Herb Blurb – Wormwood

Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood, Absinthe)

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Native to temperate regions of Eurasia and Northern Africa, it is grown as an ornamental plant and is used as an ingredient in the spirit absinthe as well as some other alcoholic drinks.Wormwood is traditionally used medicinally in Europe, and is believed to stimulate the appetite and relieve indigestion. Wormwood is mentioned several times in the Bible in the different versions as well as the Jewish Bible, and usually refers to bitterness, or bitter.

Suggested uses

Wormwood has been used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood has also been used to treat fever, liver disease, and worm infections; to increase sexual desire; as a tonic; and to stimulate sweating.Some people apply wormwood directly to theskin for healing wounds andinsect bites. Wormwood oil is used as a counterirritant to reduce pain. In manufacturing, wormwood oil is used as a fragrance component in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes and it is also used as an insecticide. Wormwood extract is used in many alcoholic beverages such as vermouth and absinth which is illegal in many countries including the US due to the chemical compound thujone which is poisonous in large quantities. It is also said that the thujone is what gives absinth the hallucinogenic properties. Wormwood is said to counteract the effects of poisoning by hemlock, toadstools and the biting of the seadragon. Wormwood is the bitterest herb known, but it is very wholesome and used to be in much request by brewers for use instead of hops.

Parts to use

Everything that grows above the ground.

How to use

Raw – Placed in homes and among stuffs and furs to keep away moths and insects

Tea – Wormwood Tea, made from 1 OZ. of the herb, infused for 10 to 12 minutes in 1 pint of boiling water, and taken in wineglassful doses, will relieve melancholia and help to dispel the yellow hue of jaundice from the skin, as well as being a good stomachic, and with the addition of fixed alkaline salt, produced from the burnt plant, is a powerful diuretic in some dropsical cases.

Infusion – The essential oil of the herb is used as a worm-expeller, the spirituous extract being preferable to that distilled in water. The leaves give out nearly the whole of their smell and taste both to alcohol and water, but the cold water infusions are the least bitter.

Growing

Wormwood likes a shady situation, and is easily propagated by division of roots in the autumn, by cuttings, or by seeds sown in the autumn soon after they are ripe. No further care is needed than to keep free from weeds. Plant about 2 feet apart each way.

Storage

Light is the enemy of medicinal herbs. Dried leaves and flowers should be stored in an air tight bag/jar protected from light. Sunlight is the worst as the UV will break down the compounds that are beneficial. Teas and tonics should be prepared fresh and discard any unused portions. Once dried wormwood should be sealed into the storage container as it will reabsorb moisture when left in the open.

wormwood

Herb Blurb – Yarrow

Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow)

Yarrow Diagram
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Yarrow, also called Soldiers Wound Wort has been in use since ancient Greece. Its name derives from Achilles who was rumored to use it on his soldiers to stop bleeding on the battlefield.  Yarrow was also used on the battlefield during the Civil War especially when supplies were sparse. Yarrow comes in a variety of colors including, white, yellow, red, pink and orange. Yarrow was used by Native Americans for a variety of issues all across the US.

Suggested uses

A tea made with yarrow is good to tread common colds and is said to help expel wastes through the pores. Mainly given as a blood purifier. Macerated and applied to wounds it can stop bleeding, and act as an antibacterial agent. Yarrow has been used for fever, common cold, hay fever, absence of menstruation, dysentery, diarrhea, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal (GI) tract discomfort, and to induce sweating.

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/y/yarrow02.html

Parts to use

Stems, leaves and flowers, collected in the wild state, in August, when in flower.

yarrow
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How to use

Raw – Some people have found chewing the leaves will help alleviate a toothache. The flowers and young leaves can be added to salads.

Tea – Yarrow as a tea can help purify the blood and expel wastes through the pores.

Salve -Ointment – Highlanders of Scotland use a yarrow ointment on sheep for wound care

Macerated – taken in the field, macerate (chew, crush, grind) the leaves and apply directly on wounds to stop bleeding and reduce infection.

Bath – To stop bleeding of hemorrhoids, wounds, to alleviate cramps a bath using the macerated leaves or tincture from leaves.

Flavor additive – prior to using hops, yarrow was used to flavor beer. It was said that yarrow made the beer more potent.

Tincture – Alcohol (vodka) a tincture can be made to extract essential oils rather than drying the herb for later use.

Growing

Yarrow is a perennial here in the Midwest. It will self seed if allowed to. It prefers full sun and well drained soil but does well in many unfavorable conditions. It is a drought tolerant plant. Yarrow is a good companion plant as it attracts predatory wasps who prey on other pest insects as well as it attracts ladybugs and hoverflies.

Storage

Light is the enemy of medicinal herbs. Dried leaves, stems, and flowers should be stored in paper bag out of light. Tinctures should be stored in a dark glass container away from light. Sunlight is the worst as the UV will break down the compounds that are beneficial

Want to learn more come check out our herb class on August 23

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