Wild Crafting the Herbs of the High Country.

Wild Crafting the Herbs of the High Country.

Teresa McHugh- Student Article


When I first signed up for the Heart of Herbs Herbal Skin care programSt. John's Wort little did I know just what a wealth of knowledge I would receive.  Having lived in the high country as it is known of Washington State for many years it had always been on my wish list to learn the medicinal qualities of the herbs which beautified the landscape every year.  I especially wanted to learn how to make an all natural healing salve and liniment for my endurance horses.  Some of the commercial concoctions in the feed stores claiming to heal wounds are so toxic that you need protective gloves to administer them.

Through trial and error I learnt that by combining such tried and true domesticated healing herbs such as comfrey root with the local wild medicinals I could formulate a healing salve which was fast acting and effective yet completely safe for man and beast.  I am so fortunate to live in the high desert, where the hills are literally a vast flower garden and treasure trove of medicinal plants in summertime.  From the humble but prolific Plantain which the Indians called “white man’s footsteps” as it seemed to go ahead of the settlers and was a sure indication of white presence in the area, the land is alive with the brilliant splashes of color from Arnica, Yarrow, Mullein, Bitteroot, Mugwort, red clover and so many more.

I learnt that an Arnica and Yarrow liniment will cool and relax tired muscles and tendons as effectively as any commercial product and that Comfrey root oil will clear up everything from heat rashes to skin infections.  From the Heart of Herbs workbook I began experimenting with recipes for everything from insect repellent to body bars.  By now I am intimate terms with beeswax and have created a range of items from salves, massage and body butters to tinctures.  My favorite is a spring tonic made from Dandelion leaf and root and Echinacea.

However, I am still a big fan of my healing salve and hope to promote it commercially.  Just the other day, one of my dogs came home with a bite on the side of her face probably from a coyote.  Out came the healing salve and within a day the swelling had gone down and the wound was scabbing over nicely.

I look forward to another spring of wild crafting from the abundance of local herbal offerings and helping others access natural and safe healing remedies.


Want to become an Herbalist or Aromatherapist? Visit www.heartofherbs.com

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