Friday, September 7, 2012

Tinctures and Teas

I nearly missed the yarrow! Just a few days ago the ditch was full of it, but yesterday I had a hard time finding even one patch. Most of it's gone to seed already.
I made (started) yarrow tincture. 

Leaves and flowers from a couple of stems, crammed into a jar.
Covered with rum. Yum. I misunderstood the instructions when I went to the liquor store. I thought I had read 80% alcohol, and this Bacardi was the best I could find, at 75.5%. It was actually supposed to be 80 proof (40%). Oops.  It'll have some kick!  It'll need to be shaken a couple of times a day for the next six to eight weeks, and then strained to remove the herb.  Then just a few drops under the tongue.

Yarrow tincture is useful for healing urinary disorders and menstrual problems. It is also recommended for cardiovascular complaints.

This one is for me.  I have a history of urinary tract infections and lady issues.

Yarrow is used against colds, cramps, fevers, kidney disorders, toothaches, skin irritations, and hemorrhages, and to regulate menses, stimulate the flow of bile, and purify the blood. Medicinal tea is a good remedy for severe colds and flu, for stomach ulcers, amenorrhea, abdominal cramps, abscesses, trauma and bleeding, and to reduce inflammation.
To dry, I'm tying the herbs and hanging them in the sunroom window.  I hope it'll make a nice winter tea for coughs and colds.

 Yarrow tea: To 1 tsp. dried herb add 1 cup boiling water, steep for 10 min. sweeten to taste. Take at bedtime.

 Yarrow also has blood-clotting and antimicrobial benefits. Yarrow may be applied directly, or used in a salve or poultice for minor cuts and wounds.

If I can find another patch, I'd like to make another salve with yarrow and plantain.

My other herbs, so far:
 Mint (dried for tea):
  • Relieve symptoms of indigestion, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome by relaxing the muscles in and around the intestine.
  • Act as a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body against the formation of cancerous cells.
  • Inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria and fungus.
  • Ease and unblock the breathing and respiratory passages and airways.
  • Relieves the symptoms of colds and flu.
  • Mint can help with nasal allergies.
  • It can relieve congestion, head colds and headaches.
  • Act as a mild sedative and has calming properties.
  • Relieve minor aches and pains such as muscle cramps and sprains.
  • Combat bad breath.
  • Provides a cooling sensation to the skin and can help to treat minor burns, itching and skin irritations.
  • Mint is a very good cleanser for the blood.
  • Mint tea can help clear up skin disorders such as acne. 
Raspberry Leaves (dried for tea):
 Raspberry tea has helped with painful menstruation and flow, and lessens an over-abundant period. At menopause the adrenals are geared to take over as the ovaries gradually cease functioning; many menopausal symptoms are caused by exhausted adrenals.
Diarrhea, thrush, sore throat, canker sores, dysentery, urinary complaint, cold and fever sufferers find red raspberry tea is a reliable remedy.
Pour one cup boiling water over a teaspoon of dried leaves and let it steep at least 15 minutes. Drink and heal. 

Thyme (tincture):  A recommended dose is 1/3 to 1 tsp., three times daily.
 Components of thyme act as expectorants that help expel mucus from the respiratory tract. They also have antibacterial activity, may be helpful in treating bronchitis and dry, hacking types of cough. It may also be useful for whooping cough in children. 
Thyme oil may also help combat several forms of fungal microorganisms, including  thrush and gastrointestinal or vaginal yeast infections. 
Tincture of thyme may also help relieve digestive complaints, including heartburn and gas. Thyme may also help with bad breath, or halitosis, because its components are active against some bacteria that live in the mouth.

Pennyroyal (tincture):  
Pennyroyal has been used to promote and regulate menstrual flow and ease painful menstruation. It is stimulating and could cause uterine contractions.  (Other sites say that it may be toxic and cause liver damage, especially if used habitually.  This one will be only for the really bad months when nothing else is helping and I want to die anyway).

Speedwell (tincture):  
People who suffer from rheumatism and gout should try the easily prepared Speedwell tincture  This tincture is used externally as a friction; internally 15 drops in water or tea are taken three times a day.

