Do you have Mugwort in your garden that you would like to do something productive with? Mugwort or Artemesia vulgaris or A. argyi is an easily grown herb which has many uses in Traditional Western and Chinese Herbal Medicine. The Chinese name for dried Artemesia vulgaris is Ai Ye.
This herb can be dried and stored for emergency use with strained or sprained elbows or ankles. It keeps very well. In fact this herb is aged for 2-3 years after being processed into moxa for it's primary use which is the moxibustion. Moxa is used in warming external moxabustion treatments by Acupuncturists for various injuries to move blood stagnation and speed healing. I prefer to dry my Mugwort and keep some stashed to use in case of ankle sprains or strains. I will share with you how I do that, but first you need to know when to harvest it.
I collect my Mugwort in March in Central Florida, but the time of year will vary from region to region. You should harvest Mugwort when it is in full flower. On a dry late morning or afternoon cut back the stalk and hang it to dry in a well ventilated dry place on. The Mugwort I use is a variagated variety that I got a start of from one of my favorite gardens, the Bastyr University medicinal herb garden in Seattle, Washington. Here it is up close under our digital microscope.
When your Mugwort dried to a crisp you can store it in a glass jar away from the sunlight. You can add a clay desiccant pack to the jar for good measure.
If you need it later for yourself or a friend, you can simply take up a few large handfuls and add it to a big stock pot with lots of boiling water. Let the water boil and then simmer for about 30-45 minutes.
The next step is to let the water cool just to the point that the hot water will not burn the skin. Then dip a towel into the hot water. Wring out the towel and wrap it around the sprained ankle. Let the towel sit on the ankle until it starts to cool, then dip it again in the hot brew and wrap again one or more times. When the brew cools it can be stored in the refrigerator and used again the following day by reheating on the stove top.
Don't have mugwort? You can also try this with Comfrey root or Comfrey leaf.