I make several cuttings of nettle in the spring when I'm gathering the leaves for food or tea. By the beginning of June I let it grow out and go to seed. It follows the schedule as my asparagus, and I keep picking until June. Its seeds hang down from the top of the plant like mini fruit. I've gathered the seeds when they are immature and use them as food, sprinkling them on to salad to serve as super food. Made into a tincture, they are used for problems associated with kidneys and considered to be nourishing.
Stinging Nettle is a food and medicine. When its eaten it should first be boiled for 2 minutes to take away the sting. You can stir fry it, make it into soup, put it in casseroles, even make it into a pesto. I gather the young shoots in spring and dry it for tea. This nourishing drink is high in minerals and Vitamin B. I love its earthy flavor and have even made it into a "beer" using a recipe that was hundreds of years old. It is an excellent tonic and a fun way to drink some medicine.
Its many uses include; aiding in kidney and urinary track problems, as an antihistamine which is useful for those suffering from allergies and rheumatism to name a few.
The magic of SJW is in its tight buds. When you squeeze one a red resin is released. Olive oil will turn RED when its infusing. I gather the fresh flowers and buds in mid June and make tinctures and oil from fresh plants.
The extracted oil is referred to as Hypericum Oil, this is a major player in my healing salve. It is an analgesic, excellent for burns including radiation and sunburns, cuts, scrapes, scars, numbness from injuries and surgeries. I love how it works on nerve pain. It is for external use only and not to be put on open wounds.
An alcohol extract of Saint Johns Wort is used for nerve pain and nerve damage. It is considered an anti-viral and can be taken internally.
I gather the roots of plants that are at least 3 years old and extract them into alcohol. I love it for the onset of a cold and love its numbing effects on the back of my throat. It is an immune stimulant. But mostly I love to see it blooming in the garden, the butterflies like to probe the blooms with their proboscis and the birds feast on their seeds at the end of the season.
Calendula is a very giving plant and loves to have its flowers gathered, I've seen it blooming well into December. I harvest its resinous flowers before they are fully opened and dry them immediately or toss them into a jar of oil where I let them infuse in the sunshine, turning the green olive oil into a golden yellow.
I like the tea of this as a wound wash, its gentle yet an effective antiseptic and astringent.
It is another player in my healing salve as it is a perfect for bruises, cuts, scraps, insect bites, burns, and abrasions.
I gather Arnica while hiking in the high country. Arnica montana only grows above 5000'. I infuse the flowers in oil and let them sit in the sun until its ready. Applied topically Arnica is a very effective anti-inflammatory for any impact injuries, and soreness of muscles and joints. I like to massage it into my muscles after a particularly strenuous workout or bike ride.
I gather Yarrow in the wild and dry its flowers and infuse it in oil. It is one of my go to herbs for immediate first aid. I once cut myself severely with my pruners while on the job and was bleeding profusely. I quickly gathered some yarrow leaves and chewed them and put this makeshift poultice on the wound, the bleeding stopped immediately! Yarrow is a primary styptic and is very astringent and excellent wound healer. Its is another ingredient in my healing salve.
I've planted Comfrey all over the property, especially around my fruit trees, itts long tap roots go deep in search of minerals making its leaves and roots mineral rich. The bees love the flowers and I love the one drop of sweetness I taste when eating them. I make large buckets of comfrey tea for a foliar spray for the rest of the garden as it is high in nutrients and boosts plant growth. The leaves make great mulch too, and releases these same nutrients as it breaks down, I spread them at the base of my fruit trees and shrubs..... and thats just for the garden.
Comfrey has a long history of use as a vulnerary. It helps to proliferate new cell growth. I like it as a fresh poultice on broken bones, it removes heat from the area and reduces swelling. In a salve it is soothing to the skin, great for cuts, stings, abrasions, burns, and is excellent as an anti-itch remedy.
The roots of a three year old plant are gathered and used fresh or dry in the autumn. I will harvest fresh leaves for oil infusions to be used in my healing salve.
After planting chamomile plants a few years ago, it now has free rein having seeded itself all over the property, even in the grass! I harvest it all spring and summer and then dehydrate it. I love to make an herbal steam to cleanse pores or for an illnesses to get respiratory relief. Although it is considered a gentle herb I don't underestimate it's many uses including; stomach aches, anxiety, stress. It is antibacterial, anti-spasmodic and anti inflammatory.
*The descriptions of these herbs are offered solely from my experiences in the garden and is not intended as a medical advice. Please seek an herbal practitioner for your particular needs.