiful time of year for sure!
Years ago, I heard about the healing properties of Yarrow and this year I decided I needed to take advantage of the flowering plant that shows up on the roadsides out here every year.
Yarrow leaves and flowers are both edible and, according to what I’ve read, quite nutritious. The plant is tall with fern-like leaves.*
*Be sure to get a field guide or a plant identifying app so you can be sure that whatever plants you forage, it’s safe for consumption/use. There is no reason to not be safe and sure.
The purpose for Yarrow at my house, however, is going to be in a healing salve. Yarrow is antibacterial and antifungal. It encourages clotting and heals bruises, cuts, and scrapes quickly*. It can even help with pain and anxiety!
I looked up a few tutorials and gathered my information and my supplies and got started!
First, remove the leaves from each long stem. This is easy to do. Place your thumb and forefinger at the top of the stem and hold it gently as you run your fingers down the stem. The leaves come off easily this way. Next, chop the leaves into about one-inch pieces.
*The salve is not to be used on puncture wounds or any other wound you need to drain. Again, I’m not here for medical advice. You would definitely be barking up the wrong tree on that one so, read up on things and use your common sense. These posts are meant to inspire you and guide you in the processing of your backyard finds.
Now, rinse and dry the leaves to remove any dirt that may be left behind.
You can dehydrate your leaves in the oven for several hours at 170 degrees on a parchment lined baking sheet or put them in the dehydrator overnight. Remove as much moisture from the leaves as possible.
Next, you need to put the dried herbs in a jar, packed in snugly.
Add enough oil to just cover the leaves. Oils you can use for this are coconut oil, almond oil, apricot oil… really anything that can be a carrier oil. I chose coconut oil because it solidifies at lower temperatures so that will help with the consistency of the salve and because coconut oil in and of itself is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and has a host of other traits that make it incredible as a healer.
Fill a pot about a third of the way with water and put the jar in the water. I used a heavy bottom sauce pan and placed a small potholder in the bottom of the pan to keep the jar from touching the pan. You could do the same with a small washcloth or trivet.
Gently put a lid on the jar (no ring) just to keep condensation from going into the jar itself and bring the water to a gentle boil. Don’t let the oil in jar boil, you’re just looking to heat the oil in what is in essence a double boiler. Keep the water at a gentle boil for about two hours checking periodically to make sure you don’t run out of water in the pot.
What you’re doing here is infusing the oil with the herb. I’ve seen three different methods to accomplish this. Two of them use this method of heating the oil, but they varied on heating time from 30 minutes-2 hours. The third method is to soak the herbs for weeks in a cool, dark place. You choose what you think will give you the best results!
For the method I used, after two hours of heating the oil, I strained the herbs thru cheesecloth squeezing them to get as much of the oil out as possible. Discard the herbs.
Empty your water pot and dry completely. Put the infused oil in the pan and add about 4 Tablespoons of beeswax to the pot. Heat until the beeswax melts, stirring constantly. Pour the infused oil/beeswax mixture into clean, dry jars and top with a lid. As the oil cools, it will begin to solidify and take on the texture of a salve. Gently reheat if you need to add more beeswax for a better texture.
I wound up with three jars of what I labeled as Yarrow Wound Care Salve. These are stored in my medical/medicinal closet for future use.
The wound care salve is an excellent natural replacement for an antibiotic ointment.
Heavy bottom saucepan with trivet/cloth on the bottom inside
Wide mouth pint-sized jar with lid (no ring)
Half-pint sized jars with lids
Strip Leaves from the stalk
Rinse leaves and pat dry
Dry leaves in a dehydrator or oven
Place dried leaves in wide mouth pint-sized jar
Cover dried leaves with oil of choice
Fill a saucepan about 1/3 full of water with trivet in the bottom
Carefully place the jar with oil and leaves on the trivet in the pan
Lightly place a canning lid on the jar to prevent condensation
Bring the water to a gentle boil/simmer
Checking often, continue to heat the oil for about two hours
Strain out the herbs thru cheesecloth and squeeze
Combine infused oil with beeswax until melted
Pour into half-pint sized jars and cover with lids
Label and store in a cool, dry place