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ORRIN MORRIS: Yarrow used to treat stomach, liver problems

Matthew 13 tells of a large crowd that assembled by the Sea of Galilee to hear Jesus speak. After His discourse, His disciples asked why He used parables. He explained it with these words (v. 15): "For the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear..."Could our generation understand His truths any better than they did 2,000 years ago? Has there been a dumbing down of society?

Has it occurred in education in favor of school spirit and winning teams? Has it occurred in politics where party loyalty takes precedence over the well-being of citizens?

Has it occurred in the many facets of entertainment whereby one can stay insulated from reality, the same as a drug addict or alcoholic?

Has the church done any better when activities have to be immersed in a climate of entertainment?

Jesus' explanation, above, ended with His desire to "heal them." I believe it is still His desire to heal all who will listen and see their need for redemption -- redemption from guilt that drives one toward destructive escapist activities.

God created life to be good and when it got messed up, He sent His Son to provide redemption for free (John 3:16-17).COMMON YARROW

Achillea millefoliumA casual glance might cause one to assume a clump of common yarrow to be a small version of Queen Anne's lace. Both have white blooms that cluster in an umbrella-shaped structure. That is where the similarity ends.

Yarrow has very lacy leaves that alternate up the 1- to 3-foot tall stem. The lower leaves may measure 8 inches long while those below the blooms are only 2 inches.

Yarrow is in the composite family, therefore the blooms are disc flowers measuring about -inch diameter. Actually the five petals are rays and the true flowers are the cup-shaped florets in the middle, as illustrated.

Common yarrow is also known as milfoil. It has a delightful aroma and may be found in all kinds of habitats; however, it is not widespread like Queen Anne's lace. It may be found any time between June and late summer.

This wildflower has an interesting medicinal history involving at least 15 American Indian tribes, according to Jack Sanders' "Hedgemaids and Fairy Candles." During Colonial times, Yarrow was used by both Indians and immigrants to treat lacerations and as treatment for influenza and common colds.

Herbalists still recommend it for a tonic. The tea has a long history for treating stomach and liver problems. Fresh juice from the plant has been used externally and internally to control several types of bleeding, including nosebleed. However, overuse may cause skin problems, according to John Lust's "The Herb Book."

As always, a word caution is advised in use of plants due to the possible change in concentration of beneficial and harmful elements caused by extended drought.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com or call him at 770-929-3697.