Yarrow, Achillea millefolium and its North American varieties, was used in traditional Native American herbal medicine by tribes across the continent. The Navajo considered it to be a "life medicine", chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches. The Miwok in California used the plant as an analgesic and head cold remedy.
Several tribes of the Plains Indians used common yarrow. The Pawnee used the stalk for pain relief. The Chippewa used the leaves for headaches by inhaling it in a steam. They also chewed the roots and applied the saliva to their appendages as a stimulant. The Cherokee drank a tea of common yarrow to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep.
Another interesting article on Herbmentor News. How to Make Cayenne Salve http://www.learningherbs.com/news_issue_92.html
Our summer here in Belgium was dreadful this year, with little sunshine and lots of rain.Very bad for a little gardener, result...no harvest.
But the herbs grow with all this rain.
I managed to do,
-Elderflower tincture against hay fever
-Thyme tincture against acne
-St john's wort tincture
-Took nice pics of my roses
Take a jar and fill it with rose petals, poor,1/3 raw honey and 2/3 brandy,stirring to remove air bubbles.
Let sit for 3 to 6 weeks, shaking regularly.
You can use it internally in stressful situations. It is a mild nervine, calming without sedating.
-St john's wort oil with almond to use in ointment,
-St john's wort oil with olive oil for my inflamed shoulder,
-and double infused St john's wort oil with olive oil
-Lemon balm syrup
Instead of Lemon balm, Sage can also be used.
Or for example, Sage and Thyme soothes the throat.
Research suggests that Lemon balm promotes a calm and relaxed state of mind, wich is an important part of falling asleep.
All you need is,
Cane sugar or other
1 lemon squeezed and filtered
Fill a pot with lemon balm (I use a pot of 2 liters and fill it for three quarters)
Pour boiling water over and let stand about 3 hours with the lid closed.
I use about 800 ml water.
Then filter the liquid,add sugar and cook briefly,then add the filtered lemon.
Let it cook briefly(30 seconds),and pour into bottles immediately.
For about 800 ml of juice, I use 600 g sugar.
To drink, pour about 2 or 3 tablespoons in a cup and cover with boiling water. Or a bit more in a large cup. Keep an opened bottle in the fridge.
St. John's Wort Oil
Traditionally, St. John’s Wort is harvested on St. John’s Day (June 24). However, harvesting can take place as early as the summer solstice or as late as the end of the month.
This wonderful red oil has been used historically to soothe sunburn and relieve nerve pain relating to repetitive motion injuries, strains and shingles.
Flowers, buds and some leaves are gathered during the flowering season. Leave them rest overnight. Put them in a clean jar and fill with olive oil. Make sure that al parts are covered with oil to avoid mould. Cover the lid of the jar with a muslin, so moisture can evaporates. Leave for 4 till 6 weeks and then strain with cheesecloth or filter it through a coffee filter.
Actually I prefer to work with dried herbs, because they don't cause mold.
Please note that St. John's Wort Infused oil has none of the anti-depressant effect of the herbal extract. The Hypericum, used to treat anxiety and depression does not come through the infusion process.
Is harvested at peak potency from my garden. Put leaves and stems in a clean jar and fill with vodka, leave for a minimum of six weeks and strain.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) has been used historically as a mild tranquilizer that helps relieve stress and stimulate the appetite. Catnip herb has also been used to treat anxiety, colds, flu, fever, inflammation, and general aches and pains. This cat‚’s fancy has also been shown to be effective as a mosquito and insect repellent.
It is also used with restlessness, nervous irritation, nervous headaches, insomnia, amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea.
Caution: Not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation.
Take a big bowl - stuffing with elderberry blossoms and 3 sliced lemons - pouring cold water and cover with a plate to keep everything under water - 48 hours later - pour everything through a muslin or filter - take 1L juice and 333gr sugar (I use raw cane sugar) - cook together - let it cool down, then add 500 gr gin and pour into bottles.
Drink ice cold :)
Now is the time to start thinking about what I may need both for the coming summer and winter. Which conditions may I need to treat? Which herbs do I need to dry, which oils should I be making, which flower waters, tinctures or vinegars can I make fresh now? What would be good to make just for the fun of it?
St John's Wort
Back and shoulder pain:
St John's Wort oil
Syrup Stomach ache:
Mint, Chamomile, Lemon balm and Thyme syrup
Sage and Thyme syrup
Elderflower and Sage syrup
Ointments Wounds and scratches:
St John's Wort, Thyme and Rosemary ointment
Dry chapped skin
For the fun
Shampoo & Conditioner
Chive oil for the kitchen
For making the infused oils, I'll dry all the herbs, to avoid mold.
For the tinctures I'll use fresh herbs.
Theoretical task: The reproductive system Year 1: Research the human reproductive system, either male or female. If studying female anatomy and physiology, choose either a) age 15-45 or b)45 +. Consider which herbs can be useful during your chosen age group looking at (i) herbs for fertility and PMS or (ii) menopause. Consider which herbs can be used across all age groups.
Female Reproductive System Produces eggs (ova) Secretes sex hormones Receives the male spermatazoa during Protects and nourishes the fertilized egg until it is fully developed Delivers fetus through birth canal Provides nourishment to the baby through milk secreted by mammary glands in the breast.
