Nov 12, 2013

Yarrow & Hyssop Tea


We created a tasty blend of medicinal herbs to take when you feel a fever coming on, or at the beginning stages of a cold. Yarrow & Elderflower are the main actors in this tea with Hyssop and Mint adding a great refreshing flavor. Calendula petals are there to remind us all of summer and the brilliant medicine of the sun. Especially for those of us here in the Pacific Northwest!


Like many herbs Yarrow has many different functions and has been used in a myriad of ways throughout the years. It's lore is of epic proportions and it has never ceased to be one of the go to herbs of Western Herbalists wether it was carried into battle to staunch bleeding, thrown as different lengths of sticks to predict ones fortune or taken in low doses to strengthen ones energetic boundaries. We are using it here with other herbs to help direct it towards breaking a fever, otherwise known as a diaphoretic. Yarrow is a tough and hardy plant that you will find growing in sunny locations whether on a sunbaked hill or along the side of a road. The leaves are feathery and soft and the flower itself is an umbel making a perfect landing pad for pollinators and other beneficial insects. It's importance to the ecosystem is also paramount. We have both used Yarrow to help staunch a cut while out in the woods by chewing on the leaves a bit and then applying that rudimentary poultice to the area. Bleeding stops fairly quickly after that. I've also used it as a digestive bitter while out on the trail if that's all I can find and while the taste is extremely bitter uncut, just remind yourself that that is the medicine.
Towering Elder

Elder is practically a medicine chest unto itself and we hope to write a longer post on it in the future, but in this case we are talking about elderflower that we harvested for this tea. Elderflowers, again a great plant for pollinators, are abundant on each plant. Elders here in the Pacific Northwest grow voraciously and can get so big, that it gives me pause to call them a shrub, but then again all of Nature is huge up here. Elderflowers are creamy white, easily harvested and have been used traditionally in both cooking and medicine. Elderflower spritzers are deliciously refreshing in the summer and help to cool the body down, just as the elderflower in this tea is a diaphoretic which helps your body to sweat to cool it down.   Elder, like Yarrow has an interesting and highly magical lore surrounding it including an association with fairies and is said to either attract or repel witches according to your particular point of view! We here at Portland Apothecary are attracted to it :)

Beautiful harvested elderflower

You can easily drink this blend as a pleasure tea to cozy up with on a rainy day or a cold crisp starry night, but if you need to put it to use as a hard working medicinal it is best to make a strong blend by infusing or steeping a small handful of the blend for over 20 minutes at a minimum. While your tea is steeping make a hot bath, throw in some mineral salts like our Mountain Mineral Soak blend with it's strong essential oils to help open your respiratory passages, then throw on some warm pajamas & wool socks, wrap up in a sheet under the covers and drink your tea. You will begin to sweat and that will break a fever helping you back on your road to recovery. This tea will open your pores, and as one of my teachers at acupuncture school said, 'you have to open a window so the thief can leave'. Meaning the open pores will allow the pathogen a way to disperse!

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