Overview

The Yarrow flower (Achillea millefolium) is a flowering plant in the family of Asteraceae. It Yarrow-Herb-Flowers_Achillea-millefolium__IMG_4824_cris natively grown in the northern hemisphere’s template regions of North America, Europe and Asia. It is sometimes called common yarrow. In southern Colorado and New Mexico, it is referred to as “plumajillo”, a Spanish word for little flower due to the shape and texture of its leaves. Due to its use for stanching blood flow from the wounds, it was known as herbal militaris in antiquity. The other common names used to refer to this specie include: nosebleed plant, gordaldo, old man’s pepper, sanguinary, devil’s nettle, milfoil, thousand-seal and soldier’s woundwort.

Plant description

The plant has flowers which are rarely pinkish, Grayish-white and in a compound cluster which is hard, closed and flat-topped. It has over 4 to 6 ray florets. It’s leafy and hairy stem is erect from the horizontal root stalk and about 1-2 ft high. The leaves are dissected finely and narrowly oblong in the outline.

It usually grows in wastelands, on roadsides, banks and dry fields. Its flowering season is from June to November.

Historical uses

The Yarrow flower (Achillea millefolium) has a long history for use as a strong healing herb for wounds, abrasions and cuts. The dried stalks are used in I Ching divination as a randomizing agent. In the Middle Ages, this plant was part of gruit; the herbal mixture which was used for flavoring beer.

The Yarrow flower has been used as food and in the 17th century, it was a popular vegetable. The essential oil extracted from the flowers by steam distillation can be used in chest rubs for influenza and colds or as an anti inflammatory.

The North American Natives considered the herb to be a life medicine, used to treat earaches and tooth aches. The Native American tribes such as that of Miwok used the plant as a pain killer and head cold remedy.

The leaves of Yarrow were smoked to relieve congestion of the lungs and also smoked in ceremonies. The tea from the leaves was used for bathing babies that were having convulsions. They also used to be burned so as to revive comatose patients and repelling of evil spirits.

Methods of Use

Cultivation
Many nurseries cultivate it as an ornamental plant. It can be planted in natural landscaping and gardens settings of diverse styles and climates. It is very common in butterfly gardens. Even though it grows better in well drained soils in full sun, it can also do well in conditions that are less ideal.

Companion planting

The Achillea millefolium is considered to be great companion plant due to its ability to repel certain insect pests whilst attracting the ones that are good and predatory. Some of the predatory insects include wasps which drink the nectar and then use the insect pests as food for their larvae. It also helps to improve the quality of the soil. Plants planted close to it can benefit from it directly.

Agriculture

Due to its resistance to drought, the Achillea millefolium can combat soil erosion.

Making of Yarrow tea

Fresh or dried leaves and flowers are steeped in a non aluminum pot with a tightly fitted lid for about 20 minutes. Two teaspoons of the herb in one cup of freshly boiled water can be taken in between meals at intervals.

Brewing

It is used for brewing alcohols such as wine and beer.

Medicinal Benefits

Due to its astringent properties, it encourages tightening and constricting of the muscles and skins, thus leading to shrinkage of the spores, reduction of the visibility of scars. It is mixed in a number of skin care products due to its ability to treat acne and several other skin conditions.
It is well-known for reducing swelling and inflammation of wounds and injuries.
Women with menstrual problems can get relief when they ingest yarrow on a regular basis.
Yarrow can effectively lower high blood pressure.

Effects

The sedative properties of this herb enable it to alleviate muscle tension, fatigue, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety, stress and hot flushes.
It is used as a natural hair growth stimulant in both women and men.
The diuretic properties of Yarrow flower (Achillea millefolium) enable it to reduce high body temperatures and fever.
It is commonly used as a stimulant for appetite when it is ingested.
Smoked as a tobacco substitute and is sometimes used to aid quitting of smoking.
It is an excellent ingestion remedy when it is taken before or during a meal.

Side effects

It can cause allergies in people with sensitive skins that suffer from Asteraceae-family related allergies.
Some of its contents can be toxic over an extended time period.
It shouldn’t be used or ingested by pregnant women.


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