Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) belongs to the sunflower family and can be recognized by its highly segmented leaves (millefolium means "thousand leafed"), and the clusters of daisy-like white or lavender umbel shaped flowers at the top of the stalk. The entire plant is strongly aromatic and similar to mothballs ( as fresh or dried yarrow repels moths). This drought tolerant plant can easily be grown in most yards and responds best to soil that is poorly developed and well drained. It is frost hardy and can easily be grown from seed and/or division. It is a perfect addition to an ornamental bed or border, as well as the herb garden. Seeds require light for germination, so optimal germination occurs when planted no deeper than a quarter inch. Seeds also require a germination temperature of 65-75°F. Yarrow is a weedy species and can become invasive so should be divided every other year, and planted 12 inches apart. You can find Yarrow Seeds here in my Local Harvest Store.
Yarrow is one of the best diaphoretic herbs and is a standard remedy for aiding the body with cold and flu symptoms as well as breaking fevers. I like mixing yarrow with elderflower and peppermint for an effective fever reducer for my family. Simple yarrow herb tea has also
been used in the past for stimulating appetite, helping stomach cramps,
flatulence, gastritis, enteritis, gallbladder and liver ailments and also aids internal hemorrhage - particularly of the lungs.
Externally, yarrow has been used for all sorts of external wounds and sores from chapped or broken skin to sore nipples and varicose veins. I include yarrow in my Sitting Pretty Sitz Bath because it is one of the best herbal antiseptic and hemostatic herbs that help stop bleeding and prevent infection in tears from child birth.
Although yarrow should not be used internally during pregnancy, it is otherwise a very safe herb and is a good first herb in the home apothecary for the beginning herbalist. You can find dried Yarrow Herb here in my Local Harvest Store.
***Use yarrow with caution if you are allergic to ragweed. Its use is not recommended while pregnant.
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Jessica Morgan, M.H.