For the Love of Herbs – Yarrow!

I said that Yarrow would be the first herb I discuss as part of the “For the Love of Herbs” blog series, so here it is.

 

yarrow

 

Firstly, you have my apologies for the delay, I am not the most confident blogger and tend to shy away from this kind of thing, but that is precisely why yarrow is a great first herb for this project, and I’ll tell you why in this post.

Tradition of Yarrow

If I take a second to cover a little about the tradition of Yarrow, its Latin name is Achillea millefolium and is often associated as a warrior herb that provides great strength of character (hence good for this post).
From a mythological point of view, it was said that Achilles’ mother bathed her son in a bath infused with Yarrow, thus this was the source of his boundless strength, except as she held Achilles, she did so by the heels and we all know proved to be his fatal weak spot.

How I Use Yarrow

Yarrow is a herb that I use in the vast majority of my bespoke herbal formulations, not only is it great a great herb for most people, but in my mind it is also a very special herb.

Yarrow’s actions are typically mild, but with far reaching benefits, and I tend to use the herb to lend its strength to a formulation and help support a person with their external boundaries (most of us need a little help there).

In addition to its energetic uses, Yarrow is physically a great blood circulation normaliser.
I will always remember one of my university lecturers describing its blood movement effects, stating that it moves blood to where it needs to be, thus helping to get congested areas moving and flowing freely, and improve overall blood circulation.
An example of Yarrow’s blood movement benefits can be seen we are chronically stressed. When we perceive a sense of threat, our blood moves out to our peripheries getting us ready to take flight, as a result this causes a slowing down blood movement in and around the digestive system. This movement particularly effects the rate at which blood moves through the liver and long term can lead to blood congestion in this area, a poorly functioning digestive system and a sluggish extraction of natural waste materials by the liver. By excelling at normalising blood movement, Yarrow can be a very useful herb for minimising the effects of chronic stress on the circulation and the body as a whole, and help improve digestion. Another great application is to help normalise blood congestion associated with the menstrual cycle, by clearing congestion Yarrow can be helpful for a host of menstrual issues including PMT and cramps.

As described before, Yarrow has the association as a warrior herb, but for more than one reason, this time because  it has superb healing abilities. Yarrow is both a vulenary and a styptic, and  was typically used to stop bleeding and help the healing of wounds on a battlefield. Thus yarrow is a great herb to use topically on cuts, bites and burns (see the link below for a salve recipe)

Yarrow is also traditionally used to help support the body during a cold/flu/fever. It is typically brewed alongside elderflower and mint to help break a fever and support the immune system to recover quicker, find out more about its benefits for fevers below.

How you can use Yarrow.

The easiest way to use Yarrow is to brew up a cup. All you need is:
1) a teaspoon of the dried herb
2) allow to infuse in a cup of boiled water (covered) for 10 minutes
3) strain
4) add honey or lemon to taste (optional)
If you do brew a cup of this wonderful herb, I recommend you take the time out and do it by this method.

Other useful links

How to grow Yarrow

Yarrow first aid salve by the Montana Homesteader 

Yarrow for fevers

I hope you linked this first instalment of “For the Love oh Herbs” let me know how you like to use Yarrow and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

 

For now,

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For the Love of Herbs – Yarrow!

For the Love of Herbs!

Herbal arrangement

Hello herbies,

so I have decided that I want to do more work reconnecting with the wonderful world of herbs.

Now you might speculate, why that is necessary for a practising herbalist?

Well, as a herbal student, you get to interact with herbs on an almost daily basis. You explore what a herb stands for, how and why they work, all through personal experience, taste testing, interactive learning, and oh so many essays, discussions, lectures, clinic sessions, and more. Looking back, the close connection forged with the herbs was pure bliss. I definitely miss that aspect of being a student, and at the time, we probably all took it for granted.
Now, however, as a fully qualified medical herbalist, with my own business, I have to wear many hats, I am a herbalist, researcher, marketing and PR fledging, book keeper, wannabe accountant, etc, etc, etc! As a result, I often feel like I have very little time left to pursue and develop my love of herbs further – for there is always more to learn.

So now I am going to change that!

My intention is to begin exploring many aspects of herbs once more, through tastings, reflecting quietly with the herb, and much research; all to further my passion and learning of herbs. Then, I’m going to put my reflections and findings into words via my blog, and I invite you to share the journey, where I hope to inspire you with my love of herbs!

Yarrow will be my first herb, so stay tuned.

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For the Love of Herbs!

