At last, winter has lost its icy grip on Mother Earth and spring is bringing forth its promise of renewal and rebirth. In Pennsylvania it was a very hard winter so spring comes as a special blessing this year.
Being an herbalist, I am always astounded by the vast spectrum of emotions that well up inside me this time of year when I see all the herbs (a.k.a. weeds) making their reappearance. I feel giddy, hopeful, confident, refreshed and childlike.
Last week while working in my yard, I bruised the leaves of a young yarrow plant and that beautifully sweet yet pungent smell filled the air as well as the core of my soul. It took me back to my childhood and the first time I smelled it (in this lifetime anyway.) I was about five years old and visiting a friend who had a wonderful meadow behind his house. As we were running through it the air just smelled so wonderful. And though at the time I didn’t know what plant had created that fragrance, there was something so magical, so familiar and so comforting about it that I knew I had to reconnect with this plant.
The yarrow plant known as Achillea Millefolium. First part refers to Achilles because it was said to have been used by the Greek hero to heal wounds during the Trojan War. Millefolium means, thousand leaf which is befitting in its reference to the feathery leaves that look like plumes.
Its remarkable ability to heal wounds made it a staple for twelfth century knights as well as Civil War soldiers.
Some of yarrows other virtues include the ability to bring down a fever, cause perspiration to purge toxins, a cleanser for the bile duct and colon and relief for menstrual cramps.
Here is a wonderful recipe for “Yarrow Ointment” to use on cuts, scrapes or anytime you use a band-aid.
Melt one pound of pork lard in a sauce pan on low (if you prefer, you can usecoconut oil or almond oil thickened with paraffin.) I use pork lard. Add a healthy handful of yarrow leaves and flowers (just enough to be covered by the lard.) White or red yarrow is used for medicinal purposes. Simmer on very low for one hour.
I like to use the fresh herb because it gives the ointment a lovely green hue, but dried herbs are acceptable. Strain and store in small jars. Remember to label them. You will have enough to give to friends and relatives. They will love you for it. Keep Yarrow Ointment in the fridge and use a clean spoon to scoop it out when needed. It will keep for at least a year.
May all your scrapes be small ones and all your ills be quickly healed.
Enjoy this blessed time of year and the rejuvenation that it imparts to each of us.
Love and Light, Lori Jacobs