ACHILLES MILLEFOLIUM, BETTER KNOWN AS YARROW
Yarrow was named after the Greek Hero Achilles, who used this herb to aid the healing of his wounded soldiers. The legend goes that Achilles was dipped into the River Styx to make him immortal. He was held by his heel, which is why that part of his body (not dipped of course) was the most vulnerable.
Achilles heel refers to a weakness despite overall strength, which could lead to a downfall.
The word Millefolium means, a thousand leaves.
Also known historically as “Carpenters Herb” as carpenters would always carry some in their pouches with them in the event that they were cut or wounded, they would have the herb ready to come to their aid and stop bleeding.
THE MAIN POINTS
- Perennial plant, once you have Yarrow, you are assured to have this beautiful plant for many years
- The whole plant can be used for medicine (roots, stems, leaves and flowers)
- Clots blood and stops bleeding and can be used as a poultice onto wounds
- Yarrow root has analgesic properties, known to stop and numb pain
- Yarrow is a female herb that acts as relief for painful menses or to reduce excessive menstrual bleeding
Young leaves can be eaten in salad, I found the following recipe online about cooking with yarrow. I love pasta and think this recipe does look delicious.
Penne Aglio Olio with Yarrow
- 8 oz dried penne, finest quality available (look for masciarelli or rustichella pasta, they’re by far my favorite, although spendy)
- 4 tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper, or more depending on how much you like spicy food
- a large handful of yarrow, leaves picked from the stem and chopped to yield 2 tsp
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 4 anchovy fillets in oil, rinsed and chopped (optional, but I recommend it)
- Parmesan for serving
Make a pile of the yarrow and crushed red pepper flakes, then mince them together finely. Bring a pot of water to a boil and season it with salt until the water tastes like the sea. Add the penne and cook until al dente, the time of which may vary depending on the brand of pasta you use. High quality Italian dried pasta will take longer to cook than something like Creamette. While the pasta is cooking, heat the garlic in the pan with the oils and chopped anchovy on low heat until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned. Do not allow the garlic to burn. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl it for a minute to cool the pan so that the wine doesn’t explode grease all over your face. Add the wine to the pan. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the pan. Toss the pasta to coat with the oil and cook for a minute to evaporate any raw wine flavor. To finish the dish, add the yarrow-chilli mixture and toss just to heat through. Transfer the pasta to each of 4 bowls, garnish with some parmesan and an extra drizzle of extra virgin oil if desired, then serve immediately with a big green salad.
You could also try your hand at making Yarrow Wine, although you do need quite a few flowering tops to make this wine.
- 1 gal yarrow flowering tops
- 2ź lbs finely granulated sugar
- 7 pts water
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- Sauterne wine yeast
Put water on to boil. Meanwhile, trim the larger stems from the flower heads and put the flowers in a primary. Add sugar and juice of the orange and lemon. Pour boiling water in primary and stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature. Add activated yeast and recover primary. After 5 days, strain and discard flowers. Continue fermentation until specific gravity drops to 1.015. Rack to secondary and attach airlock. Rack, top up and reattach airlock after 6 weeks. Repeat after additional 6 weeks. Stabilize, sweeten to taste and set aside 2 weeks. Rack into bottles and age 6 months before tasting. [Adapted recipe from Leo Zanelli’s Home Winemaking from A to Z]
To make a cup of yarrow tea, chop one or two leaves of fresh yarrow and steep for 10-15 minutes in a cup of boiled water. You can drink up to three times a day to break a fever, drink tea hot.
Always remember when making anything with wildflowers or weeds, they should be free from pesticides!
Yarrow's Tiny Flowers
I have first heard of Yarrow on a podcast “Ask Herbal Health Expert Susun Weed” and as I am an avid listener to her teachings, I set out to make my very first herbal tincture with Yarrow. When I started listening to Susun, I was unaware of the medicinal properties of herbs and admittedly had no idea what the herbs she spoke of looked like. As we move in circles and meet people from all over, I was fortunate to have met an avid gardener that not only grew Yarrow, he was happy to invite me to harvest fresh herbs from his garden.
IF you are interested in learning about making your own herbal tinctures for safe and affordable healing, I can recommend following Susun’s podcast on a weekly basis. I think for me the most exciting part of the learning is that I am often able to identify the herb that she would recommend for healing situations.
As a powder can be used to stop bleeding wounds. Harvest Yarrow after the flowers are open and when they are still vibrant looking, tie them in small bunches and dry upside down away from direct sunlight. Leaves can be harvested any time of the year. Roots are always harvested in autumn. Only the white variety is used for medicine, so be sure that you have the correct species before you harvest or use for medicine.
Tinctures are created by adding fresh or dried plant matter into alcohol to extract the medicinal properties of the herb and to preserve the medicine for later use. Yarrow tincture can be used in the following ways:
1. As effective treatment for urinary infections
2. As an effective treatment for colds and flu
3. To bring on delayed menstruation
4. Sooth painful menstruation cramps and reduce excessive bleeding
5. Inducing a cooling sweat to bring down fevers
6. As a mouth rinse, yarrow can also be used to brush your teeth
7. It is effective as an insect repellent, though it does require multiple applications
Yarrow New Blooms
Yarrow's 'Thousand' Leaves
The flower essence of Yarrow can be used for physical and spiritual protection, especially to clarifying boundaries. It is specifically for those who are easily influenced or drained by others or their environments. It acts to strengthen and solidify the self, allowing for enhancing abilities to heal, teach, or counsel, and to follow their chosen paths.
FOLKTALE AND MAGIC ALIKE
Yarrow has been found amongst other herbs in a Neanderthal burial site, dating back to around 60 000 BC.
It is said that Yarrow protects the wearer, and when held in the hand, it stops all fear and grants courage. Yarrow used in wedding decorations ensured love lasting at least seven years. Yarrow has been used in love spells. Carrying yarrow not only brings love but is also attracts friend and distant relations you wish to contact. It draws the attention of those you most want to see. The flowers are made into an infusion and the resulting tea is drunk to improve psychic powers. Yarrow is used to exorcising evil and negativity from a person, place or thing.
I am not an herbalist, nor do I claim to be. I am passionate about natural healing and I share what I have learned and how I personally use or apply the herbs in my own life.
You can make your own tinctures, which is quite easy to do, or you could find this herbal tincture in my online shop. http://inaturals.co.za/products/yarrow-tincture-20ml/. I will also have a Yarrow Flower Essence available soon.
In my experience, there is always a grumble about the cost of medical aid. It has become too easy to rely on the funding of medical aid and more often than not, our personal power of healing is given away. My own aim is to live a healthy lifestyle and to utilize the gifts nature has provided to us to heal our bodies naturally. You too can take back your power by learning about herbs and how they can keep you and your family healthy for less.
Do you have Yarrow growing near you in the wild? Do you grow Yarrow in your garden and do you use Yarrow for its medicinal properties?
Information was obtained, in no particular order from the following sites:
I have also used the following books:
- Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs