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Yarrow: If it’s good enough for Achilles, it’s good enough for me

I know, I go on and on about the Comfrey in my products and how much of a Magical herb that it is, which of course is true. However, there are also other herbs that are also pretty magical too. And one of them is Yarrow.

Yarrow tried and tested on live Battlefields:

Yarrow’s history is equally rich – thanks to some big time celebrity sponsored marketing by a dude called ‘Achilles’.  This is reflected in Yarrow’s Botanical name; Achillea Millefolium, the first part of the name honours ‘Achilles’ who is said to have used it on the battlefield during the Trojan War to control the bleeding and heal the wounds of his soldiers.  The second part is ‘thousand of leaves’, due to the feathery amount of leaves that it has.

Rumour even has it among some, that it got its name when Achilles covered himself in Yarrow tincture all over but missed his ankle – the rest they say is legend – personally, I think this might be a good PR spin at its finest.

Nor can I imagine a warrior with the reputation of Achilles was really running around and seeing to his armies wounds.  I do imagine that he had a jolly good medical man/ herbalist along. As an ambulance, morphine shot and a plaster cast weren’t available.  A battlefield would be the perfect place to test the worthiness of a herbalist’s own character and that of his herbs.

So, I am apt to believe that Yarrow won out as the go-to herb on the battlefield, and hence carries the name of Achilles evermore – a long-lasting claim to fame.  Its nicknames are nosebleed, military herb, which also says it all.

Why it won Achilles stamp of approval:

The reason it would have been used is due ability to staunch bleeding rapidly making it a great garden bandaid. This is due to its complex chemical components two of which are achilletine and achilleine which makes the blood coagulate and speeds up the healing of wounds. It is also said to be antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic, three other qualities that would come in handy if you’d had your arm cut off in battle.

As good Ole’ Culpeper says “Ointment of the leaves cures wounds, and is good for inflammation, ulcers, fistulas and all such runnings as abound with moisture.”

It’s also been known to calm down the skin, and great for rash, itchiness and dry skin. And it can be used internally to bring down a fever, allergies, sinus issues, to calm menstrual bleeding, stomach issues and better circulation.

Pretty magic, if you ask me, which is why I choose to use it in supporting Comfrey to create the base that I use for my products. I figure if it’s good enough for Achilles and his armies it’s good enough for me.

Shepherds Alchemy Comfrey Products

Shepherds Alchemy Comfrey Products

You can find the Yarrow in the Shepherds Alchemy Product Range:

Wayfarers Magic: Comfrey Ointment
Sadhu Rose: Rose + Comfrey Ointment
Bedouin’s Charm: Comfrey + Coconut + Grapefruit Body/ Bath oil
Eternal Serenity: Comfrey + Argan + Hemp Face Oil

“This is my first time using a body oil and I LOVE IT. It is a treat to the body and senses -- feels great on the skin and smells delicious. As it is important to know what I'm applying on my skin and then washing out into the environment, this body oil is made of natural ingredients and I appreciate that. I look forward to pampering my skin daily now after a shower. Thanks, Michelle”.

Juanita

Resources used:

www.herbwisdom.com
Rodale’s 21st-Century Herbal: A Practical Guide for Healthy Living Using Nature’s Most Powerful Plants
Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments
Culpeper’s Complete Herbal: Over 400 Herbs and Their Uses

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More good news about Comfrey

comfreyLet’s be honest there can never be enough good said about this most humble of plants, however I am always thrilled to read and share good news that I find. And this latest one that I stumbled upon is from the Online Chiropractic community website, and it shares some great research results.

Before I get onto that I will add, that I personally believe that while I am not at all a fan of big pharma the fact that Merck has added comfrey into its back pain remedy cream after, this in turn has lead to further research especially in Germany the home of Merck.  Of course I wish educational/ research centres would do more study of the benefits of plants, especially whole plants – however the funding at this point isn’t there to do so. I am appreciative though that right now there are people out there studying up on Comfrey – and even more appreciative that it’s being recommended as a healthy (side effect free) remedy to  Chiropractors, to assist in the healing and relief of their patients. As the article, written by Holly Lucille, which can be found here states:

Why Topical comfrey deserves a spot in your chiropractic practice:

Aside from soothing inflammation, comfrey treats many conditions life can throw your way, including open wounds, muscle pain, and knee and ankle sprains and strains.

Topical comfrey in practice

In a controlled, double-blind, randomised, multi-center study after using comfrey, patients suffering from acute ankle sprain and pain saw a 50- percent reduction of pain in just three days.

