I am very new to harvesting herbs. The weed known as Yarrow has been a childhood favorite flower of mine. It seems to thrive everywhere and the little white flowers accompanied by the fern like leaves have always been hard to resist. I never knew that the weed I had always adored was actually Yarrow until I identified it this year. During my Internet researching I found a very interesting blog post on the medicinal use of Yarrow (link.)
Yarrow grows right along the sidewalks of my neighborhood but I’ve been saving a day to find clean places to harvest. The weather was perfect for it today. I was very picky while harvesting because much of the flower heads of the Yarrow I came across had the eggs from what’s known as the “spit bug” underneath. I also took photographs of many of the flowers and plants I came across. My harvest walk was fairly long and somewhat unproductive.
When I got home with my crop, I used some of the info found on another blog (link) to get the herb ready for drying and use. The whole process has been fun and rather relaxing.
Yarrow flower heads and leaves.
I had a small bowl when I was done. I tasted one of the fern like leaves while processing, it was very bitter and slightly sour. A few tiny bugs escaped while I was cleaning the heads and leaves from the stalks.
Yarrow ready to dry.
I don’t have a food dehydrator (note to self: I really need/want one) so I put a bit of foil on my old cookie sheet and spread the flower heads and leaves out to dry in the oven. It’s really hot outside today so I wasn’t looking forward to that but the oven is on its lowest setting, “warm.” I am looking forward to the finished product and use in teas and baths primarily. Technically my second attempt at herbal magick, I have a post to do on dandelion roots coming (hopefully.)
**Update 7-9-14** I jarred the dried yarrow yesterday. It was brittle and I didn’t want the flowers/leaves to crumble so I had to use a larger jar than I anticipated and wasn’t prepared (aka the label is still on the jar.)
The dried yarrow in clean re-purposed jar.
**Update – July 14, 2014
I was feeling rather poorly and realized yarrow to be a terrific detoxifier of the blood and organs. Water was boiled and I crushed the dried herb into a mug with a cone filter inside and I steeped the tea and added a dropper of milk thistle extract. I sipped it, my tea didn’t have much flavor outside of warm water but that’s OK. While sleeping I did notice my body temperature rise and my skin was warm to touch, I felt hot. I feel the dried yarrow was doing what it was supposed to by increasing my body temperature/circulation of blood and opening my pores.
Next time, I think I will boil the herb in the pot of water for about 10 minutes and strain the tea into my mug.