Nikita Lenssen

Yarrow

Achillea millefolium

Achillea millefolium, commonly known as yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. Other common names for this species include nosebleed plant, old man's pepper and thousand-leaf. Achillea millefolium is an erect, herbaceous, perennial plant that produces one to several stems. The plant has a strong, sweet scent, similar to that of chrysanthemums.

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Etymology

From the Greek hero who loved using it, Millefolium” means “a thousand leaves".

Stories

In classical Greece, Homer tells of the centaur Chiron, who conveyed herbal secrets to his human pupils, and taught Achilles to use yarrow on the battle grounds of Troy to heal battle wounds. He even covered his body with a tincture made from the leaves to stay invincible against arrows.

In British folklore In the Hebrides a leaf held against the eyes was believed to give second sight.

Considered to be lucky in Chinese tradition. The stalks are dried and used as a randomising agent in I Ching divination.

The Navajo historically considered it a "life medicine" and chewed the plant for toothaches and used its infusions for earaches.

The occidentalis variety is used medicinally by the Zuni people. The blossoms and root are chewed and the juice applied before fire-walking or fire-eating. A poultice of the pulverized plant is mixed with water and applied to burns.

The Ojibwe people historically sprinkled a decoction of yarrow leaves on hot stones and inhaled it to treat headaches,as well as applied decoctions of the root onto skin for its stimulant effect. They also smoked its florets for ceremonial purposes, as well as placed them on coals and inhaled their smoke to break fevers.

The Haida living in the Queen Charlotte Islands were known for drying butter clams on yarrow stalks. They believed that this gave the shellfish a pleasant taste.

Uses

  • In antiquity, yarrow was known as herbal militaris, for its use in stanching the flow of blood from wounds.
  • Also used for nosebleeds, by putting powder made out of yarrow inside the nostrils.
  • Yarrow stalks can also be pounded and made into pulp that’s applied to swollen body parts, bruises and sprains.
  • Internally, as digestive, detox aid.
  • Cold, fever.
  • Fights bacteria and viruses.
  • Relieves cramps and menstrual pain.
  • Effective for skin conditions, (eczema).
  • Relieves pain from arthritis and rheumatism, hemorrhoids.
  • On the blood vessels, especially the smaller veins, and lower blood pressure by dilating the capillaries.

Cautions

It can cause allergies.  Yarrow may also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so be cautious when using it, whether in plant or essential oil form. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should also refrain from using yarrow, as this herb may induce a miscarriage and may have unknown effects on an unborn child.