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Posts Tagged ‘wild herbs’

Herb harvest

Despite the atrocious weather that is blighting our poor garden, the local wildflowers are doing wonderfully well. I’ve started taking either a notebook, or a collecting bag, or my camera out with my when I walk the dog, to start recording and identifying and harvesting herbs and wildflower seeds. I’ve been amazed at how many of the “standard” medicinal and magical herbs grow in the fields & roadsides around our house:

Wild Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

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It looks just like regular cultivated chamomile without the white petals. The petals are there, if you look really closely, they’re just tiny and tucked in at the base of the flower. I’ve collected some of the flower heads and I’m drying them for use in teas.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

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Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)

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I’m going to collect some leaves and roots to try washing with it. Apparently it’s really good for delicate fabrics and also makes a gentle shampoo – I wonder how it would work on the dog?

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

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I’m very excited about this find – there’s a lot of it growing in the nearby fields, so I’ve harvested quite a bit and it’s hanging in bunches to dry from beams in the (cool, dark) basement. This could save me some money over the winter on the St. John’s Wort supplements I usually buy to treat my SAD. I’m going to try making an oil infusion, as well. I wish John Lust’s The Herb Book was a little more detailed in some of it’s instructions “…put fresh flowers and leaves in a jar and fill with olive oil. Close the jar and leave it in a sunny or warm place for 6 to 7 weeks, shaking it often.” So do I pack as much herb into the jar as I can, or loosely fill it, or just put a couple of sprigs in the jar? I guess I’ll have to experiment. 

Other herbs I’ve found growing nearby and will be collecting, but don’t have pictures of yet:

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Mullien (Verbascum phlomoides)
Sumac (either Rhus glabra, Smooth sumac or Rhus typhina, Staghorn sumac – I need to get out my tree book to check)
Wild clover (Trifolium pratense)

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