Yarrow – Achillea millefolium L., Asteraceae
My friend the botanist Antun, a professor at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb and in my opinion one of our best botanists, discreetly told me that yarrow is not one species, but a whole series of species. Serves me right- whenever I think I know a little bit of botany, I see how layered knowledge about plants is. These species differ in the number of chromosomes, but I doubt anyone counts the chromosomes in the meadow. But you will see differences in the colour of the flowers. Yarrow is dominated by white flowers, but it is also found with beautiful pink flowers. All of these types are medicinal, so you can pick any. In phytotherapy, for teas and tinctures, the green part (aboveground part) of the plant is used, but for macerate we will pick the flowers. In Croatia, it is also called “brigand’s grass” (hajdučka trava), named after the brigands who used yarrow powder to stop bleeding and heal wounds. In modern phytotherapy, yarrow is used as an anti-inflammatory herb, similar to chamomile or St. John’s wort.
Yarrow flowering time begins as early as April and lasts until the end of July, sometimes longer in the highlands. Harvest yarrow flowers and dry them in a thin layer for a week. If the yarrow is moist, the macerate can mould very quickly and your work is for nothing. When dry, arrange it in a glass jar, pour over the oil so that the oil is a finger above the dried flowers. It is macerated with gentle stirring for 3-4 weeks, and like marigold, it should be in warm room but not direct sunlight. It can be macerated in any oil, from sunflower to almond. If you use yarrow macerate for fine cosmetics, my suggestion is the following- use baobab oil or Inca nut (sacha inchi) oil. The combination may be a little unusual, but you will get a macerate that is great for dry skin, nourishes and regenerates. Be sure to add vitamin E and CO2 rosemary extract to the oil. The smell of yarrow macerate is deep and pleasant.
Yarrow macerate, in addition to regenerating the skin, is also used to care for inflamed skin, for example in atopic dermatitis, but also for inflammation and pain in deeper tissue (muscles, joints), and thus resembles the macerate of St. John’s wort, arnica and comfrey. It can be freely mixed with the above macerates.
Yarrow macerate, along with marigold macerate, is a great choice for skin care after sunbathing, as it soothes inflamed and burnt skin.
Chamomile – Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauchert, Asteraceae
Another famous and similar macerate is made from German chamomile (Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauchert) and Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis L.). German chamomile is available in Croatia, but to find Roman chamomile you will have to cross the borders of Croatia. They have different scent, but similar action, and are used as yarrow macerate. Do not make macerate from fresh flowers, because during maceration mould tends to develop. Always dry the flowers before maceration.