Now is a great time to take a summer herb walk. Your first aid herbs await. The skies have been so bright blue and warm and the evenings chilled with rain that the plants are overflowing with medicine and vigor.
Our first stop is at the mullein plants. This is one of our favorite herbs. Every few days Doug and I head out to gather the yellow flowers from the top of the stalk which easily pop out in your fingers. These are put in a paper lunch bag with a few holes punched in it that is clearly marked Mullein. Herbs do tend to look alike once dried!
We use the mullein flowers for a couple of different things. They are excellent for lungs. They are anti-viral as well as soothing to the bronchial tract and the lining of the lungs. They are invaluable in asthma remedies and in cold medicine.
They are also a mild pain reliever, especially excellent for animals and children.
The leaves are very soft and when put in an extract or tea form it becomes gelatinous. This effect is called demulcent and acts like a blanket, if you will. Once consumed it helps cover nerve endings that are misfiring for pain (so a great supporting actor in pain medicines), used to settle the stomach and help with ulcers since it creates a covering over the lining of the stomach. Similarly, it also creates a soothing lining on the lungs when a hacking cough arises.
The humble Christmas pine tree holds in its boughs a myriad of medicines. It is a strong pain reliever for strains, sprains, and breaks used topically and also speeds healing.
Yarrow=Blood. Should one fall whilst running through the woods on a fine summer day and obtains a wound will find yarrow to be most helpful. Simply crush the flowers in the hand and apply to the wound to stop bleeding.
Yarrow stops bleeding externally whereas it keeps blood from clotting internally making it a fine heart medicine and ally in varicose vein and other blood related extracts including blood cleansing remedies.
Yucca abounds and is a much desired component in any pain relieving remedy for internal or external use. Yucca root is a wonderful anti-inflammatory.
The leaves and roots can be boiled to release the saponin which is essentially soap. Taken internally as a tea or when used in extracts the saponin cleanses the organs and acts as a tonic while decreasing inflammation and pain from arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
A Summer Herb Liniment (for strains, sprains, and other aches and pains externally)
Combine in a one quart canning jar a piece of pine 4-6 inches long, 3-4 inches wide. Just shove it in there.
Add a 3 inch long chunk of yucca root
Add 2 Tablespoons of mullein flowers and two smaller mullein leaves.
Add one head of yarrow
And one cup of mint.
These herbs can be dried or fresh.
Fill jar leaving one inch head space with vodka. Replace lid and mark jar with ingredients and date. Place in sunny window. Liniment will be ready in 2 weeks. Should you come across comfrey you can add that too and the liniment will help heal breaks in record time! I do not strain the liniment. The stronger the better. The shelf life is forever thanks for the vodka! Apply with a cotton ball or flat strips of an old cotton t-shirt. This remedy can be used for animals as well as children and adults.