Gathering herbs. The time is now and I'm spending dry mornings before wind and heat arise gathering the herbs I will dry for tea, potpourris, fragrance, and cooking; to tincture in alcohol (vodka or brandy) for medicinal use; or infuse (as strong teas, or into oil for pain relief, healing scrapes, bites, and bruises, and for skin-nurturing moisturizers.
Lavender is used in potpourris, tea, and as a flavoring for desserts. It soothes digestive woes, too. So now is the time to gather it while it's in bloom. I snip the stems and pile them onto an old cookie sheet. Once inside the house I tie the lavender into bundles to hang from the ceiling of my bedroom. From my headboard. I love the scent of lavender as I'm falling asleep. This is the only herb dried in my bedroom - all others occupy the kitchen.
Later, after the lavender has dried I'll strip the lavender buds from the stems and store them in a jar for a variety of uses. It makes a nice potpourri all by itself in a pretty dish.
Ready now is white yarrow. Yellow yarrow - several varieties - brighten the Cottage's gardens and indoor bouquets. But white yarrow is gathered, hung and dried, used for its medicine. Its healing powers.
Yarrow grows wild in many mountain areas. I've seen it in California's Sierras and in the mountains and meadows of Utah. I'm sure it grows in most places in the USA, Europe, and parts of Asia.
This wild, white kind knits itself among the other plants in the garden. Spreading. Slowly overtaking. It looks delicate but is determined to make space for itself by gradually nudging, surrounding, supplanting.
Medicinally, it aids in suppressing runny noses, tearing, and sneezing of hay fever, colds, and flu. For this, I combine it with Brigham tea, peppermint blossoms, and elder flowers with a squeeze of lemon and honey.
Brewed and infused, yarrow is a soothing, purifying wash for cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and wounds. It tones veins - strengthening existing varicose veins and helping prevent future ones. It lowers high blood pressure. Yarrow ointment staunches blood from shaving, scrapes, and cuts. Bloody noses, too.
Right now. Lavender and yarrow are ready in the gardens. And, so I'm gathering...