By Rebecca Potter
Yarrow is rich with many legends and myths. In the Middle Ages, it was used to keep evil spirits away (did you have yours on Halloween?) as well as bring you a vision of your future husband or wife. It also has many amusing nicknames such as “Devil’s Plaything”, since it was used commonly by witches. Its Latin name, Achillea millefolium, comes from the Greek God Achilles. When he was born, his mother held him by his “Achilles heel” and dipped him in a bath of yarrow to protect him. Achilles used yarrow to cure his wounds after battle, giving yarrow another nickname, “Soldier’s Woundwort”.
Native Americans also knew of yarrow’s incredible healing power for wounds and bruises, and in fact it is one of the sacred Life Medicines of the Navajo tribe. If you bruise easily, yarrow is a good daily supplement for you. The active constituents in yarrow make it a wonderful antiseptic, antibacterial, hypotensive, hypoglycemic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, emmenagogue, and tonic. Thank goodness for Medicine Men!
Yarrow can be considered nature’s bandage, which is especially helpful if you are in nature! If you’re on a hike and are bleeding, grab some yarrow, crush the leaves and stems and use it to stop the bleeding. If you get a headache, rub the leaves on your temples. If you get an insect bite or nettle sting, rub it on the area for quick relief. And even if you get a toothache, you can chew the leaves to help the pain. It’s a hiker’s best friend! And if you’re out in nature to release emotional energy, yarrow is very good aid, especially for empathic people.
What about at home? Well, it’s renowned for its diaphoretic action, meaning it helps you sweat out those nasty toxins. You know the ones I’m talking about, aka cold and fever! One of the best things you can do when you get sick is get into a hot bath and sip on hot yarrow tea and let the perspiring do the rest! It’s always important to work with the body when there are cold and flu symptoms, and not suppress them. You will clear the sinuses and kick those toxins and viruses out quicker than you’d imagine with hot yarrow tea. It will also clear up all that phlegm!
Do you need an astringent for acne, or a natural skin toner or hair conditioner? Look no further than yarrow. You can use the tea made from the flowers for any of those things, or if it’s hemorrhoids you need help with, add a little yarrow to your bath and take advantage of its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Yarrow also helps the liver, stomach, kidney, urinary tract, digestive and gastrointestinal tract, and something very important, the absorption of nutrients. It will also be very soothing and healing for stomach ulcers and abscesses. It’s also a stimulant for the circulatory system, helps to lower blood pressure, helps with stomach/menstrual cramps, and rheumatism.
Since yarrow grows in every vacant lot, field, wayside, and all over mountainsides, it is easy to find and harvest if desired. At summer’s peak, look for healthy green plants and flowers with a heavy scent, full of essential oils. To dry, turn it upside down and hang in a dark, dry place. Use the leaves, stems, and flowers in teas, tinctures, poultices, etc. Store in an airtight jar 3-5 years.
It was said yarrow would provide you with second sight if you held the leaves over your eyes. Since we definitely want you to be prepared for any possible emergency or medical preparedness issue that arises, we included it in our Essential Survival Herb Kit. In so doing, we effectively have given you a second sight, since no bite, cold, fever, or wound will ever catch you unawares.
Rebecca Potter is a lifelong student of herbalism, a lover of herbs and natural healing. She feels passionately about sharing her knowledge and experience with herbs to empower all to achieve the greatest possible health potential. She received her Master Herbalist degree from The School of Natural Healing, and teaches herbal classes in her local area of Salt Lake City. In addition to her herbal classes, Rebecca enjoys doing personalized herbal consultations, is involved in an integrative health clinic, and performs a variety of key functions at Essential Survival, LLC. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician.
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