top of page
  • Writer's pictureJennifer

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)



HISTORY:

Yarrow, also known as Achillea millefolium, is a perennial herb that has been used for centuries for medicinal and culinary purposes. Historically, it has been used to treat wounds, reduce fever, and as a digestive aid. In traditional Chinese medicine, yarrow is used to stop bleeding and to calm the mind. In Europe, it was used to prevent colds and flu and to aid in digestion. Yarrow has also been used in various spiritual practices, including as a component in divination rituals. The plant is native to Europe and Asia, but is now found throughout the world.


TRADITIONAL USE:

Yarrow has been used traditionally for a variety of purposes. In herbalism, it has been used to:

  • Stop bleeding: Yarrow has been used to stop bleeding due to its astringent properties, which help to contract blood vessels. It was traditionally used to stop nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding, and to staunch wounds.

  • Reduce fever: Yarrow has been used to reduce fever due to its diaphoretic properties, which promote sweating and help to lower body temperature.

  • Digestive aid: Yarrow has been used to stimulate digestion and to relieve gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.

  • Anti-inflammatory: Yarrow's anti-inflammatory properties make it useful for treating conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism.

  • Wound healing: Yarrow has been used to speed up the healing of wounds and to prevent infection due to its antiseptic properties.

  • Calming the mind: In traditional Chinese medicine, yarrow is used to calm the mind and to promote emotional balance.

  • Spiritual practices: Yarrow has been used in various spiritual practices including as a component in divination rituals.

Yarrow is particularly useful for topical application, either as a poultice or in a tincture form, as an effective styptic to stop bleeding from cuts, wounds, and abrasions. It also can be applied to stop nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding, and for hemorrhoids.


CONTRAINDICATIONS & SAFETY:

Yarrow is generally considered safe when used in small amounts and as a short-term treatment. However, there are some contraindications to be aware of when using yarrow.

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Yarrow should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding as it can cause uterine contractions and could potentially lead to a miscarriage.

  • Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to yarrow and may experience symptoms such as hives, itching, or difficulty breathing.

  • Blood clotting disorders: Yarrow may increase the risk of bleeding in people with blood clotting disorders, so it should be used with caution in those individuals.

  • Medications: Yarrow may interact with blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, so it should be used with caution in those taking such medications.

  • Overdose: Consuming large amounts of yarrow can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and dizziness.

  • High doses: Yarrow should not be taken in high doses and should be avoided by people who have a history of kidney or liver disease.

It's always advisable to consult a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking any medications.


PLANT INDENTIFICATION:

Yarrow is a perennial herb that is easy to identify. Here are some characteristics of the yarrow plant that can help in identifying it:

  • Stems: Yarrow has tall, erect stems that can grow up to 3 feet in height. The stems are usually green in color and are often hairy.

  • Leaves: The leaves of yarrow are fern-like, feathery, and finely divided. They are usually gray-green in color and are arranged alternately along the stem.

  • Flowers: Yarrow has clusters of small, daisy-like flowers that are usually white or pink in color. The flowers can also be yellow or red. The flowers are arranged in flat-topped clusters at the top of the stem.

  • Smell: Yarrow has a strong, distinct smell that is often described as musky, pungent, or spicy.

  • Habitat: Yarrow can be found in a variety of habitats, including fields, meadows, and along roadsides. It is native to Europe and Asia, but is now found throughout the world.

  • Season: Yarrow typically blooms in the late spring to early summer, but in some regions it can bloom throughout the year.

It's important to note that yarrow can look similar to other plants such as tansy or chamomile, and it's always best to consult with a botanist or expert if you are not sure about the identification.


ENERGETICS:

In traditional herbal medicine, the energetics of a plant refer to the specific properties and actions that it is believed to have on the body and mind. The energetics of yarrow (Achillea millefolium) are considered to be:

  • Cooling: Yarrow is considered to have a cooling energy, which means it is believed to reduce inflammation and fever.

  • Drying: Yarrow is also considered to have a drying energy, which means it is believed to reduce excess moisture in the body, such as in the case of excessive sweating or mucus.

Yarrow also has a bitter taste, which is believed to stimulate digestion and tonify the liver.


HERBAL ACTIONS:

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has a variety of herbal actions, which are the specific ways that it is believed to affect the body. Some of the most commonly cited herbal actions of yarrow include:

  • Astringent: Yarrow is considered to be astringent, which means it is believed to contract tissues and stop bleeding. This is due to the presence of tannins, which are compounds that help to tighten and strengthen blood vessels.

  • Anti-inflammatory: Yarrow is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which means it is thought to reduce inflammation and pain. This is thought to be due to the presence of flavonoids and other compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Analgesic: Yarrow is believed to have an analgesic action, which means it is thought to relieve pain. This is thought to be due to the presence of compounds that have pain-relieving effects.

  • Antiseptic: Yarrow is considered to have an antiseptic action, which means it is believed to help prevent infection and to speed up the healing of wounds. This is thought to be due to the presence of compounds that have antimicrobial effects.

  • Styptic: Yarrow is known for its styptic action, which means it is believed to help stop bleeding. The styptic action is thought to be due to the presence of tannins, and flavonoids such as quercetin and rutin, which are known to have astringent properties. These compounds help to constrict blood vessels and slow down the bleeding.

SUMMARY:

Yarrow is a definite herb to have on hand or even grow (it is very easy to grow at home) and is one I would recommend to have in your at home first aid kit because of it's ability to aid in multiple things that are common ie wounds, fevers, digestive issues, etc. It's super versatile and you can use it in many ways from tinctures and teas to poultices.



51 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page