In another study, bruised and sprained knees were treated with Trauma comfrey cream within 12 hours of the injury. Intensive treatment with comfrey and gauze wrapping was performed for four days. By that stage, pain and swelling had dropped considerably. At day seven, no patients reported any knee pain while at rest, and most were completely pain-free by day 10. All were pain free by day 14.

None of the patients noted any reddening, itching, or dry skin. The study author noted that the quick drop in pain levels allowed the patients to move their knees sooner, diminishing the possibility of further muscle damage due to immobility.

Trauma comfrey has also been tested for safety with children. In a German study, 386 children between the ages of 3 and 12 who had suffered bruises, sprains, strains, and muscle pain from playing sports were treated with Trauma comfrey. It was found to be effective for 90 percent of participants and, importantly, there were no adverse reactions or effects reported.

Healing compounds

Why does it work so well? There are three compounds that provide major healing power in this type of comfrey: allantoin, choline, and rosamarinic acid. Each one facilitates the healing process in its own way.

Allantoin boosts the rebuilding of cells and regenerates damaged tissue.

Choline helps injured blood vessels and nerve endings recover faster.

Rosmarinic acid fights inflammation and reduces cell damage.

For more information, studies and side notes please go to the original article that can be found here:

Why topical comfrey deserves a spot in your chiropractic practice

Comfrey Ointment

Wayfarers Magic: Comfrey Ointment

Ah, I love Comfrey – don’t you!  what a great article, and I do wish that more chiropractors or physiotherapists would look to natural solutions to provide relief and a speedier recovery… Natural herbs, with no side effects are out there, available and ready to be of service to us, all we need to do is ask.

If you are interested in my Comfrey Ointment: Wayfarers Magic – made using all organic and natural ingredients, you can find it in my shop here.

 

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Daily Herbal Habit #1, Yerba Mate

mateleaf

Yerba Mate Plant

I don’t just use herbs in my Shepherd’s Alchemy products; I also have a range of herbs that I use daily for good health that I’d like to share.

These are herbs and health tips that picked up from my wanderings around the globe that I’ve integrated into my daily habits and rituals.  Not everything turns into a habit, sometimes I try something and it doesn’t really do it for me, so I drop it.  I continually redefine my healthy herbal habits – using what works best for me.

One of my favourite herbal habits is one that I picked up in Argentina. ‘Yerba mate’ the ‘drink of the gods’ named so as apparently a white bearded foreigner /god (perhaps the same Quezequatal who introduced other Ancient South American civilisations to Pyramids and sky charts) introduced them to Yerba mater and taught them how to chop, dry and drink this tea.  He told them it would quell hungry and allow them to work all day. And hence it is both a great ritual in the way you drink it, a special gourd, as well as a great health tonic.

It has a great list of benefits:

  • Increases Energy
  • Mental Stimulant: Keeps you alert and mentally agile
  • Decreases Appetite/ great for weight management
  • Laxative/ keeps you regular
  • Antioxidant
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Lowers the bad Cholesterol
  • Fights Cancerous cells
  • Boosts the immune System
  • Full of vitamins: A. C, E, B-1, B-2 and B

While it’s an acquired taste due to its bitterness, I love it.  Even the ritual of drinking it out of a gourd, which gets me some strange glances here in Australia.  Of course, in Argentina and Uruguay, it’s the order of the day. In Southern Latin America, it also has a real social aspect,  you’ll often find people in parks, beaches or even while visiting friends sharing a yerba mate with some lively banter.

Yerba_mateYet the benefits exist no matter how, where or with whom you drink it, I see most health food shops even sell it in tea bags now, which makes it more convenient.  I highly recommend you give it a try.

I personally buy it from Chili Mojo, a store local in Adelaide, who specialise in some of the best sauces and Latin food you can find in Australia.  If in Australia, this is the best online shop to buy it in.

From Gaucho Gourmet: The Plant is called Yerba Mate (flex paraguariensis) and is an member of the holly family. And is classified as aromatic, stimulant, bitter, aperient (laxative), astringent, diuretic, purgative, sudorific (sweat inducing), and febrifuge (fever reducing). It also contains  carotene, vitamins A. C, E, B-1, B-2 and B-complex, riboflavin; nicotinic acid; pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium; calcium; iron; sodium; potassium; manganese, silicon, phosphates, sulfur; hydrochloric acid, chlorophyll, choline, and inositol. In 1964 one group of from the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society said that Mate contains practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.

Sources & Further Reading:
Gaucho Gourmet
Be Brain Fit