Monday, April 29, 2013


My apologies for the late post. The Blogger gods weren't cooperative with posting the blog as scheduled last night. 

Yarrow is a perennial plant that produces one to several stems, which can grow to three feet in height and spreads by rhizome type roots. It’s a beautiful flower to grow and comes in several colors, the most common is white, but it can be shades of pink, red, yellow, and deep rose. The leaves are feathery and long.

Yarrow has long been used as a medicinal plant. It’s also known as Soldiers Wort and Knight’s Milfoil. Achilles was said to use Yarrow to staunch the wounds of his soldiers and so the plant is also known as Achillea millefolium.

Highlanders use Yarrow in an ointment for wounds and in the treatment of sheep scabs and they also consider Yarrow tea a good defense against depression. The Swedish use it in making beer instead of hops—supposedly making the beer more intoxicating. I imagine it would be an acquired taste if you were used to hop beers.

Medicinally, Yarrow is an antiseptic and fights bacteria and has antispasmodic properties. In addition to its antispasmodic activity, the herb contains salicylic acid (a compound like the active ingredient in aspirin) and a volatile oil with anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful to relieve pain associated with gynecologic conditions, digestive disorders, and other conditions. Taken daily, yarrow preparations can relieve symptoms of menstrual cycle and uterine disorders, such as cramps and endometriosis. Yarrow has a drying effect and can be used as a decongestant. Sinus infections and coughs with sputum production may be improved by yarrow, especially when mixed with equal parts goldenseal.

Most make a tea with either an ounce of dried ground leaves in a pint of boiled water, or dropping loose dried leaves into a pint of boiling water and let it steep at least five minutes. It’s better if you allow it to steep ten to fifteen minutes as it makes a stronger tea. Some add ingredients such as goldenseal, a dash of cayenne pepper, or slippery Elm Bark. It may be sweetened with sugar or honey.

One of the things to keep in mind for any medicinal herb—it is a medicine. Long before drug manufacturers were able to synthesize medicines herbs were used as the basis of pharmaceutical medicines prescribed by doctors and came with directions as to the dose and frequency of use. Yarrow tea is a great tea and good for you but take care not to drink more than three cups in a day.

Yarrow also makes your garden healthy. It's considered an especially useful companion plant as it repels some insect pests while attracting good, predatory insects. It attracts predatory  wasps, which drink the nectar and then uses insect pests as food for their larvae. It also attracts ladybugs and hoverflies.

Yarrow improves soil quality. The leaves are good fertilizer and a beneficial additive for compost. It is good for improving the health of sick plants when grown nearby.

Aside from being a beautiful addition to your garden to satisfy your artistic eye, Yarrow improves the health of human and plant life. Pretty good deal.

  • What about you? Have you any Yarrow growing wild and pretty or cultivated near you?
  • Ever drank Yarrow Tea?



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've seen the flower before but didn't know it was a tea.

Johanna Garth said...

I only knew Yarrow was beautiful. It has so many useful properties too :)

J. A. Bennett said...

I've seen that growing on nearby mountains (I think) but I've never had it as tea. Beautiful pictures!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've never heard of it, but I would love to be able to grow it. Shame I have a brown thumb.

Jo said...

I was unfamiliar with all its benefits, it really is amazing what can be done with plants and how much we have forgotten.


Liza said...

I love the look of yarrow and have been trying to grow it in my too-shady garden for years. I had no idea it had so many medicinal properties. Funny, I just transplanted my two sad remaining plants into a sunnier (still shady) location. Most times I see yarrow, it has spread all over on such luck for me. Congrats on getting to the (almost) end of A-Z. I admire anyone who takes up the challenge!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. you've done a star turn for the yarrow - I didn't know any of this .. but it all makes so much sense.

I love your knowledge of the Scottish farmers healing themselves with yarrow ...

Really loved it - just wish the memory bank would remember it all ... cheers Hilary

Glan Deas said...

I don't know that yarrow has beneficial properties.I see its only as a beautiful flower.

Glan Deas

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