Yarrow is a perennial
herb, native to Europe and Asia and naturalized in North America and most other countries
throughout the world. Yarrow is very common along roadsides and in old fields, pastures,
and meadows in the eastern and central United States and Canada.
easily cultivated, will survive in poor soil. Prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny
position. A very good companion plant, it improves the health of plants growing nearby and
enhances their essential oil content thus making them more resistant to insect predations
also improves the soil fertility.
Yarrow grows from 10 to 20 inches high, a single stem,
fibrous and rough, the leaves alternate, 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch broad, larger and
rosette at the base, clasping the stem, bipinnatifid, the segments very finely cut,
fern-like, dark-green, giving the leaves a feathery appearance. The flowers are several
bunches of flat-topped panicles consisting of numerous small, white flower heads. Each
tiny flower resembling a daisy. The whole plant is more or less hairy, with white, silky
appressed hairs. Flowers bloom from May to August. Gather stem, leaves and flower heads in
bloom, dry for later herb use. Dry herb edible as a spice or flavoring, strong sage
Yarrow is a very valuable
medicinal herb, with much scientific evidence of use in alternative medicine
as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive,
emmenagogue, stimulant, and tonics, vasodilator and vulnerary. Yarrow is used against
colds, cramps, fevers, kidney disorders, toothaches, skin irritations, and hemorrhages,
and to regulate menses, stimulate the flow of bile, and purify the blood. Medicinal tea is
a good remedy for severe colds and flu, for stomach ulcers, amenorrhea, abdominal cramps,
abscesses, trauma and bleeding, and to reduce inflammation. The main constituents
are volatile oils including linalool, camphor, sabinene, and chamazulene, sesquiterpene
lctones, flavanoids, alkaloids including achilleine, polyacetylenes,
triterpenes, salicylic acid, coumarins, and tannins which prove these uses in alternative medicine
to be effective. Extracts of yarrow exhibit antibiotic activity and may also act as
anti-neoplastic drugs. Externally for treating wounds and stopping the flow of blood.
Yarrow oil has been traditionally used in hair shampoos. Some caution is advised , large
or frequent doses taken over a long period may cause the skin to be more sensitive to
It was one of the herbs dedicated to
the Evil One, in earlier days, being sometimes known as Devil's Nettle, Devil's Plaything,
Bad Man's Plaything, and was used for divination in spells.
An aromatic tea: To 1 tsp. dried herb add 1 cup
boiling water, steep for 10 min. sweeten to taste. Take at bedtime.
Article by Deb Jackson & Karen