Yarrow

Achillea millefolium, Compositae. This plant is also known as nosebleed, staunchgrass and milefoil.

The aerial parts of the plant are used.

The entire part of the plant above the ground should be gathered when in flower during the summer.

Functions of yarrow

Yarrow is a versatile remedy. It contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic volatile oils, astringent tannins, resins that are also astringent and antiseptic and silica which promotes tissue repair. Because of these properties yarrow:

  • promotes the healing of cuts, burns, ulcers and inflammatory skin conditions.
  • stimulates the appetite, enhances digestion and absorption, curbs diarrhea and stems bleeding from the intestinal wall.
  • can be used to treat infections and inflamed conditions such as gastritis and enteritis. Taken hot it is excellent for throwing off fevers, cold and flu, coughs and sore throats.
  • can be used as a tonic for the circulatory system where it helps reduce high blood pressure, improves varicose veins, phlebitis and thrombosis.
  • can be used to relieve cystitis.

Yarrow also contains sterols which help to regulate the menstrual cycle. It reduces heavy bleeding and uterine congestion.

It is also a tonic to the nervous system.

Notes on yarrow

  • Avoid the use of yarrow in pregnancy.
  • It can cause a severe hypersensitivity reaction in a small number of people. Be very cautious the first time that you use it and never use it if you are allergic to other plants in the Asteraceae family to which the yarrow belong.
  • Do not take internally if you are taking blood thinning drugs.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day. When feverish it should be drunk hourly.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

All varieties can be grown by dividing the roots in spring and most can be grown from seed sown in the spring. Cut back the flower heads in autumn. Yarrow will grow in most soil types, in sun or part shade and will tolerate long dry spells. It has the potential to become weedy because of its spreading habit. Yarrow is a useful compost activator.

References

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, D. 2001, Healthy Bones and Joints. Newleaf.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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