MISSOURI GIRL EATS WEEDS
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 11:30am admin
Ann J. Hines, PhD
With a broad, white head of delicate flowers and a pungent scent, yarrow is now dotting the late summer landscape with its beauty. The flowers can also be found in shades of pink or yellow. Its lacy, fern-like leaves have long been prepared like spinach, but the uses for this cosmopolitan herb are far more extensive and impressive.
Try a cup of yarrow tea for sleep and anxiety: a study found that its anti-anxiety effects were on par with the popular drug Valium. It's an important part of one's first aid kit, as the powdered leaves make a fine styptic powder due to their achilleine content. Simply sprinkle the powder directly on the wound to stanch the bleeding and dull the pain. It's wonderful as an ointment for skin conditions like rashes and eczema due to its anti-inflammatory compounds, and its antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it useful for wound healing. It's a blessing to nursing mothers, both for mastitis and cracked nipples. A simple leaf poultice applied to the breast provides quick relief. For mastitis, alternate warm and cold compresses with the yarrow leaves.
Yarrow has been used for fevers, colds and flu. Its astringent and diaphoretic properties when made into a tea are renowned for inducing sweating and aiding in illnesses that include fever. Its properties are often enhanced by using it in preparations with ginger, elderberry or mint. Finally, it's used to lower blood pressure, address menstrual complaints, soothe indigestion and the digestive tract, calm allergies, and treat cardiovascular concerns and respiratory complaints.
Wow! What a list! You can't over look this plant now when you see it in the roadsides and fields!
Its complex flavors, sometimes compared to tarragon, mint or anise, are strong. Try a serving of cottage cheese with fresh, sliced garden tomatoes, sprinkled with a little salt, pepper and a bit of minced yarrow leaves as an introduction. If you enjoy the unique flavor, try this "aglio e olio" (garlic and oil) recipe drizzled over pasta:
1 red bell pepper, chopped and sautéed
3 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced finely
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons minced yarrow leaves
4 teaspoons minced parsley
4 anchovy filets, chopped
Fresh parmesan for sprinkling on top
This will make enough sauce to drizzle over four helpings of penne pasta. Sprinkle generously with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Simple and delicious!
If nothing else, when you see some yarrow this week, stop to admire its beauty and experience its unique, pungent aroma. Pluck a leaf and taste its complex flavors. Be sure to write and tell me about your experiences with foraging!