Menopause is the physiological cessation of menstrual cycles associated with advancing age. Menopause is sometimes referred to as "the change of life" or climacteric. Menopause occurs as the ovaries stop producing estrogen, causing the reproductive system to gradually shut down. As the body adapts to the changing levels of natural hormones, vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and palpitations, psychological symptoms such as increased depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings and lack of concentration, and atrophic symptoms such as vaginal dryness and urgency of urination appear. Together with these symptoms, the woman may also have increasingly scanty and erratic menstrual periods. Technically, menopause refers to the cessation of menses; the gradual process through which this occurs, which typically takes a year but may last as little as six months or more than five years, is known as climacteric. A natural or physiological menopause is that which occurs as a part of a woman's normal aging process. However, menopause can be surgically induced by such procedures as hysterectomy. The average onset of menopause is 50.5 years, but some women enter menopause at a younger age, especially if they have suffered from cancer or another serious illness and undergone chemotherapy. Premature menopause is defined as menopause occurring before the age of 40, and occurs in 1% of women. Other causes of premature menopause include autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, and diabetes mellitus. Premature menopause is diagnosed by measuring the levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The levels of these hormones will be higher if menopause has occurred. Rates of premature menopause have been found to be significantly higher in both fraternal and identical twins; approximately 5% of twins reach menopause before the age of 40. The reasons for this are not completely understood. Post-menopausal women are at increased risk of osteoporosis.
Night sweats - how to help yourself There are a number of factors that can make the problem of night sweats worse:
It is obvious that night sweats are made worse in a warm bedroom. Turn off the central heating, open the window and bring out the lighter duvet
Night sweats can be triggered by sudden changes in temperature
Avoid hot drinks, caffeine and red wine at night
Avoid chocolate, refined or spicy foods
Avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of water
Smoking can make night sweats worse
Emotional upset and stress increases adrenaline levels, making your sweat glands work harder
Using an extract of sage such as Sage tablets can provide relief from excessive sweating and night sweats
Perimenopause refers to the time preceding menopause, during which the production of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone diminish and become more irregular. During this period fertility diminishes. Menopause is arbitrarily defined as a minimum of twelve months without menstruation. Perimenopause can begin as early as age 35, although it usually begins much later. It can last for a few months or for several years. The duration of perimenopause cannot be predicted in advance.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) It is common for women to experience some discomfort in the days leading up to their periods. PMS usually is at its worst the seven days before a period starts and can continue through the end of the period. PMS includes both physical and emotional symptoms: acne, bloating, fatigue, backaches, sore breasts, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, food cravings, depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating or handling stress.
Recommended Herbs For Infertility Red Clover Blossom,is a most useful herb in transforming infertility and problems with endometriosis. This herb is very valuable to the uterus due to it's high vitamin and protein content. It is also high in calcium and magnesium which relax the nervous system and help promote fertility.
Flaxseed Oil,has wonderful benefits for men and women trying to conceive. Flax Seed Oil contains omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, lecithin, magnesium, fibre, protein, zinc and is considered to be nature's richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. Nearly every system in the body can benefit from flax seed oil's natural properties including the reproductive system. For women, it help stabilize a woman's estrogen-progesterone, improve uterine function and thus treat fertility problems. Flaxseed oil is a great herbal supplement to consider taking when trying to promote fertility.
Dong Quai,is extremely popular with women in Asian societies. It has been used as a health tonic for many generations. In particular, dong quai has been used for the health of the reproductive system in females by regulating menstrual cycles and improving the overall health of the uterus. Women with endometriosis find significant relief of their pain when taking dong quai, especially when mixed with the herb chasteberry, black cohosh or ginseng.
Chasteberry, also well known as Vitex is a very popular fertility herb made popular by the Europeans. Chasteberry is often used to regulate hormonal imbalances and can be especially beneficial when dealing with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOC). If you are dealing with irregular menstrual cycles, acne, excess hair growth or weight gain in addition to infertility, this herb for infertility is recommended to help regulate ovulation and overall hormonal balance.
Red Raspberry Leaf has a highly nutritive ingredient which aids in its ability to tone the uterus and muscles of the pelvic region. Red Raspberry is a powerful fertility-promoting herb, especially when used in combination with Peppermint which has the added benefit of serving as a sexual stimulant!
Fennel ,works as an aphrodisiac for women. The key to its reputation as an aphrodisiac lies in the fact that the plant contains compounds that are similar to the female hormone estrogen. This estrogen-like substance (phytoestrogen) is know to boost the female libido, alleviate several types of gynaecological disorders, encourage menstruation for women suffering irregular periods and help PMS-related symptoms. Besides working to enhance a your libido, fennel is packed with valuable nutrients essential for building up immunity and the proper functioning of all systems of the body including the sex organs.
In addition to the herbs mentioned above, Nettle Leaves, False Unicorn Root, Green Tea, Black Cohosh, Evening Primrose Oil and Ginseng are herbs also used for infertility issues.
Practical Task: Preserving your herbs Now is the time to start thinking about what you may need both for the coming summer and winter. Which conditions may you need to treat? What would be good to make just for the fun of it? Which herbs to you need to dry, which oils should you be making, which flower waters, tinctures or vinegars can you make fresh now?
Your herbal ally Continue with your tasks as set out last month.
Seasonal task Make a dogrose petal and leaf vinegar and/or elixir. Gather rose petals to dry and to make tincture. Make as many different elderflower products as you can. (eg dried, fritters, double infused oil, cordial, water, tincture, elixir, honey, vinegar and champagne!)
Observational task Notice which plants around you are flowering. Choose somewhere with a large patch of flowers e.g. bush/tree etc. Count how many different insects spend time with the flowers. Identify as many different species of bees as you can. How do they gather the nectar and pollen? Where do they enter the flower?