Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Other common names: Common yarrow, soldier’s woundwort, staunch weed, yarroway, devil’s plaything, herbe militaris, old man’s pepper, nose bleed plant, sanguinary, thousand-leaf, garawa
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Actions: Styptic, antimicrobial, astringent, tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, blood thinner, circulatory stimulant, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, bitter, cholagogue, anti-catarrhal, diuretic, vermifuge
Harvest: Pick in the morning as soon as the dew has dried. It is most potent right after the flowers have just opened, which can be anywhere between spring and fall depending on the zone and strain.
Part used: Aerial parts
Constituents: Salicylic acid, tannins, coumarins, flavonoids, isovaleric acid, asparagin, sterols, bitters and others.
Staunching bloodflow, healing infections, fever, toothaches, cold and flu symptoms, pain, digestive conditions, poor appetite, burns, excess phlegm, congestion, or earaches. Also used for lowering blood pressure, inducing sweating, preventing blood clots, promoting menstrual flow and assisting liver and gallbladder function by improving bile production.
Can be used as a flower essence, tea, tincture or capsules. A steam inhalation is also popular for chest colds, and it can be used to make ear drops.
Apply as a poultice directly to cuts, burns or other wounds, or use to make a wash, salve or other topical preparation. The infused or essential oil is commonly used in herbal chest rubs and liniments.
Some individuals are allergic to plants in the asteraceae family; if you are prone to hay fever from pollen, use caution taking this herb. Do not take if pregnant or nursing. Stop taking two weeks prior to undergoing surgery. Consult with a physician before taking with any medication, or if you have obstructed bile ducts, liver or kidney disease or gallstones/kidney stones.
DO NOT take with blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, aspirin, ibuprofen or others.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
Historically yarrow was carried by soldiers (often given to them by their mates) to bolster their courage and help them to return home safe. This had a practical use as it was handy to staunch bleeding of battlefield injuries. It has long been a herb associated with bravery and survival; it was even named after Achilles. In Greek mythology, the centaur Chiron taught his students how to use yarrow in medicine. The Chinese considered it to be a herb of good luck, and the dry stalks were used for I Ching divination. It also has a strong role in traditional First Nations healing, where it was chewed to ease toothaches, infused to make steam inhalations and prepared for other uses.
Yarrow helps to regulate energy flow and encourage everlasting love and faithfulness. It is all about keeping things moving and balanced, maintaining bonds and keeping spirits bold and brave even when apart from each other. It also teaches us how to close off energetically when we need to protect ourselves. The flower essence of pink yarrow is fantastic for reducing the stress of being around crowds or people who run us down. It is in this way, a shield herb.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.