Yarrow

Yarrow

achillea millefolium

Yarrow can be used externally on wounds and cuts, a great herb to stop bleeding. Every first-aid kit needs a yarrow tincture. It is also anti-inflammatory, and helps ease a headache or fever.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers, Stems & Leaves
  • Side Effects: Do not use in pregnancy
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About Yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an herbaceous flowering perennial plant that is affiliated to the Asteraceae family. This aromatic and legendary plant has been employed for centuries to treat pathological issues. Yarrow is considered as finest addition to the garden as it enriches the soil in its vicinity.

Yarrow is quickly identified by the mass of true white-colored flowers that can be found in a cluster of 15 to 40 tiny blooms. This extensively rhizomatous plant can give rise to numerous long stems that contain lovely, finely-divided leaves. The leaves are 2 to 8 inches long, feathery and are organized in a spiral fashion on the stem.

Yarrow leaves greatly compliment the soups and stews. Its leaves and other above the ground parts are availed in medicinal uses. It helps in reducing the fever, common cold, amenorrhea, diarrhea, dysentery, gastrointestinal disorders, loss of appetite, and toothache. Yarrow leaves are also used to prompt sweating and arrest the wound bleeding. Moreover, the leaves are hailed as a hero in managing the varicose veins, improvement of circulation, and normalizing blood pressure.

The unique feathery fern-like leaves have rendered it another name, millefoil. The yarrow plant is brimmed with many biologically active ingredients such as sesquiterpene lactones, polyacetylenes, achilleine, and flavonoids. Furthermore, the volatile oil of yarrow possesses chamazulene, other azulenes, tannins, coumarins, saponins, sterols, and salicylic acid.

Growing

The versatile yarrow plant should be planted after all the dangers of the frost have departed. Both seeds and divisions can be used for the plantation of yarrow in between spring and early summer.

Yarrow needs full sun exposure, hot and dry climate, and well-drained soil. If anything does not meet the standards of yarrow, the plant will not tolerate and will manifest a leggy growth.

Yarrow can be started both indoors and outdoors, but the pot must be placed in a region where full sun exposure can be achieved in an indoor frame. To give the plant a good start and witness an overenthusiastic growth, grow yarrow in overly rich soil. It will grow way too tall (2 to 4 feet high) and sometimes this over-aggressive growth is not desirable so some portion of poor soil can be incorporated in the soil mixture.

Above all, a month-long stratification in the refrigerator can account for a superb growth of the yarrows.

Although yarrow is drought tolerant, but a period of no or less rain in summer makes it hard for the plant to look beautiful. The faded flowers are obliged to be deadhead in mid-summers to bring back new clusters of beautiful flowers. Also, after every 3 years, the dead stems are eradicated to ensure the vigorous health and growth of the plant.

Yarrow seeds take 14 to 28 days to germinate on the onset of favorable conditions. If its demands are not fulfilled, the seeds can take more than 100 days to germinate. The herbal militaris grows healthily and blooms from mid-summer through mid-fall.

The beautiful and attractive blooms come in different colors like yellow, pink, and white. These vibrant colors become the reason for welcoming different pollinating insects to the garden to permit the initiation of pollination. The process of fertilization results in the formation of mono-seeded fruits, known as achenes. The process of reproduction does not cease here. The underground rhizomes bring about the process of vegetative reproduction which accounts for the growth of the new plants from the parent plants. 

The seeds of yarrow get dispersed by wind over a distance of 6.5 - 10 feet. The dispersion is held responsible for the undying lifecycle of yarrow.

Harvesting

The timeline of harvesting yarrow totally relies on the weather patterns. However, the flowering process rings the bells for the not so distant harvest. The aerial parts i.e. stems, leaves, and flowers are all of great importance in the sight of the herbalist.

Just when the plant begins to bloom, the tools are readied to embark on the journey of harvest. The flowers are waited to open completely as this action promises to seep the signature aroma in all the organs of the plant.

The time of the day also matters a lot. It is best to harvest yarrow in the late mornings, a time when all the remnants of dew have evaporated.


Yarrow flowers are snipped 2 to 3 inches above the ground, all the while leaving a handful of foliage behind for another round of growth.

The stalks and leaves can be harvested at the same time by directly going for the stalk. As they are thick, so the pruning shears must be sharp to get the job done!


The stems containing feathery foliage and vibrant looking flowers are hanged upside down in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated space that does not see direct sunlight. After the plant has completely dried, they are garbled and stored in an airtight glass jar for later use.

Usage

There are many ways to make the Soldier’s Woundwort a part of your routine.

  • Tincture-  Infuse fresh/dry flowers/leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place. 
  • Tea- Dried or fresh aerial parts of yarrow are infused in boiling water for at least 30 minutes. The herbs are strained and the liquid is consumed to treat various infections.
  • Decoction- Fresh or dried aerial parts are boiled and then simmered for twenty minutes in water. The decoction is strained through a nylon sieve and used.
  • Salve- Fresh or dried aerial parts of yarrow are used along with other ingredients (like beeswax and carrier oils) to form yarrow salve.
  • Syrup- Fresh or dried aerial parts of yarrow are combined with a sugar solution to form yarrow syrup.
  • Infused oil- Dried aerial parts of yarrow are infused in olive oil.