Wooly lamb’s ear is harvested at various stages of development, which should be based on its intended purpose. Plucked from the ground, leaves can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator or other cool container for a few days at the most. In most cases, leaves of any size are fine to use. At the end of the long-growing season, leaves can be dried for use in the winter months.
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Wooly lamb’s ear has historically been used for a wide variety of purposes.
The soft, fuzzy leaf of the wooly lamb’s ear plant is an excellent substitute for a bandage. Hunters and soldiers refer to the plant as “woundwort” and have used the leaves as field dressing for years with great success. Each leaf is antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, thus reducing the risk of infection.
Furthermore, it readily absorbs blood and assists in the blood-clotting process. It is also safe to use on children and most livestock. These leaves are often used in conjunction with comfrey leaves to dress wounds.
Because of its unique texture and absorbent nature, in addition to its anti-bacterial properties, lamb’s ear makes a great emergency substitute for several personal hygiene products. When the stockpile runs out, wooly lamb’s ear leaves can be used as toilet paper. In the past, the leaves also were used for feminine hygiene needs, including use as an aid following childbirth.
A crushed or bruised leaf will release a clear juice that relieves insect bites, spider bites and bee and wasp stings. When applied to the affected area, the juice will reduce swelling and inflammation and calm the itch from the bite or sting. The juice is also useful for treating inflammatory conditions such as hemorrhoids.
Steeping the leaves creates an antibacterial, antiseptic wash that can be used to bathe wounds. Additionally, wooly lamb’s ear is useful for soaking traditional bandages to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. A mild or diluted wash can be used as an eye wash that is useful for treating pinkeye and sties.
Harvest young, tender leaves for drying. Consuming tea made from dried, young wooly lamb’s ear leaves reduces pain and fevers. It speeds the recovery of sore throats and mouth sores as well as slows diarrhea. Historically, tea made from wooly lamb’s ear was used to strengthen weakened heart conditions and also thought to stop internal bleeding.
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