Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mid-Elevation Meadows and Forests - Saturday, July 16, 2011

A wonderful day full of amazing energy today as we drive out Foster through Damascus to Mt. Hood National Forest. I got to drive today and what a delight to drive such a familiar route that I haven’t taken in so long. Filled up the Zipcar with 5 herbies and followed a car of 5 more of us out for adventures in botany.

Today, a bit of wildcrafting:
Western Coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus)
  • 40%; Zigzag River; vodka
  • leaf and stem
  • 8 ounces
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • 40%; clear cut near meadow; vodka
  • flowers, stem, leaves
  • 8 ounces
Today during our first stop where we harvested the Petasites it was a drizzle of rain with the sun peaking out every now and a bit. The forest was beautiful and the ground was soft and spongy; everything was green and radiant. The Petasites grew in a flood plane near Alders and Western Hemlock. I harvested one big leaf and stem to place in my paper bag to process upon return to home. I cut the stem off at the bottom near the earth with a pocket knife. At home, I chopped the leaf and the stem into small bits, added to the 8 ounce jar then poured 40% Crater Lake vodka over the top. The Petasites showed it’s mucilaginous properties as I was cutting up the leaf. Petasites smells so very delicious and yummy. Thank you Petasites for coming home with me to be very important medicine. 
Petasites frigidus is found from sea level to about 4000 feet in the mountains. It seems to like boggy and disturbed area including drainage ditches and roadsides. (Gradey)
Our second stop was higher in elevation and we got to enjoy the bright blue sky with the warmth of amazing sunshine. The clear cut where we harvested the Yarrow was dry and dusty with lots of dried out and rotted trees. There were many Yarrow plants growing happily upon this hill of clear cut. I visited many plants determining if each one would like to come home with me. Upon finding willing plants, I cut with a pocket knife above a node taking stem, leaf and flower. I also took some ground leaves, placing everything in a paper bag. Upon returning to my kitchen, I cut the Yarrow into small pieces, placed in an 8 ounce jar, then poured 40% vodka covering the plant. Thank you Yarrow for your amazing and versatile medicine.
Yarrow is in the Compositae or Asteraceae family growing by rhizomes often in large colonies. We have now seen Yarrow growing from the coast to mid-elevation meadows. (Gradey) According to herbalist CoreyPine, Yarrow is a top herb to keep in a first-aid kit. CoreyPine stated Yarrow as a bitter, anti-septic, stanches bleeding, anti-microbial and used to; stimulate late menses, a sore throat gargle, for mild diarrhea and to lower fever. It is a blood mover that stops bleeding. 
According to The Essential Herbs Handbook, the core benefits of Yarrow include: 
  • encourages sweating
  • staunches blood flow
  • aids digestion
The flowering tops yield: 
  • a cleaning tonic
  • a digestive
  • a diuretic used to treat high blood pressure
  • a useful tonic for oily skin
Yarrow’s botanical name (Achillea millefolium) honors the Greek warrior Achilles, who was instructed in a dream to use yarrow leaves to staunch the blood of this soldiers’ wounds.
(Bremness, Lesley. The Essential Herbs Handbook, Duncan Baird Publishers 2009)
According to Michael Moore, Yarrow:
  • Yarrow is a perennial
  • The flowers are highest in aromatic constituents
  • The foliage is higher in tannin constituents
  • The roots hold their aromatics in complex resins
  • beneficial for acute fevers
  • hot infusion or tincture in water stimulates sweating and moderately lowers the temperature
  • an effective hemostatic and sometimes helps bleeding hemorrhoids and nosebleeds
  • stops/slows bleeding from cuts or scraped knees or elbows
  • will help in recovering from gastroenteritis (intestinal flu)
  • as an anti-inflammatory for muscle pain and joint inflammation
(Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, Red Crane Books 2003)

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