Achillea millefolia, or better and more commonly known as yarrow, is a perennial plant that is a member of the Asteraceae family. Yarrow can be known by many other names as well including staunchweed, soldier’s woundwort, common yarrow, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, woundwort, milfoil, and Western yarrow. In southern Colorado and New Mexico, yarrow is known as “plumajillo,” which is Spanish for “little feather.” Its genus name Achillea is Latin and was actually named for the Greek hero Achilles. Achilles was thought to be an invincible warrior and used yarrow to treat the wounds of his soldiers. Yarrow is native to many places around the world including North America, Europe, and Asia. It has been in use since ancient times, most well known for its medicinal and culinary purposes, having been used for food since the 17th century. It’s said that by sewing an ounce of yarrow up in flannel and placing it under your pillow before you go to bed, it will bring you a vision of your future husband or wife.
This perennial plant can grow in either a single or multiple stems, which grow in height from under a foot to over 3 feet high. The leaves grow opposite of each other along the entire length of the stem, and the leaves near the middle and top of the plant being the largest. The leaves can grow in length from 2 to 8 inches long and have a hairy feeling to them. The flowers grow in flat-topped bunches. Each bunch has numerous amounts of white, small flower heads. Each flower resembles a daisy.
Yarrow can be used in many different products and industries. While most well known for its medicinal and culinary purposes, yarrow can also be used for skin care, bath and body products, hair care, and the soap making process. Common bath and body products that can include yarrow are soaps, shampoos and conditioners, bath salts, scrubs, bath teas, lotions, creams, ointments, facial masks, and bath bombs. Did you know that in Chinese tradition, yarrow is considered lucky? Chinese proverbs claim that yarrow promotes intelligence and even brightens the eyes.
Yarrow is actually a very adaptable plant, being able to grow in many diverse conditions. While it prefers well drained soils, it can also survive growing in areas with dry or hard soils. It does best in sandy or loamy soils. It also prefers to be in areas with full sun exposure, but can thrive in areas with only partial exposure. Yarrow is also a drought-tolerant plant. This plant can grow wildly and easily be found along road sides, in meadows, and on sunny, dry slopes. The perfect soil temperatures for yarrow to grow properly are between 64 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yarrow seeds need at least partial sunlight to grow, and should only be planted about a quarter of an inch beneath the soil. However, they should be planted at least 12 to 18 inches apart so that each plant has enough room to grow. The seeds should begin to germinate about 14 to 21 days after first being planted. This plant can spread easily and should be divided every 2 to 3 years. It can be harvested all throughout the summer time.
There are some pests and diseases that may affect the yarrow plant. Powdery mildew can form on the plant when grown in humid places. Aphids, stem rot, and rust can also affect the plant as well. Yarrow is also occasionally affected by spittlebugs and can be susceptible to botrytis mold.
Uses in Industries
One of the most well known uses for yarrow is for culinary purposes. In the 17th century, it was used as a vegetable and as an ingredient in salads. The leaves of the plant can be used as a substitute flavoring agent, and its flowers and leaves can be combined to make a very aromatic tea. Yarrow can also be used as an ingredient in omelets, stews, and soups, and when the herb is fresh, it can be made into juice.
Bath and Body Products
Yarrow can be used in many different products and industries. Besides its culinary purposes, it can also be used for bath and body products, medicinal purposes, skin care, hair care, and in the soap making process. When used in homemade cosmetics and soap, yarrow helps to reduce inflammation.
Common bath and body products that can include yarrow are shampoos and conditioners, lotions, creams, ointments, bath teas, scrubs, bath salts, bath bombs, and facial masks.
Your skin can greatly benefit from yarrow use. Yarrow helps to reduce inflammation, helps to cure and treat eczema, relieves many skin irritations and rashes, and can be used to treat wounds and bruises.
When used for hair care purposes, yarrow helps to treat dandruff, oily scalp and itchiness. It also works to treat any scalp irritation, stop and prevent hair loss, and promote new hair growth. When used regularly in a tea, yarrow can actually work to lighten hair.
There are many amazing medicinal benefits to using yarrow. It contains many nutrients and minerals that are important to the body such as sterols, flavonoids, tannins, coumarins, isovaleric acid, asparagin, and salicylic acid. Yarrow also has many anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, digestive, carminative, and anti-spasmodic properties. If added to a bath, yarrow can helps to reduce the pain of female cramping.
For women, while it can help to reduce cramping, it can also be used to promote blood flow to the reproductive organs, relieve congestion of the uterus, reduce heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles, and treat ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis. However, yarrow is not recommended to use during pregnancy as it can actually relax the muscles of the uterus which can cause a miscarriage. It can also cause reduced weight of the fetus.
Many Native American tribes used yarrow root. The California Miwoks used yarrow to treat head colds, Chippewas for headaches, Cherokees to help with restful sleep and reduce fever, and Pawnees for pain relief. The Navajo also regarded yarrow as a “life medicine,” using it for toothaches and earaches.
Yarrow is a wonderful way to help promote digestion. It increases appetite and works to stimulate the digestion process by aiding in the secretion of digestive enzymes and juices. Yarrow can also be used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, colitis, and diverticulitis.
Since ancient times, yarrow has been used to treat high blood pressure and blood clots. It can also treat varicose veins and hemorrhoids as well as helping to increase blood flow.
Many other conditions can be treated using yarrow as well including colds, the flu, ulcers, sinus infections, arthritis, hay fever, pelvic pain, bloating, flatulence, heart burn, muscle spasms, anxiety, insomnia, urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, amenorrhea and it even works in the prevention of gall stones.
Some people believe that if a bundle of yarrow is tied together and hung over a doorway or baby’s cradle, it will guarantee them good health in the New Year.
Yarrow is used for many types of spells. In one, if you tickle the insides of your nose with the leaves of the plant and it makes your nose bleed, it is an omen that you are certain to be successful.
Nature’s Garden sells yarrow for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great yarrow is for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.
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