Can you guess why I'm sipping yarrow herbal tea (Achillea millefolium)?
This is a plant (flowers and leaves) that I've picked for years to make herbal tea. I normally have some hanging up in my kitchen drying for exactly this kind of moment.
I have a cold.
A snotty, head, sore throaty kind-of cold. I don't feel my best and having my hands around a hot cup of yarrow tea is helpful. It's not just the heat, but the properties of the herb itself that could help me. As can extra sleep, good food, a hot water bottle and lots of TLC (that's 'tender loving care' if you're reading this from abroad).
Named after the Greek hero Achilles, yarrow has been used since, well possibly forever, though written texts show that it was used in the 1500s. It's properties are numerous, and with my current head-cold I don't have the energy or brain-power to go into all of its medicinal abilities. I talk a little more about in in my yarrow creme brulee recipe post (yes medicine can also be dessert!).
Today, I'm sipping yarrow tea to help my cold and throat. Yarrow basically dilates the pores and blood vessels, making one perspire and release body toxins. It can calm coughing and has antiseptic qualities for tackling viruses and infections. It's best to harvest when in flower.
I'll be filling my mug a few times as I write this blog. Pouring hot water over the leaves and flowers and letting it stew. Steep, is the technical word, let my herbs steep.
A jar of dried yarrow leaves and flowers that I'll be using during autumn and winter. Yarrow is one of the plants I cover sometimes on foraging courses and on my forage, sing and taste courses. Always consult a medical herbalist if you are using herbs for medicinal reasons.