Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has been considered a sacred herb in many cultures. It grows wild in many parts of the world, but you can also plant this valuable medicinal herb in your own herb garden. Both leaves and flowers are edible, although flowers are more often used for herbal remedies. The easiest way to use yarrow is to pick its flowers and make herbal infusions, or dry them for homemade herb tea mixes. Yarrow is also said to intensify the medicinal actions of other herbs when used in blends.
Yarrow: Medicinal Properties
Yarrow is a great tonic herb for women. It is one of those herbs that are ideal for balancing the menstrual cycle. It is used in herbal medicine to reduce excessive menstrual bleeding, to relieve menstrual cramps, and to bring back an absent cycle. I use yarrow flowers in my women’s tea blend together with other herbs that are traditionally used to help menstrual problems and to balance the cycle.
Yarrow is diaphoretic; it promotes sweating, so it helps to reduce fever. Drink yarrow infusions during a feverish cold or the flu. Yarrow is also used to relieve digestive problems, such as bloating, flatulence and stomach cramps. Because of its diaphoretic and digestive properties, yarrow is a valuable herb to use during a stomach flu.
How to Use Yarrow
- pick yarrow flowers and make an herbal infusion, or dry the flowers for tea blends
- add young green yarrow leaves to salads in the springtime: the leaves have a slightly peppery flavor and they are rich in vitamins and minerals
- add yarrow flowers to bath water for a relaxing herbal bath
- use the flowers in an herbal facial steam, especially for oily skin
- chew on yarrow leaves to relieve tooth ache
Yarrow has been also known for its ability to reduce bleeding. According to Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family powdered dried yarrow can be used on cuts to reduce bleeding, or in the nostrils to stop a nosebleed. The Complete Book of Herbs by Lesley Bremness suggests making a decoction with yarrow to use on wounds and on skin rashes.
Yarrow might not be suitable for pregnant women. Excessive use of yarrow can make the skin sensitive to the sun.
Bremness, Lesley: The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs (Studio, 1994)
Gladstar, Rosemary: Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health (Storey Publishing, 2008)