Yarrow: Achillea millefolium
(staunch weed / woundwort / soldiers weed / nose bleed)
Family: Asteraceae (Aster)
Parts used: flowers, leaves, roots
Fast forward many years and Yarrow enters my life again in the form of a potent healer during bloody moments. I have watched Yarrow leaves be stuffed into
nasty wounds to stop major bleeding, I’ve seen it put up a child’s nose to calm a nosebleed. I have used yarrow as a disinfectant tea to wash injuries and skin rashes, I’ve made healing green salves with it for cuts and grazes and a powerful tincture to keep mosquitos away. I met a wise woman who showed me how it can be used with great success for helping slow down a heavy menstrual flow and also help to regulate a women’s cycle.
The usefulness of this plant blew me away, I’ve never stop being awed by all the many wild beauties that grow in the untamed spaces and forgotten dingly dells. Like many of her wild sisters she is good medicine.
Yarrow has antiseptic properties that can keep a wound clean and keep infections at bay. It can also be used to relieve pain associated with wounds as it contains salicylic acid, which is a pain reliever (used in aspirin) and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Yarrow is one of the herbs I use a lot for children. It is helpful in bringing relief to fevers, cold and flu. Helping improve relaxation for cramps and during illness. Applied to the skin, it is helpful with itching, eczema, rashes, sores, wounds and bites.
The different ways in which I use Yarrow are:
As a medicine
Mixed with Chamomile and Mint when coldy fluey
In a sleep inducing tincture
As a tincture to help menstrual cramps and hormone issues (not during pregnancy)
Added to skin salves and oils for dry skin and eczema
Made into a poultice or salve for wounds
As a tincture applied to the skin to stop mosquitos biting me.
As a food
I put the young leaves into salad
I put it in my morning smoothie
add it to hot and cold foods
It is a bitter green but we all need more bitters in our lives, as bitters will help the gut to digest other foods.
Try and go out and look at this plant, I bet you can find some of her leaves in your lawn or in the park or meadow. The stronger her smell the more potent her medicine.
Do not use during pregnancy. Very rarely some people will develop a rash from touching the fresh plant. Should be avoided by those with allergies to ragweed.
Yarrow can be bought in dried form or tincture from reputable places such as Neal’s Yard or other health food shops. Remember if you want to forage for her, be aware of not taking too much and also only pick her if you are absolutely sure it is yarrow, that you can swear on all that is dear to you that it is Yarrow, that you know it is her by the smell, the sight, the feel, gut instinct and researched wisdom. If you are unsure, wait until you can find someone who knows that can teach you.