The U.S. Department of Agriculture divides the U.S. into eleven growing zones. These are determined by weather patterns, and this system helps gardeners identify plants that grow well in their region. Zone 7 has a moderately long growing season that lasts about eight months, with an annual low temperature of about 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The first frost is around November 15th, and the last frost is around April 15th.

When choosing herbs for zone 7, if a perennial herb that isn’t suited to zone 7 is desired, grow it in a container and then bring it indoors over the winter. If the difference is minor, between zones a and b, plant the herb in a protected area, in an alcove, or between a solid fence and a building. If this isn’t possible, mulch heavily around the plant in the fall and the plant may make it through the winter.

PLANT PROFILE: YARROW (Achillea millefolium):

Yarrow is a native North American plant that is loved by pollinators, and is very low maintenance. This makes it perfect for borders, ground covers, and open meadows. Yarrow is a hardy perennial that has showy flower heads composed of tiny and tightly-packed flowers rising above clusters of fern-like foliage. The flowers may be white, yellow, red, or pink. Yarrow is pest and drought resistant, aromatic, and loaded with healing properties. In Zone 7, plant Yarrow in the spring or early summer after the danger of frost has passed, in full sun and well-drained soil. It thrives in hot, dry conditions, and will not tolerate soil that is constantly wet. Plant Yarrow 12 to 15 inches deep, and 1 to 2 feet apart. Divide the plants every 3 to 5 years to sustain healthy plants.

Yarrow has the ability to stop wound bleeding, reduce pain and infection, and it is a powerful natural remedy for fever and flu. Yarrow has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, Anticatarrhal, astringent, diaphoretic, pain relieving, and sedative properties. It can help rid the body of a dry fever when taken as a hot infusion. As a diaphoretic, it opens the pores and promotes perspiration. Sweating supports the action the body takes to expel the flu. A Yarrow infusion is most effective when taken at the onset flu symptoms. Do not take Yarrow daily for more than two weeks.

Herbs that pair well with yarrow for flu and fever include Eucalyptus, as a steam bath to open airways and relieve sinus congestion, Mint & Elderflower, as a flu relief tea to break high fevers and promote sweating, Mullein, to promote coughing and break up mucus, and Goldenseal, as a tea or tincture to relieve allergy-related sinus issues.

Yarrow Cold & Flu Tea Recipe: HANE’s Intermediate Herbal Course: This tea recipe is a cool and dry tea blend that helps move and expel mucus from the sinuses. Always obtain herbs from a reputable sustainable source.

Ingredients: 1 teaspoon each yarrow flowers, peppermint, elderberry flowers, mullein, and calendula flowers.

Directions: Steep in 1 quart near near-boiling water for at least 20 minutes and drink hot throughout the day.

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