Hal's Hat

Hal's Hat

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Big June, the solstice, the supermoon and summer

During the summer months, it's always refreshing and invigorating when so many circumstances coincide. I'm talking about the full moon, the supermoon (meaning super close to the earth and huge) along with the solstice BUT then you have all of the wonderful big summer medicine, the harvest month for herbs.
This month, this past week I've harvested calendula blossoms for infused oil. I've harvested rosemary for spice and oil. Comfrey for oil. Yarrow and echinacea flowers/ stalks for tincture. I will go back in the fall and do a root harvest for both of those and make a tincture that is a combination of the flower and the root. Pretty powerful stuff.....

Yarrow- are you interested in this plant? Here is an image of the native white yarrow that we find around here. It can be invasive- which... I don't really find that appropriate here. It can be a garden thug, if you don't want LOTS of it in your garden. It loves to spread! It will populate your lawn if you let it. But that also means it's strong and supple and resilient.
Active volatile oil: azulene and others.
medicinal white yarrowUse as an antispasmodic, certainly astringent (due to its tannin content),  In addition, I use yarrow against colds, sore throats, infections or suspected upper respiratory/ ear/ throat infections. It is a great topical healer against skin things/ eruptions: bad bug bites, stings, burns (crush and hold against it), also read that it can be used topically to help take down warts. Though I have little experience with it in this form, due to its highly bitter quality, it is a bile stimulator and kidney tonic (blood purifier perhaps). I am drying it this year for an emergency tea (YUCK, bitter, psst, blech) and/or wound healer. Can you tell I have a lot of it?
[Interesting side note: just found this on a Google search of Yarrow. It can be used on animals, namely horse, bleeding/ oozing wounds:

Wound Aid for Animals is yarrow, Achillea millefolium, harvested in full bloom, dried and powdered. It is liberally applied to open bleeding, oozing or otherwise raw wounds. I have used it most on horses with moderately severe to gruesome wire cuts. I apply it by liberally sprinkling it on the open wound or throwing it on the wound if the horse is not cooperative or restrained. A large quantity will adhere to the wound. Yarrow is a hemostat — or blood stopper — it works best on lacerations. It does not impress me as a blood stopper on incisions or clipped nails. It does work effectively to stop oozing sutured incisions. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and accelerates wound healing with reduced formation of scar tissue." http://www.buckmountainbotanicals.net/treatments/woundaid.html]

Clary Sage: Exotic looking, blooms every other year. Reseeds itself. It is a salvia. Its most common use is in essential oil. Obviously, I'm not making essential oil at home, am I? No. Part of the danger of essential oils is that they are the chemical extraction of hundreds and hundreds of plants to create 1 ounce of highly concentrated oil. The oil then has lots of potency and can be deadly if ingested. Don't leave it around for small people to mess with... I've gotten burns from very concentrated oil.
That being said, this plant with its huge leaves and very pale exotic spikes is going into oil. I'm making an infused oil of it- it has a lemony, mysterious scent. In old herbals, it warns over and over not to mix with alcohol due to its intense effects. Or maybe it is a warning TO MIX with alcohol, since it intensifies the effects! But I used the aromatherapy oil during my labor, on a handkerchief tucked into my bosom. It was centering.

I'm also making oil from calendula blooms- calendula oil is just.... well, it heals everything. Diaper rash to radiation burns- it isn't magic or super fast, but it is a calming, lovely golden ray of sunshine! I dry my blossoms just a few hours to get any water off of them then put them in my oil jar. I did all of this on the solstice- I started the jar last week and am adding to it until the season for calendula is done.

Also, this link here is a great article on plantain! My dad was a huge proponent of plantain (the narrow and the wide leaved). I prefer the wide as it is softer, brings down swelling and bites quicker, etc. I do chew it up and put it on insect bites if I'm walking/ hiking OR (here is a major flashbulb moment folks!)-- it grows right near poison ivy most of the time. If you spot poison ivy, or you don't, and walk through it, chew up plantain and rub it on your affected parts. Now obviously, the best thing is to wash off your exposed skin that contacted the PI. Because you're dumb if you don't. But Plantain will help after the poison ivy has erupted and made your skin and life hell.

Next up is a garden design blog... that's in a few days. I designed a Japanese garden and I had the pleasure of seeing it brought to life! And the Oakleaf Hydrangeas... knocking me outttttt!