Recently I’ve been viewing our entire property as a growing space. There are little plants popping up in the grass, the gravel and the wood chips. There’s something green everywhere.

Up until recently, I didn’t pay much attention to what any of it was. It all fell into the “weed” category, or sometimes the “pretty weed” category.

But I started learning more about medicinal herbs, and quickly discovered that many of them “follow” humans. Yarrow, plantain, dandelion, blackberry. I was stunned to find out that our backyard is a literal pharmacy–full of pain killers, astringents, anti-parasitics, diuretics, laxatives, antibacterials, antifungals, sedatives, carminatives, and anti-inflammatories. All within an itty-bitty plot of land and all in rich abundance.

Yesterday I accidentally squeezed a little part of my thumb in between the pinching part of a nutcracker. (Don’t ask.) It not only broke the skin, but took a 1mm x 2mm chunk out of it. I quickly washed it off, but blood kept coming out. I ran outside to a clean patch of yarrow leaves, smashed them between my fingers to create a spitless poultice (because mouth bacteria, eww!) and jammed the dark green, leafy paste into the bloody hole in my thumb. The bleeding stopped and the pain never came. I was waiting the rest of the day for the throbbing that typically accompanies deep cuts–but it never came!

So there’s my first real experience with backyard pharmaceuticals. They work. Some of them may take days or weeks to take full effect, but using yarrow to stop bleeding was instantaneous and miraculous.