Tea For ME (Taking Time Out in 10 Easy Steps)

Rose tea
Freshly brewed rose tea

In this day and age we rarely take the time to slow down and take some proper time out. Our down time is usually spent watching TV or scrolling through our phone/computer, and lets face it, that only makes us disconnect rather than relax and unwind.

So instead, I propose that the perfect way for some real ‘ME TIME’
can be done whilst making and drinking a good cup of tea.


Tea For Me – The Process:

STAGE 1: BREWING

1: Being mindful. As you carry out each of these steps, try doing it without being on autopilot. Be aware of your senses, how things look, the smells and noises at each stage, and be aware of how things feel in your hands.

2: Pick your tea. Contemplate which tea you feel like, a good quality loose leaf would be best, whether that is your favourite herb or a good green/white/black, but normal tea bags will do too.

3: Stick the kettle on. Once you hit the switch, don’t walk away and don’t pick up your phone, remember to be mindful of the process. So look/smell/hear/feel. Now is when you can start paying attention to your thoughts and notice your breath.

4: Grab your favourite cup & get the tea ready. This is time just for you, so it’s got to be your favourite cup. Be aware of the sounds coming from the kettle, watch (if you can) as the water begins to bubble and boil, and smell your freshly chosen tea as you wait for the kettle to finish.

5: Pour & infuse. Now the water is ready, become aware of your senses as you pour it onto your chosen tea, notice the changes that are happening as the water mixes with the leaf. Do the colours or the leaves swirl? As you wait for the tea to infuse (to your preferred strength) focus further on your breathing, take a deep breath, inhale the aromas, and allow yourself to relax.

6: Perfect spot. Now you have your tea, find the perfect spot where you can be alone with YOU and your tea.

STAGE 2: ENJOYING

7: Sit & become aware. Just sit with your tea, and before you even start drinking, become aware of your body. Are you sitting comfortably? How does your body feel? Give your toes a wiggle, relax your shoulders and be aware of any feelings/sensations within your body. Become aware of your breathing once more.

8: Smell: Now sit and smell your tea, as you inhale the aroma be aware of any thoughts or memories it conjures in your mind. Allow yourself to relax further.

9: Drink: As you take your first sip, be aware of the taste of your tea, is it sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter or astringent? Be mindful of your thoughts and memories that may come as you enjoy your tea, and become aware of how it makes your body feel as you drink it.

10: Gratitude: As you sit and enjoy your cuppa, now is a great time to reflect upon of the wonderful things you have in your life. You can be thankful for the hard toil people will have put into making your tea possible; appreciate that you are here, in this moment, to enjoy your brew; and be thankful of the people who are part of your life. Taking the time to feel grateful for even the simple things in your life does wonders for your mental health and outlook on life. So give it a try.

If you find yourself getting distracted through the process, that’s okay, just take a deep breath, and refocus on your senses. Ask yourself again ‘how does the tea taste/smell/look/feel?’

The most important part is the fact that you are taking the time out, for yourself, to just sit and enjoy your tea.

For now, just be.

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Tea For ME (Taking Time Out in 10 Easy Steps)

Blogging: The Beginning

I have a great deal of blog ideas running through my head. I’ve been working on one particular piece for more than a week, with very little to show for it, and as I realise I am getting nowhere fast, I’m starting to ask myself: “why?”

So here I am, sitting in a quiet room, and as I try to tune in to what I want to write for my first blog piece,I find myself brimming with emotions. The first one is like utter excitement; my heart is racing and my brain is firing at a million miles an hour, I simply can’t keep track of what it is I want to say, never mind making it into something coherent. What happens next is the fear begins to bubble up; statements like “I can’t write”, “I’m not good enough to do this”, and “why would anyone want to read what I write?” charge through my brain, more or less killing off the prospects of actually achieving anything notable.

I think the part of the problem is that I see herbs and healing as such an integral part of me, with such potential and room for growth. I also have a keen feeling of where I see myself in 10+ years, and not one I can begin to express easily, so to start to put any of it down in words for all to see, is like bearing your heart/soul to the world. It’s flippin’ scary! Not only does it create a mass of self-doubt, but I also know in my heart that the vision I have for the future, cannot and will not happen unless I start to take the necessary action now. Talk about pressure.

So here’s me: instead of writing a blog about all the wonders of herbs (for which I believe there are so many), I am choosing to begin my voice with an honest portrayal of me, not only as a person (with my tendency to be a touch melodramatic), but this is me making a start, with a tiny glimpse of my passion for herbs.

Hopefully catch you soon with the ‘real’ first blog.

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Blogging: The Beginning