Yarrow is a member of the Asteraceae family whose origins stem from Europe and Asia and was brought to the northern regions of America and other countries. It is known by many names including Milfoil, Old Man's Pepper, Soldier's Woundwort, Bloodwort, and Nosebleed. It is ascribed to the Greek hero, Achilles who carried it into battle to treat his troops. The word stems from the Anglo-Saxon "gearwe."
One can glean some of the health benefits of this herb by the quaintness of these names. Woundwort comes from the battlefield, where yarrow grows plentifully, and soldiers would pack a wound with the leaves. We will examine some of the other uses particular to this common versatile herb. It is hard to find a place where yarrow cannot grow, spreading through a network of rhizomes. It likes a sunny spot in well-drained soil and therefore it is readily found growing alongside railroad tracks, roadways, and in open fields.
Drought resistant, it can grow to a height of up to 36" on a single fibrous stem with alternate feathery leaves, hence its Spanish name of "Plumajillo" (little feather). Perched atop the rough stems are flattop panicles in bunches which consist of numerous tiny white, or pink, flowers heads. It blooms between May and August, depending on the elevation.
Yarrow is a boon to other plants that grow nearby as it promotes their secretions of oils, making them more resistant to bugs and nourishes the soil. Cavity nesting birds, like starlings, reduce the growth of parasites in their nests by lining them with this beneficent plant. It attracts ladybugs and butterflies love it.
The flowers and leaves are gathered when in bloom and then dried to use in teas and washes, reducing the discomforts of eczema and bug bites. The fresh herb is often used in salves since it contains volatile oils and resins, which support healthy tissue repair and can soothe inflamed or sore joints. Its properties include tannins, silica, and coumerains, which act as an astringent for healing tissues.
The salicylic acid is helpful for headaches. The leaves can be chewed to ease toothache discomforts. Yarrow is widely known as an aid for digestive discomforts and to support healthy digestive function. It is calming for stomach ulcers and supports healthy circulation and vascular integrity. It increases perspiration, is a vasodilator, supportive for healthy blood pressure levels, and women's health. Made into a tea, it is soothes many common symptoms of cold and flu.
It is high in flavenoids, an antioxidant. It is, also, a tonic for the nervous system. The list goes on, making yarrow something of a miracle plant, that is supportive of most body systems.
WishGarden Herbs includes Yarrow in a number of our tinctures, including the very popular Kick-Ass Immune, AfterEase After Birth Pains, Badass Bitters Profound Apéritif, Deep Lung & Bronchial Support, Happy Ducts Lactation Support, ReBalance Postpartum Hormonal, Serious V-Fighter Active Wellness Blend, and Uterine Support.