Achillea millefolium

Dating back to Achilles time, Yarrow has long been a herb valued for its healing properties. It is known by many names, including Nosebleed, Soldier's Woundwort, Knight's Milfoil, Staunchweed, Devil's Nettle and Carpenter's Weed.

Many of Yarrow's alternate names come from its use as herb to stop bleeding. It is said that Achilles used this herb on the battlefields of Troy, to treat injured soldiers. Hence the botanical name, Achillea millefolium.

Yarrow is a herb of many uses. It's most famous use is, as mentioned above, is as a staunch for bleeding. It has been known as Herba Militaris, The Military Herb. Obviously a herb such as this would have been invaluable on the battle field, in the days before effective military medicine. It's also easy to see how the name Carpenter's Weed could have come into use - soldiers aren't the only people to bleed on a regular basis.

As well as its ability to assist with bleeding, Yarrow is credited with an ability to reduce blood pressure, and an aid in digestion. It can help break fevers, and can be used as a tonic to fight colds and flu. It has been a traditional women's herb, for it's ability to regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce bleeding, and alleviate menstrual pain.

The name Nosebleed is an interesting one for this herb. Although commonly used to reduce bleeding, the leaves, rolled up and placed in the nose, will also cause bleeding. This is done to alleviate headaches.

Yarrow is also said to be very good for the skin and hair, promoting hair growth. It has been used to treat conditions including depression, convulsions, nausea and muscle spasms.

In times gone, Yarrow was also used as a component in spells, and was one of the herbs dedicated to the evil one. This explains some of the names such as Devil's Plaything, that this herb has been known by.

A hardy plant, Yarrow thrives even in poor soil, and often grows on road sides, in fields and lawns. It prefers a sunny position, but will also grow in part shade. About the only thing it really needs is soil with decent drainage. It may actually grow quite prolifically and invasively, in the same manner as many weeds.

Yarrow is a flowering plant. Small clusters of white or pink flowers bloom, although the whole plant including flowers, leaves and stems is used. Although a useful herb, the plant is also quite attractive when in flower, and may be used as a bordering plant in the garden, or the flowers as part of flower arrangements. It is tough enough to survive mowing, or being walked upon, so may be useful in parts of the garden where a more fragile plant would be quickly killed. The plant can grow up to a height of about 3 feet if allowed to. The dried flower heads are used to make yarrow aromatherapy oils.

The plant is edible, although most often not eaten directly. It has been used as an ingredient in salads, the very young leaves being used. It has a bitter, pungent taste though, so this is not a common use. More commonly, it is used to make a tea, drunk to aid in the fighting of colds and flu. Chewing the leaves helps to alleviate the pain of toothache, the leaves have even been used as part of beer brewing - supposedly the finished product will be more intoxicating when Yarrow is added to the brew.

Yarrow Tea

Infuse 1 oz (30 grams) dried herb with 1 pint (600 ml) boiling water.

Drink the tea warm, in a wine glass sized dose. You can also add sugar and honey to sweeten the tea, and add cayenne pepper, and a does of composition essence. This is a great remedy for colds, opens the pores, and allows the blood to flow freely. It is recommended for the early stages of children's colds, as well as a treatment for diseases such as measles.

Yarrow and Chamomile lotion

Combine a teaspoon of dried yarrow flowers, and a teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers in a bowl.

Soak in two cups of boiling water, and leave for half an hour. Stir, then strain the liquid into bottles. This is said to be excellent as a treatment for oily skin.

Yarrow use is not advised during pregnancy, and prolonged use is also not advised, and may possibly cause headaches and skin irritation. Use a herb such as yarrow in moderation.


Big thanks to bexxta for inspiration, and awesome google searching skills

Yar"row (?), n. [OE. yarowe, yarwe, [yogh]arowe, AS. gearwe; akin to D. gerw, OHG. garwa, garawa, G. garbe, schafgarbe, and perhaps to E. yare.] Bot.

An American and European composite plant (Achillea Millefolium) with very finely dissected leaves and small white corymbed flowers. It has a strong, and somewhat aromatic, odor and taste, and is sometimes used in making beer, or is dried for smoking. Called also milfoil, and nosebleed.


© Webster 1913.

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