Hunting season starts soon, so we spent the afternoon in the woods, scouting new areas and just enjoying the beautiful colors of the season.
Once we reached about 3500ft, I start seeing curious white flowers I’ve only seen in books – Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)!! I’ve spent weeks and weeks pining for this aromatic, healing powerhouse and feel so blessed it made itself known to me.
A member of the Aster (Asteraceae) family, Yarrow is an aromatic, perennial herb, related to sunflowers and chamomile. It comes in many different colors, however, you will primarily find white or the palest of pink, purple and yellow in the wild. Though Achillea millefolium is often referred to as an invasive species, it is the one used medicinally. It can grow 4 inches-3 feet tall and blooms from spring to late fall. It typically does well in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 3-9
WARNING: Yarrow is often confused with Wild Carrot, Queen Anne’s Lace and Poison Hemlock, so it is imperative your identification is 120%. For me, the biggest clue is the differences in their leaves, Yarrow’s leaves are dissected and fern-like. Before you go out foraging for any edible or medicinal ALWAYS make sure to do you research… and then research gain!
Traditionally, Yarrow has been used to: break fevers by increasing sweating, which also serves to stimulates the immune system; as a styptic to stop bleeding from minor wounds; taken orally to reduce inflammation, tummy troubles, as a mild sedative and aid in sleeping; and there is some evidence that chewing fresh leaves alleviate toothaches. Topically it can sooth insect bites and stings, rashes, itchy skin, diaper rash, scrapes, and burns. The entire plant can be used: flowers, leaves & roots.
Some words of caution. Yarrow may cause allergic reactions in those sensitive to other plants in the Aster family like ragweed, daisies, marigolds, chrysanthemums to name a few. Yarrow can also make you photosensitive – which has nothing to do with you not liking your photo taken – it’s a sensitivity to sunlight. It may cause blood clotting issues. Pregnant woman should not ingest Yarrow as it could cause miscarriage. If you are nursing, you should talk to your health care provider – in fact, it’s advisable to seek the advice of a qualified health provider before using any herbal supplement.
I have 4 dehydrator trays loaded and ready to dry. I’m looking forward to making immune supporting tea blends and tinctures and first aid salves all winter long.
Do you use Yarrow? What are your favorite ways to use it? Please leave a comment below.
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(Disclaimer: I am not a Physician nor am I Certified Herbalist. The information provided on this site has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent conditions, illnesses or diseases, it is purely anecdotal and stem from my own personal fascination with the natural world around me. I use the following for my research: Peterson Field Guides – Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs, The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, books and videos by Rosemary Gladstar and Susun Weed, as well as various internet posts. I encourage you to do your own research. Before trying any herbal remedy, consult a physician or certified medical professional to make sure it is safe for you to use.)
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