Sweet Relief
Goldenrod ( Solidago ) at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Center, Kleinfeltersville, PA, 2017

Goldenrod (Solidago) at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Center, Kleinfeltersville, PA, 2017

Rain overnight and a cold front finally brought cool temperatures to our region. This afternoon I was finally able to pull many of the unwelcome weedy grasses from our flower beds and also trim back some of the unruly, overgrown plants that were crowding out re-bloomers and fall blooming plants.

I cut some goldenrod and yarrow to make tinctures and an infused honey (a first, for me). Using 100-proof vodka and fresh plant material, I first made a tincture of yarrow. This is the first time I have made anything with yarrow. Though I've used dried yarrow as medicine in the past... 

I've had great success using the flowers as a styptic - simply powdering the dried blooms and mixing with a few drops of water, the mealy concoction can be placed on a minor wound (say, a shaving accident) - and it staunches bleeding immediately. 

To make the tincture, I filled an 8 oz. jelly jar because I had only a small amount of plant material. The jar will be stored in a cool, dark cabinet for 8 weeks and then I will strain out the plant matter and bottle the tincture to be used for cold and flu season (it may be used to reduce fever and also relieve symptoms of sinus infections).

Next, I made an herb-infused honey using old-field goldenrod (Solidago nermoralis) and raw, local honey (collected within fewer than 20 miles of our home). While the intitial effort is super-simple - gather fresh goldenrod, fill jar, add honey - this medicine requires a little more attention if I am to avoid problems. According to April, from @SheIsOfTheWoods, I could have added a bit of vodka to my mix to prevent fermentation of the honey or, I may do a double-boiler bit after it's already been infusing for six weeks. Did I mention the burping? I may have to burp my lid!

When six weeks have passed I will strain my honey and use a double boiler to slowly cook off the water that has been released into the honey (from the plant matter). When I do that, my honey will go from having become runny back to being thick, like...honey. And this medicine, too, I plan to use during cold and flu season. I'm thinking...spoonful of honey to soothe a sore throat, spoon full of honey in a hot cup of tea...I really, really, REALLY hope I don't mess it up.

Finally, with my remaining goldenrod, I made another tincture - this one, in a 16 oz. jar. I'll probably use a little bit added to my honey (assuming it's a success) and, also...for my Benjamin's seasonal allergies in the spring. Goldenrod is also effective for urinary tract and bladder infections, neither of which occur in our family (but I thought I would mention it here, just so I have it in my notes!). ♥

Jessica Allen explores the fields and forests of Pennsylvania with her artist-husband, Michael Allen, and their son, Benjamin. She shares her observations through words and pictures of everyday magic and beauty she sees in her world.