Yarrow – Benefits and Uses

Yarrow is a perfect herb to keep in your medicine bag, as it has many uses. It is also known as the nosebleed plant, squirrel tale, and soldier woundwort. It is in the Aster/Daisy family.

Yarrow is recognized by its feathery leaves that grow along the stem. Plants grow 1 to 3 feet in full sun to partial shade. Its bipinnate leaves are 2 to 8 inches long and can be hairy. Each leaf is divided into many leaflets, which are further divided into smaller leaflets. The silver-green leaves are fern-like and feathery. Flowers bloom from May to July. Each is a cluster of 15-40 tiny disk flowers surrounded by 3 to 8-ray flowers. Colors range from white to yellow, pink and red.

Yarrow is a great companion plant in a garden, it replies to many garden pests while attracting beneficial insects. You can eat the leaves raw or cooked. They are bitter and are best eaten young. The plant is very nutritious, although you shouldn’t eat it a lot, as it has a blood clotting ability.

All parts of the plants are used medicinally. Yarrow quickly stops bleeding by contracting the blood vessels and encouraging clotting. Yarrow contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds that ease swelling and promote healing. It also can help disinfect wounds.

To use yarrow leaves on a wound, chop or rip the leaves finely and apply them to the wound. Carrying dried powered yarrow with you for this purpose. Cover the wound with a soft cloth and leave it in place. Repeat 2 to 3 times daily until the wound is healed over and the swelling is gone. Yarrow oil or tincture can be used to treat nose bleeds and other minor injuries, as can yarrow powder.

For bruises, sprains, hemorrhoids, and other swellings, use yarrow leaves or sets pounded into a paste and applied to the injured area and cover. Infused yarrow oil or salve works well for bruises, sprains, swelling, and hemorrhoids.

Yarrow reduces the duration of the measles virus, colds, and fevers. It is quick to bring down a fever. Either chew raw yarrow or drink yarrow tea to induce sweating and reduce fevers. You can also take a yarrow in tincture form. It opens the pores, encourages perspiration, and purifies and moves the blood.

Yarrow tea or tincture treats menstrual problems ranging from a lack of menstruation to excessive bleeding and cramping. It tones the uterine muscles after childbirth, reduces cramping by relaxing the muscles, and prevents hemorrhage.

As an antibacterial and an anti-inflammatory yarrow works well for mastitis. A lead poultice seems to work the best while alternating between warm and cold compresses. (Cabbage leaves also work well for mastitis)

HOW TO:

Yarrow Tea: one teaspoon fired yarrow flowers and/or leaves, one cup of boiling water. Pour one cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of dried yarrow. Cover and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey or maple syrup.

Yarrow Tincture: fresh yarrow leaves and flowers, vodka, brandy, or other alcohol, 80 proof or higher. Chop yarrow into small into small pieces and pack it tightly to fill a glass jar. Fill the jar with alcohol and cover it tightly. Check the jar every day and add more alcohol as needed to keep the jar full. Allow the tincture to steep for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the alcohol through cheesecloth and squeeze out all the liquid. Discard the herbs, label the jar, and store your tincture in a cool, dark place.

Yarrow Oil: fresh or dried yarrow leaves, organic olive oil, or another carrier oil. If using fresh yarrow, cut the leaves into one-inch pieces and allow them to dry. Place the herbs into a jar or heatproof container and add oil just to cover the herbs. Fill a small pot 1/3 full of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer before using. Place the jar of oil and herbs into the water, preventing the water from getting into the oil. Use the water like a double boiler to gently heat the herbs and oil for 2 to 3 hours. Do NOT overheat! Allow the oil to cool then filter it through a cheesecloth. Squeeze the cheesecloth to get all the oil. Discard the herb and use the oil for medicinal purposes.

WARNINGS:

Do not eat yarrow or take yarrow tea during pregnancy. Do not use it if you are allergic to the Aster/Daisy family. If you develop a rash, or if any irritation occurs. Do not use it before surgery.

Alyssa Esparza

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