A couple of weeks ago I was working in a clients garden and noticed that in an area set aside to be a wild flower meadow there was some of the biggest, most green and juicy looking, yarrow (Achillea millefolium) leaves I have ever seen. Having suffered with a strange sore throat virus that didn’t really go anywhere, but wiped me out for days, in August; I saw the abundant quantity of yarrow as an opportunity to make a fabulous remedy; ready for any winter colds, flu’s and viruses.
Of Course yarrow is so much more than just an immune system boost; however it is certainly my first port of call when I detect the early symptoms of cold, flu or virus. So with permission of the land owner I gathered myself a large handful and brought it home to tincture. It is good to allow fresh plant material a little time to wilt before infusing in alcohol as this gives an opportunity for some of the moisture to evaporate, luckily it was a warm day and a good couple of hours before I had the chance to continue to the next stage, so the yarrow had a chance to wilt a little.
My version of making a tincture is extremely simple. I felt very strongly that the yarrow did not want to be cut, so I just filled a clean glass jar with the long feathery strands of yarrow and covered with brandy (40% vol minimum), screwed on the cap and waited.
Every day for the next two weeks I shook the jar morning and evening, awakening the yarrow, sending it my thanks and good wishes, whilst mixing the brew. Finally, after two weeks I poured the jars contents through a sieve lined with muslin (to catch any tiny bits of plant matter that had broken free) and bottled up the dark liquid carefully labelling with the date and contents, et voila ~ yarrow tincture!
Dosage is 1-3ml, 3 times daily (most dropper bottles dropper capacity is 1ml). I always recommend starting with just a few drops on the tip of your tongue, then shutting your eyes and feeling the tincture as it travels through your body. How does it feel? Where does it go? Is it the right medicine for you? Your body is infinitely wise and will tell you all these things if you just take the time to listen.
As I mentioned before yarrow tincture goes way beyond just being an immuno-stimulant; helping with PMS, diarrhoea, cystitis, food sensitivities, high blood pressure – the list goes on and on… It is one of my top 10 herbs as an all rounder, not just as a tincture but also when used fresh, or infused in hot water as a tea. I love to brew a few fresh leaves in hot water and then add a tea spoon of yummy elderberry syrup before drinking, perfect for a fever or flu. To read more about yarrows uses, and the different remedies you can make with it check out a copy of my book, The Medicine Garden.
Cautions & Contraindications: Avoid if sensitive to the Asteraceae family, during the first three months of pregnancy, or if breast feeding.
As with any of my posts this is not intended to diagnose any condition. Please use herbal medicines sensibly and safely, including those you have gathered and made yourself 🙂