Yarrow | Materia Medica and Folklore


There are so many herbs, that I absolutely love, but I think Yarrow might be my favorite. I feel a strong connection! When I was in school Yarrow was one of the first herbs that I learned


about. I learned about its diaphoretic actions and its ability to stop nose bleeds. I was hooked!


One of my biggest goals is to learn how to forage wild medicinal plants and to be able to live off the land. This year has taught me many things and one of them is you really don’t know what the future holds for us. A year ago could you even imagine where we are today? Wearing masks, being quarantined and all the other crazy things happening. Hopefully, I won’t ever HAVE to live off the land, but this is knowledge that I can pass down to my future grandchildren and they can pass it on to theirs.


So, I am wanting to learn how to forage, but I am nervous. There are how many plants out there? I want to make sure I am harvesting the correct plants. To me, Yarrow and Hemlock look similar. Hemlock is poisonous. Yikes, I don’t want to confuse the two. So it is really important to 100% know what you are harvesting.


So I decided that I am going to start going to nurseries and buy plants and really get to know them. I recently found a local nursery that sells medicinal plants. The first time I went, I walked in and the very first plant I spot is Yarrow and she was in the middle of the nursery!


I was so excited, I brought her home and got to know her and now I am sharing all the information I discovered.



Names:


Latin Name: Achillia millefolium

Family: Asteraceae

Common Names: Milfoil, thousand leaf, bloodwort, old man’s pepper, and nosebleeds.


Achillia after the Greek warrior god Achilles and millefolium means “a thousand leaves” in Latin.


Visual:


Yarrow has a long a skinny stem that can get to 2 to 3 feet tall. She has dainty, tiny flowers that are normally white but can be pink or yellow. These flowers make an umbrella shape. The leaves are dark ish green and they remind me of feathers, some people say they look like lace.


Touch:


The steam is smooth and even though it is long and skinny, it’s pretty tough. It is not hollow. The leaves are soft but coarse at the same time. They also had a slight grippy feeling.


Smell:


The flowers smell so good. I believe they smell similar to chamomile and to me, they have a sweet honey smell to them. The leaves don’t have much of a smell to them. Maybe a hint of the same smell grass has.


Taste:


The flower taste is strong, bitter, and floral. The leaf taste is very bitter and slightly tangy.


Environment:


Yarrow is a native plant to the Northern Hemisphere, Europe, Asia, and North America. It can grow just about anywhere from sea level to 11,500 in elevation. Yarrow can be seen in many different places, for example seashore, high desert, fields, and cities. Yarrow is a perennial plant that grows happily in the sun and shade and regular garden soil.


When harvesting, it is best to harvest before the flowers passed their best state. If you decide to dry them, dry in the shade or hang upside down. Never dry in artificial heat.


Parts Used:


Leaves and flowers.


Therapeutic Properties:


Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hemostatic, hepatic, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, styptic, and vulnerary.



Medicinal Uses:


The first medicinal use I learned about with Yarrow is its diaphoretic properties. Diaphoretic herbs promote perspiration. Most medications out there attempt to stop the fever. Yarrow opens the pores and to attempts to push out whatever is causing the fever. This only works when Yarrow is steeped and drank in hot tea.


Yarrow is also a blood regulator. This medicinal use is like magic to me! If you are prone to nosebleeds, having Yarrow will come in handy. My son gets nosebleeds sometimes. A couple of years ago, he got one. I took some dried Yarrow I had and ground it up in a coffee grinder and had him put some of the Yarrow powder in his nose and his nosebleed stopped instantly.


This summer my family and I went to Sequoia National Park. While wearing shorts, I was walking around one of the beautiful gigantic trees and I step on a stick just right, that twirled and cut my calf. It was bleeding pretty good. I thankfully brought my Herbal First Aid Kit, and I had powdered Yarrow in it. So I washed up my leg with water and then rubbed some of the powered Yarrow and to be honest it didn’t completely stop the bleeding, but it definitely slowed it way down. It also healed pretty quickly. So Yarrow is great for wounds and also old bruises.


If you are delayed with your menstrual cycle you can take Yarrow and it will help promote the blood.


Menstrual cramps tend to be from the uterus hanging too tight to the tissue that it’s supposed to let go of. Yarrow can help the uterus let go.


Also because it’s a blood regulator, it’s really good for high blood pressure.


Yarrow is a bitter, which is great for the digestive system. It gets all the juices and acid moving. This helps with bloat and gas.




Energetics:


Yarrow is considered to be cooling and drying.


Organ Affinity:


Circulatory system, digestive system, reproductive system (especially the uterus), immune system, respiratory system, and urinary system.


Uses:


Yarrow can be used in teas, tinctures, powders and essential oil.


Dosage:


All three to four times a day:

Tea: 1 cup

Essential Oil: 2 to 4 drops

Powder: ¼ to ½ teaspoon

Tincture: 2 teaspoons


Shouldn’t be used everyday for a long period of time. You will know you have taken too much if you have blood in your urine.


Precautions:


Yarrow has no known interaction with any drugs. Yarrow shouldn't be taken when you are pregnant or breastfeeding



Folklore:


Yarrow’s Latin name Achillia is after the Greek warrior god Achilles. It is said that Chiron who was a healer, taught Achilles how to use the herb. Achilles bathed in Yarrow to protect him and used Yarrow to help treat his soldiers on the battle field.


It is said that is used for both the wounded warrior and the wounded healer.


Magickal Uses:


Yarrow is believed that if you hold in your hand it can make your courageous. Carrying Yarrow can help attract not only a love, but friendships. Hang Yarrow above a couples bed and their marriage is believed to last at least 7 years. Drinking tea made of Yarrow flowers can improve physic abilities.


Astroherbalism:


Gender: Feminine

Element: Water

Planetary Ruler: Venus

Co Planet: Mars


Appearance wise, Yarrow is definitely ruled by Venus. She is beautiful, delicate and elegant. Venus people tend to have damp and relaxant tissue state. Venus plants like Yarrow has astringent properties to help tighten the tissues.


She can help cool down the Mars ailments. People with a lot of Mars in their chart tend to have a lot of heat and inflammation. Venus plants like Yarrow can help cool and combat the inflammation.


With Yarrow being a blood regulator and Mars ruling the blood, there are some Mars properties in Yarrow...but then again Venus is all about harmonizing and Yarrow harmonizes the blood.


Venus and Mars work as a great team when it comes to Yarrow.



As you can see Yarrow is an extraordinary plant. Definitely a favorite of mine! Someday I hope to write a part 2 on Yarrow, because I know I have left out so much with it come to this beautiful plant.






References


Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Popham, S. (2019). Evolutionary herbalism: Science, medicine, and spirituality from the heart of nature. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.


Nock, J. A. (2019). The modern witchcraft guide to magickal herbs: Your complete guide to the hidden powers of herbs. New York: Adams Media.

Cunningham, S. (2016). Cunningham's Encyclopedia of magical herbs. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

Wood, M. (1998). The book of herbal wisdom: Using plants as medicine. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.


© 2021 Stacie Younger