Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow)
Yarrow, also called Soldiers Wound Wort has been in use since ancient Greece. Its name derives from Achilles who was rumored to use it on his soldiers to stop bleeding on the battlefield. Yarrow was also used on the battlefield during the Civil War especially when supplies were sparse. Yarrow comes in a variety of colors including, white, yellow, red, pink and orange. Yarrow was used by Native Americans for a variety of issues all across the US.
A tea made with yarrow is good to tread common colds and is said to help expel wastes through the pores. Mainly given as a blood purifier. Macerated and applied to wounds it can stop bleeding, and act as an antibacterial agent. Yarrow has been used for fever, common cold, hay fever, absence of menstruation, dysentery, diarrhea, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal (GI) tract discomfort, and to induce sweating.
Parts to use
Stems, leaves and flowers, collected in the wild state, in August, when in flower.
How to use
Raw – Some people have found chewing the leaves will help alleviate a toothache. The flowers and young leaves can be added to salads.
Tea – Yarrow as a tea can help purify the blood and expel wastes through the pores.
Salve -Ointment – Highlanders of Scotland use a yarrow ointment on sheep for wound care
Macerated – taken in the field, macerate (chew, crush, grind) the leaves and apply directly on wounds to stop bleeding and reduce infection.
Bath – To stop bleeding of hemorrhoids, wounds, to alleviate cramps a bath using the macerated leaves or tincture from leaves.
Flavor additive – prior to using hops, yarrow was used to flavor beer. It was said that yarrow made the beer more potent.
Tincture – Alcohol (vodka) a tincture can be made to extract essential oils rather than drying the herb for later use.
Yarrow is a perennial here in the Midwest. It will self seed if allowed to. It prefers full sun and well drained soil but does well in many unfavorable conditions. It is a drought tolerant plant. Yarrow is a good companion plant as it attracts predatory wasps who prey on other pest insects as well as it attracts ladybugs and hoverflies.
Light is the enemy of medicinal herbs. Dried leaves, stems, and flowers should be stored in paper bag out of light. Tinctures should be stored in a dark glass container away from light. Sunlight is the worst as the UV will break down the compounds that are beneficial
Want to learn more come check out our herb class on August 23