Many Herbalist's Favorite Plant 🌼🌿

Many Herbalist's Favorite Plant 🌼🌿

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is one of my favorite plants. Although I can’t remember exactly who, I once heard a famous herbalist remark that many herbalists say that if they had to choose only one plant to take with them on a deserted island, they would take yarrow due to its versatility. 

There's a lot information to cover so let's hop to!
(Watch my video on YouTube for more)
Yarrow: Your Natural Relief for Colds and Flu

Yarrow is highly effective for addressing cold and flu symptoms. When infused in water (such as in tea), it helps break fevers, induces sweating to lower body temperature, and is beneficial for sinus infections, allergies, and wet coughs by reducing excess mucus and inflammation in the respiratory tract. 
Image credit Tea & Coffee
Yarrow: A Natural Aid for Wound Healing and Bleeding Control
Yarrow has a traditional use for stopping bleeding, both internally and externally (Saeidnia et al, 2011). Historically, yarrow has been used since medieval times to stop bleeding from wounds, as well as it was used by soldiers on the battlefield. Even WWII soldiers would carry Yarrow powder to put on gunshot wounds to stop bleeding or lessen it until a person could (hopefully) receive whatever medical care they needed. 
Image Credit: The Good Stuff Botanicals

Legend: According to legend, Achilles, the Greek hero, was submerged in a yarrow concoction by his mother while gripping his heels, leaving them as his only vulnerability, a tale reflected in the Latin name Achillea Millefolium, paying homage to Achilles.
DIY Styptic Powder (to stop bleeding)
Yarrow can easily be made into what’s known as ‘Styptic Powder’, which is a powder that is used to stop bleeding. You simply grind dried yarrow leaves and flowers into a fine powder and keep in a container of choice. You can keep this powder in your first aid kit (especially good for hikers) and just apply some of the powder to any minor cuts, scrapes, bloody noses, etc…this is not meant to replace medical care with more major wounds…but it’s a great first aid kit tool for all. 
For the quickest tutorial of all time on how to make your own Yarrow Styptic Powder go here.
Yarrow: A Universal Regulator of Female Reproductive Function
Yarrow is what is referred to as a ‘uterine stimulant’, or as one naturopath put it yarrow is ‘a universal regulator of female reproductive function’ (Sarahearm, 2015). It is also a beneficial herb for women suffering from menorrhagia, or menstrual bleeding that is very heavy and lasts for 7 days or more. One study showed that yarrow ‘increases [uterine] muscular tone and stimulates reproductive activity, and is also known to be effective for the treatment of menstrual problems’ (Livdans-Forret et al, 2007).

Yarrow is also used for pain relief for women suffering from dysmenorrhea, or severe menstrual cramps and pain during your period. In a double blind randomized clinical trial measuring the effect of yarrow tea for pain relief versus placebo, women who drank yarrow tea three days across two menstrual cycles experienced significantly greater reduction in pain scores compared to the placebo group at one and two months post-treatment (Jenabi & Fereidoony, 2015).
Wild Yarrow in the winter in Evergreen, Colorado.
Yarrow: A Remedy for Digestive Distress and Intestinal Health
Yarrow is used to help with stomach and intestinal problems like IBS and gastric ulcers. It can also improve digestion and help with issues like bloating and nervous stomach.

It is utilized for its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, it aids in the treatment of IBS, mucous colitis, gastric ulcers with bleeding, intestinal colic, and diarrhea. Additionally, it is employed to enhance digestion, fat digestion, alleviate flatulence, and address nervous dyspepsia.
Studies have shown that yarrow can help to alleviate ulcerative colitis symptoms as well as alleviating intestinal spasms associated with gastrointestinal disorders (Mohamed et al., 2021) (Moradi et al., 2013).
Image Credit: A Vogel
Yarrow: Nurturing Youthful Skin and Rejuvenation
Yarrow is an unexpected ally when it comes to our skin health. There are various Yarrow based skin care products on the market, look for yarrow being one of the main ingredients when choosing a product to ensure best results.

One recent study showed that Yarrow extract treatment for two months significantly improved the appearance of wrinkles and pores compared to a placebo. These effects were also better than those observed with glycolic acid, a commonly used skin resurfacing agent (Pain et al., 2011).

Magical Benefits

  • Planetary Association: Venus

  • Deity Associations: Aphrodite, Hermes and Achilles 

  • Element: Water 

  • The name "Achillea" is thought to be derived from Achilles of Greek mythology, who was fabled to have had his wounds treated topically with this herb.

  • The flowers can be added to dream pillows to encourage prophetic dreams. 

  • Rubbing your eyelids with yarrow is said to enhance psychic abilities. 

  • It can be used in incense or oil to cleanse the aura, and for divination. 

  • Yarrow tea can also be drunk prior to divination, and to help the mind focus on a specific issue, or avoid distractions. Especially useful for psychic communication with a loved one and, when in times of strife, can help you and your loved one see things from each others' point of view.

  • Hanging a bunch of yarrow over the bed on the wedding night is supposed to ensure lasting love for seven years. Adding it to the bouquet or garlands worn by the bride or groom serves the same effect.

This beautiful Yarrow was gifted to me by  a dear friend and we keep it in all of the sacred spaces in our home.


Preparations & Dosage

By now you probably know I'm a big fan of tinctures and tea for most plants (although I'm down for capsules when the other options are unmanageable (usually because of taste). Here are some ways you can incorporate Yarrow into your plant medicine regimen.

Infusion: 1-2 tsp/cup, infuse 15 min, TID or hourly in fevers

Tincture: (1:5, 25%), 2-4 ml TID

Toxicity: The volatile oil contains thujone which is a neurotoxic compound. Used with caution. High doses may cause headaches and photosensitivity.

Contraindications: Allergy to Asteraceae family (ragweed), Pregnancy.

When it comes to harvesting and foraging this powerful plant for medicines, it is best to stick to the white and pale yellow variety that you'll see growing naturally in nature. The more colorful varieties (bright yellow, pink, etc) are not typically used for medicine.

Thank you for adventuring on this deep dive with me on one of my favorite plants. Next time you're out in nature, see if you can spot Yarrow growing and you'll start to notice just how abundant this plant is. Mama Earth always provides.

May your heart be full of love and may you show yourself the same kindness to yourself that you do to others.

Wishing you a beautiful start to March welcoming brighter days ahead.



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