That one is for Husband, who suffers from gout.



  1. That is quite an impressive list of herbs you have at ready.

    Pennyroyal is used as an abortifacient. Be careful who you give that to. I know the feeling of wanting to die!

    Sometimes I am a skeptic when it comes to the myriad claims of an herb. However, the best thing for my allergic reactions is a LifeSaver, Pep-O-Mint. When I have itching lips, inner mouth and throat, it helps. Sad to say, that makes me believe in herbs.

    Thyme? Yes, cough drops with thymol help. I suppose it is the same thing that acts as an expectorant.

    I am a skeptic who believes!

    Looking at the weeds in my yard, I often suspect some of them are volunteer herbs!

    1. Yeah, no worries there. I don't plan to medicate anyone other than my immediate family. And maybe Cranberry if she shows up sick and wants to try something. Everyone else just thinks I'm a crackpot, lol. I don't think the boys are at much risk of aborting. At any rate, the pennyroyal is just for me.

      Yup, lots of plants are herbs disguised as weeds, or dual purpose.

    2. hehe two peas in the same cracked pot? lol

  2. ack Wendy - you are making me feel so behind! i need to gather heal-all, comfrey, primrose and st. john's wort and then dry them all for tinctures and tea. catnip as well. and raspberry leaves. and now yarrow too (menstrual probs and the evening of primrose doesn't seem to do anything for the cramps!). for cooking herbs, i transplant some of the plant into pots and bring all of the pots in the house. once we have the greenhouse, i will be able to keep them in there.

    better get off my butt and start gathering medicinal herbs for drying! but heck - we are still picking berries!

    your friend,

    1. Don't feel behind, lol. You've got time to relax and pick your berries. Just keep an eye on things that are flowering. I totally missed the Black eyed susans, figuring I'd get to them later, and nearly missed that yarrow. It's funny how some plants seem to bloom for months, and others only a week or two.

      I barely have anything 'established' in the perennial bed. I'm going to try starting more herbs in bigger pots in January, to see if I can get a better hold on them for next year.

  3. This is a helpful post, Wendy. I know the feeling of wanting to die too. After many trips to emergency I've decided that I prefer morphine :-) I admire your vigor at taking care of yourself with herbs.

    1. Thanks, Sue.

      I've pretty much given up on doctors. I have a high pain tolerance, and a bad attitude, I guess. After years of waiting for the swab results to come back so I could get some drugs for tonsilitus, I finally got my tonsils removed. Then a few more years, waiting for the swabs because I 'couldn't possibly have tonsilitus with no tonsils', except I did. But I didn't. I finally got diagnosed with sinusitus (same bacteria). I just never complained until my throat was raw.

      Then there was the year I was sick for over a month, sleeping constantly, scaring Husband. I let him drag me to the hospital when I started coughing up blood. Sat in emerge for 6 hours, all my OTC drugs wore off, and they wouldn't give me anything. I walked out when the nurse said I just had the flu. (Hadn't seen a doctor). The next day a clinic doc sent me for an x-ray 'to rule out pneumonia'. Except, I had pneumonia.

      And then two years ago I decided I was done with the whole lady issue nonsense, and went and saw a doctor. He did send me for a bunch of tests, ultrasounds, mamogram, x-rays, CT scan... But nothing definitive showed up, so you know, it's all in my head.

      Husband, on the other hand, can stub his toe and get a prescription for tylenol 3s. Go figure.

      I think I'd like morphine. Or a hysterectomy. Just can't find a doc willing to comply.

  4. There is something about filled jars on the shelves and herbs hangin by the window that makes you feel good, a sense of comfort, we can handle anything that comes our way. We are prepaired!

    Loved that herbel web site you posted a few posts ago.

    1. I really wish I felt that way. I can't seem to get to the point that enough is enough. As long as the garden/berries/trees/etc are producing, I need to harvest. Next year could be a bad year...


  5. Great post! I have always wanted to make my own tinctures,etc., but never have :(