Medicinal Herbs: Calendula & Yarrow
Calendula and yarrow are two medicinal herbs you should become acquainted with. They are two of my favorite homegrown medicinal rock stars and are powerhouse wonders. With these two beautiful flowers, you can make wonderful, healing, calming remedies in your own kitchen and in very little time. Have fun! Be creative!
Living in Colorado, spring can seem like forever away sometimes! So I always make sure I have dried medicinal herbs and flowers on hand from the previous summer garden, so throughout the cold winter months I can stay happily busy in my kitchen creating the wonders of nature for my family. If you want the seeds to grow your own, I highly recommend Botanical Interests. If you prefer to buy dried herbs and flowers instead of growing them, I would highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. Both are very trusted sites and offer guarantees that the products are what they say they are.
For several years now I have been scouring the Internet and buying every book I could to self-teach myself on how to grow and create these medicinal wonders. I have found that I always refer back to my 2 favorite medicinal medicine specialist; Tammi Hartung of Desert Canyon Farm, who by the way, lives only 3 miles away from me, until we move to our new property. I visit her Desert Canyon Farm frequently in the spring and will continue to do so even when we move to our new property!! Visit my Amazon Favorites link at the top of the page to order Tammi Hartung’s book “Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs” I have referred back to this book hundreds of times while creating herbal wonders in my kitchen. Hands down it is the best book for herbal knowledge and how to create your herbal remedies! And Rosemary Gladstar of SageMountain.com. Together, their vast base of knowledge in their books and websites about medicinal herbs and flowers has guided me over the years to create hundreds of wonderful remedies that I enjoy today.
Yarrow: Achillea millefolium, considered a power house rock star in the herb world of medicinal uses. It is said to be an anti-inflammatory and astringent. My family applies yarrow salves to scratches, burns and very dry skin and it works wonders for us. Many times I will add calendula and yarrow into the same lotion or salve. I also grow this in my garden, dehydrate both the leaves and flowers and store them in a glass jar for later use.
Calendula is calming and soothing and wonderful to use in salves and lotions. In the summer, we use it for putting on mosquito bites to take the sting away, and I use it for my very worn out and dried “garden hands”. All gardeners know what I am talking about when I say garden hands! Below is how I make my salve. This is a very thick salve and can have a greasy feel at first, but rubs in very nicely and gives you that “aaaagh” feeling after soothing your hands after a hard days work in your garden. I use this same recipe with yarrow and will often add the 2 flowers together for the same soothing, healing salve.
I take a clean, dry pint glass jar, you can use a quart jar if you are making multiple batches, and I fill the jar a little over half full with dried calendula or yarrow flowers, organic and from my garden of course. Next I fill the jar about 3/4 full with olive oil, you can use any oil you prefer, but I prefer olive oil. I stir the ingredients with a small wooden spoon, place a cheese cloth over the opening and let it sit in a warm sunny spot for 3-4 weeks so the oil can fully absorb the calendula or yarrow flowers beneficial properties. Make sure you stir the concoction on a daily basis so all the ingredients absorb into the oil nicely and evenly.
After the absorbing time is complete, I strain the oil into a double boiler, discard the spent flowers, and add 1/4 cup organic beeswax ( more or less depending on the thickness you would like your salve to be) and one heaping tablespoon of organic coconut oil to help solidify the salve when it cools. When the beeswax and coconut oil are completely melted in the calendula oil, I remove from heat and add organic lavender essential oil. Of course, you can use any essential oil you choose for healing benefits or fragrance, but I love the lavender fragrance with this salve. At this time you can pour the entire mixture into a clean pint jar or any appropriate container you wish, seal with lid, label Calendula Salve (or Yarrow) and list the ingredients you put in. Done!
This is just a very small example and idea on how to begin making your own salves, creams, tinctures and herbal remedies. There are literally thousands of pieces of information on the Internet about creating herbal remedies and creams and so many different ways to make them that you will eventually find your very own favorites to combine and use as you happily create in your kitchen.
Before beginning your medicinal herb journey, you should study each flower and herb thoroughly and know what benefits each will provide you personally. You should also see any allergy alerts related to the plant you choose and what proper forms it can be made into, such as tincture, salve or lotion. Above all, have fun! Be creative! Show off all your wonders!
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