Have you ever wondered if would be possible to take your family’s health care into your own hands?
What would it be like if healing yourself and your family was as easy as picking plants right around your house and using them to help keep you healthy?
Well, over the past several years, my husband John and I have been doing just that. We’ve been building our herbal knowledge one experience at a time. As our relationship with the green world grows, we find we rarely visit doctors. It’s been an empowering and inspiring journey, and I am absolutely delighted by this opportunity to share some if it with you, and help you to build your own family herbal medicine chest.
This month, I will introduce you to one of my very good friends and allies: Yarrow. It's one of the best herbs for fevers.
Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, plant grows in fields, on the edges of woods, and along the roadsides. It is a very fine garden herb, easy to start from seed. Yarrow has lacey, fern-like leaves and white to pink aromatic flowers with gold centers that shimmer in the moonlight.
I became good friends with yarrow when my daughter Hailey was just 5 weeks old and had a very high fever. The first day of the fever I called my naturopath. She was tempted to send us to the hospital because Hailey was so young and the fever so high. However, she knew if she did, they would do a spinal tap, and wanted to avoid such invasive measures if possible. Hailey was still nursing well and we chose to wait to see if the fever would break.
When the fever was still present the next day, we took her into the doctor’s office. Hailey was lethargic and very hot, but also nursing well. Our doctor sent us home advising a bath in yarrow tea.
We hadn’t thought of administering medicine through bathwater, but it worked brilliantly. We took her home and started a yarrow infusion right away, putting one ounce of the dried herb into a quart jar and covering it with boiling water. Four hours later we strained it into her infant bath and added water to make it tepid.
We bathed Hailey, and then soaked two pairs of her socks in 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted with a cup of water. One pair we put on her feet. The other pair we wrapped around her wrists at her pulse points. By nightfall, her fever had broken, and we slept, relieved and peaceful, through the night.
This routine has served us well with other high fevers, bringing them down by at least a degree within a few minutes. For older “patients” sipping the yarrow infusion or using a cloth the bathe their hands and feet works just as well. Yarrow opens our pores and encourages our body to sweat the fever out. This is why we feel this is one of the best herbs for fever.
Another wonderful way to get to know yarrow is for help with healing wounds. Once when we were visiting friends on Camano Island, John cut his foot pretty badly on some sharp rocks while wading in the sound.
He sent our four-year-old son Rowan to search for some yarrow. John crushed up the leaves and put them right on the cut. The bleeding stopped within minutes and the wound healed beautifully.
Not only will yarrow speed blood clotting. Yarrow helps relieve pain, disinfects wounds, promotes tissue repair, and reduces inflammation. Fresh yarrow leaves are best for wound healing, but you can put dried, powdered leaves right on the cut or make a compress, soaking a cloth in yarrow tea and laying it on the wound.
So, are you interested in having one of the best herbs for fever on your own medicine shelf?
Well, yarrow will be blooming all summer long. Gather the leaves and flowers by cutting the entire stem half way down. Harvest after the flowers are open and when they are still vibrant looking. Tie them by their stems in small bunches and hang them out of direct sunlight. When fully dry, garble them, and store in a mason jar.
As you build your own relationship with yarrow, one experience at a time, I know you will discover a multitude of other ways it can help you, and you’ll be glad you harvested this summer.
If you have no time or ability to harvest yarrow, start building your Herbal Medicine Chest by ordering it here.
If you need help learning how to learn about herbs, making remedies and incorporating herbs into your life, be sure to check out the Herbal Medicine Making Kit.
Until next time, happy harvesting!