Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Main Facts about Yarrow
Entire plant is somewhat hairy. Grows to 2 feet (75cm) high. Thin, lacy, fern-like leaves, white flowers, sometimes pink, in flat clusters that stagger (do not radiate from same point on stem). Each flower resembles a tiny daisy. Roots crawl. In Sweden it is called 'Field Hop' and has been used in the manufacture of beer.
Using YarrowIn antiquity, yarrow was known as herbal militaris, for its use in staunching the flow of blood from wounds. The fresh leaves were also used to treat gastrointestinal problems, fight fevers, lessen menstrual bleeding and better circulation. The fresh leaves were also chewed on to relieve tooth aches. Yarrow tea is a good remedy for severe colds, being most useful at the beginning of fevers, and in cases of obstructed perspiration. It opens the pores freely and purifies the blood, and is recommended in the early stages of children's colds, and in measles and other eruptive diseases. Yarrow also supports the urinary system and is an effective anti-inflammatory and diuretic in cases of urinary infections, such as cystitis. It is an excellent women's herb that can bring on delayed menstruation, soothe painful periods and menstrual cramps and reduce excessive bleeding. Yarrow improves peripheral circulation by dilating the blood vessels. It is indicated for high blood pressure and angina pectoris. It has the reputation also of being a preventative of baldness, if the head be washed with it. Dry entire plant used as tea for stomach problems, Even used as hair shampoo. Can be used as insect repellant by burning or tincture. A very good companion plant, it improves the health of plants growing nearby and enhances their essential oil content thus making them more resistant to insect attacks. Also improves soil fertility.
Caution!Do not drink tea for more than 2 weeks or it can be toxic to liver. Do not consume if pregnant.
Cooking with YarrowThe young leaves can be harvested in the early days of spring when they are still soft, for use in soups and salads. Later they get too tough to be used fresh and should be dried. Leaves and flowers can be harvested until July/August when the plant is in full flower. Make tea with it. Tastes nasty but works. The fresh juice is recommended as a tonic. Eat flowers sparingly. Some people have reactions, so test first.
How to grow YarrowYarrow is frequently found in the mildly disturbed soil of grasslands and open forests. Active growth occurs in the spring, commonly flowers from May through June. The plant prefers well-drained soil in full sun, but can be grown in less ideal conditions. Yarrow is useful companion plant, repelling some pest insects while attracting good, predatory ones. Common yarrow reproduces by seed and by sprouting from underground horizontal, creeping stems (rhizomes).