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Yarrow

Yarrow, Gordaldo, Milfoil, Old Man's Pepper, Soldier's Woundwort, Knight's Milfoil, Thousand-Leaf, Nose Bleed Plant, Devil's Nettle, Carpenter's Weed, Thousand-Seal, Bloodwort, Sanguinary

Alchemilla millefolium

The name Yarrow is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon name for the plant - gearwe; the Dutch, yerw. In the botanical name, "Achillea" is believed to have originated from Achilles of Greek mythology, which was fabled to have had his injuries treated topically with this aromatic plant. It was called by the Ancients, the Herba Militaris, the military herb.

yarrow herbal remedies
Yarrow herb
Alchemilla millefolium

The name Yarrow is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon name for the plant "gearwe" and the Dutch, "yerw". The botanical name, "Achillea" is believed to have originated from Achilles of Greek mythology, who was fabled to have had his injuries treated topically with the aromatic yarrow plant. It was called by the Ancients, the Herba Militaris, the military herb.

Yarrow is a single stemmed plant that can reach heights of up to 20 inches tall. The plant is stringy and course, delicately cut, reminiscent of a fern, and dark-green, giving the foliage a feathery look. Its bloom cycle is generally May thru August and the blossoms are plentiful and petite. You can use the stems, leaves, and flowers fresh or dry the aromatic plant as a seasoning (it has a very strong sage like taste) and for medicinal use.

This plant is a perennial herb and it is indigenous to Europe and Asia and has been established in the Americas and is now recognized to have a habitat all around the globe. It is found growing and flourishing in waste lands, countryside, meadows, and pastures, edges of the railway tracks, along the highways and in various additional places. Yarrow is effortlessly cultivated and can and will tolerate even in the most deprived soil conditions. Additionally it is a very good cohort plant that improves the physical conditions for any plants within the vicinity as it develops the soil's richness. Yarrow can increase their essential oil content therefore making them more resistant to pest infestations.

In some legends; this plant is thought to have been devoted to the "Evil One" thus from time to time being called the "Devil's Nettle", "Devils Plaything", "Bad Man's Plaything" and it has been used in many divinations and enchantments.

When employed as snuff and because of the pungency of its foliage it has been called Old Man's Pepper. Both flowers and leaves have a pungent, bitter, astringent, taste.

Medicinal Use

The yarrow plant is extremely practical as an herbal medication and very flexible in that various parts of the plant can be used for healing different disorders. The herb's flowers, leaves, essential oil, and aerial parts are all useful in some way.

Yarrow (Alchemilla millefolium) composite drawing
Yarrow is very flexible and
extremely practical as an herbal medication

For therapeutic use, Yarrow is priceless. There is a great deal of scientific verification of its use in alternative medicines. It is used as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, stimulant, and tonics, vasodilator and vulnerary. It has been used to help control colds, cramps, fevers, kidney disorders, toothaches, skin irritations, and hemorrhages, menses, stimulate the flow of bile, and purify the blood.

Medicinally, a tea is good for severe colds and flu, for stomach ulcers, amenorrhea, abdominal cramps, abscesses, trauma and bleeding, and to reduce inflammation. The main elements are the volatile oils which include linalool, camphor, sabinene, chamazulene.

Many herbal medicine practitioners recommend yarrow use to alleviate hay fever symptoms and similar allergies.

Yarrow is used for treating wounds, cuts, and abrasions. As a vulnerary, the Nose Bleed Plant is great for bringing to a halt blood flow as its old names of Soldier's Wound Wort and Knight's Milfoil exemplify and the Highlanders still make an ointment from it to apply to wounds. Containing anti-inflammatory and antiseptic oils as well as astringent tannins, Yarrow's resins possess astringent properties, whereas the silica helps in refurbishing injured or worn out tissues in the body.

A word to the wise here is that Yarrow when used over long periods of time may cause your skin to be more photosensitive (extra sensitive to sunlight).

The essential oil is dark blue in color, and produced by steam extraction, and is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory or as a chest rub for colds and influenza infections. Combine Yarrow oil with eucalyptus, peppermint, hyssop, or thyme oil and almond oil or sunflower oil.

To make massage oil for aggravated muscles and joints; thin 5-10 drops of Yarrow oil with 25 milliliters of St. John's wort oil. Massage this mixture into aching muscles and joints. This aromatic, bitter, astringent herb is also good for the circulatory system and helps in healing varicose veins, hemorrhoids, phlebitis (inflammation of superficial veins that results in pain) and thrombosis. Yarrow is also valuable in removing heat and toxins from the system through amplification of perspiration. Its antispasmodic behaviors are used to diminish inflammation, encourage perspiration and ease indigestion. It acts as a diuretic, lowering blood pressure, relaxing spasms and arresting hemorrhage. The root's purple section, of the white Yarrow, was used by Native American's if they had an aching tooth or open sores in the mouth. They would merely chew on that part of the root.

Other Uses

  • Adds color to a garden border. The flat heads add contrast to mounding or spiky plants
  • Use fresh in flower arrangements
  • Make attractive dried flowers To dry the flowers, cut them at their peak before they start to fade and hang them head-down in clusters of six to 12 in a dry, airy place out of the sun.
  • Fragrant addition to potpourri