Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yarrow: Nature's QuikClot and So Much More

Achillea millefolium - Yarrow

Achilles carried it into battle, wrote the ancient Greeks.

Its called Staunchweed, Soldier's Woundwort, Thousand-Seal, and Nature's QuikClot.

But, it's more than a wonder drug -- so much more.

During summer and autumn, harvest the entire plant with roots -- yes, every part is usable.


Tea made from the flowers treats upper respiratory phlegm.

Inhale steam from fresh boiling flowers to relieve hay fever and mild asthma.

The dark blue essential oil, extracted by steam distillation of the flowers, is generally used as an anti-inflammatory [1] or in chest rubs for colds and influenza [2].

Adding distilled water to yarrow oil produces an allergy nasal spray.

When crushed, the purple portion of the root from the white yarrow plant is a natural numbing agent. Native Americans would often chew this portion of the plant if they had painful open sores in their mouth. [Good for a toothache?]


In the 17th century, yarrow was a very popular vegetable.

Cook the younger leaves as spinach, or use them in a soup.

Its flavor is sweetly bitter.


Yarrow is considered an especially useful companion plant.

It attracts predatory wasps, which drink the nectar and then use insect pests as food for their larvae. Similarly, it attracts ladybugs and hoverflies.

Its leaves make good fertilizer -- a beneficial additive for compost.

Yarrow even improves the health of sick plants when grown near them.


Yarrow extract repels mosquitoes.

Known to the Swedish as "Field Hop", yarrow was used in the Middle Ages as part of a herbal mixture known as gruit (used in the flavoring of beer prior to the use of hops.)

Ground flowering tops make snuff. ###


[1] Anti-inflammatory Massage Oil: Dilute 5-10 drops of yarrow oil in 25 ml St. John's wort oil.

[2] Chest Rubs for Colds and Flu: Combine yarrow oil with eucalyptus, peppermint, hyssop, or thyme oils, diluting a total of 20 drops of oil in 25 ml almond or sunflower oil.

Gardening Tips : How to Grow Yarrow (Achillea)

To grow yarrow, which produces white, yellow, orange, pink and red flowers, provide full, hot sun and good drainage.

Chop back yarrow plants in the middle of summer to get more blooms through the fall.

Yarrow Seeds on eBay