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ID
  
 
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Yarrow
Asteraceae
Achillea millefolium


Thunder
Thunder
Flower Petal # 5
Main Color    
Color 2    
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb


Asteraceae Family

Achillea Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Milfoil, Old Man's Pepper, Soldier's Woundwort, Knight's Milfoil, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter's Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed


Location

Native to Europe and Asia. Naturalized in North America and most other countries throughout the world. Yarrow is very common along roadsides and in old fields, pastures, and meadows in the eastern and central United States and Canada

Physical Description
Yarrow grows from 10 to 20 inches high, a single stem, fibrous and rough, the leaves alternate, 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch broad, larger and rosette at the base, clasping the stem, bipinnatifid, the segments very finely cut, fern-like, dark-green, giving the leaves a feathery appearance. The flowers are several bunches of flat-topped panicles consisting of numerous small, white flower heads. Each tiny flower resembling a daisy. The whole plant is more or less hairy, with white, silky appressed hairs. Flowers bloom from May to August. Gather stem, leaves and flower heads in bloom, dry for later herb use. Dry herb edible as a spice or flavoring, strong sage flavor


Compare Species
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Asteraceae
Asterales
Asterales
Star Order (Daisies)
Euasterids II
Euasterids II
Real Stars Group Two
Asteridae
Asteridae
Class of Stars (Daisies)
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

The purple portion of the root from the white yarrow plant is a natural numbing agent when crushed. Native Americans would often chew this portion of the plant if they had painful open sores in their mouth.

In Roman times it was called herba militaris and much valued for treating wounds.

Medicinal Uses: Yarrow is a very valuable medicinal herb, with much scientific evidence of use in alternative medicine as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, stimulant, and tonics, vasodilator and vulnerary. Yarrow is used against colds, cramps, fevers, kidney disorders, toothaches, skin irritations, and hemorrhages, and to regulate menses, stimulate the flow of bile, and purify the blood. Medicinal tea is a good remedy for severe colds and flu, for stomach ulcers, amenorrhea, abdominal cramps, abscesses, trauma and bleeding, and to reduce inflammation.

The Highlanders still make an ointment from it, which they apply to wounds, and Milfoil tea is held in much repute in the Orkneys for dispelling melancholy.

Food Uses: Leaves - raw or cooked. A rather bitter flavor, they make an acceptable addition to mixed salads and are best used when young. The leaves are also used as a hop-substitute for flavoring and as a preservative for beer etc. Although in general yarrow is a very nutritious and beneficial plant to add to the diet, some caution should be exercised. See the notes on possible toxicity. An aromatic tea is made from the flowers and leaves. An essential oil from the flowering heads is used as a flavoring for soft drinks

Other Notes:It was one of the herbs dedicated to the Evil One, in earlier days, being sometimes known as Devil's Nettle, Devil's Plaything, Bad Man's Plaything, and was used for divination in spells.

The most authentic way to cast the Yi Jing uses dried yarrow stalks. The stems are said to be good for divining the future.

In China, it is said that it grows around the grave of Confucious. Chinese proverbs claim that yarrow brightens the eyes and promotes intelligence.

In the 1500s, the British herbalist John Gerard recommended it for relieving "swelling of those secret parts."

Some people believed that you could determine the devotion of a lover by poking a yarrow leaf up your nostril and twitching the leaf while saying, "Yarroway, Yarroway, bear a white blow: if my love loves me, my nose will bleed now." (Yarrow is a nasal irritant, and generally causes the nose to bleed if inserted).

Homer tells us that the centaur Chiron, who conveyed herbal secrets to his human pupils, taught Achilles to use yarrow on the battle grounds of Troy. Achilles is said to have used it to stop the bleeding wounds of his soldiers. For centuries it has been carried in battle because of its magical as well as medicinal properties.

Yarrow is native in the Orient. Oriental tradition assured mountain wanderers that where the yarrow grew neither tigers nor wolves nor poisonous plants would be found.

Nursery rhymes say if you put a yarrow sachet under your pillow, you will dream of your own true love. If you dream of cabbages (the leaves do have a similar scent), then death or other serious misfortune will strike.

Shakers used yarrow for complaints from hemorrages to flatulence.

Navajo Indians consider it to be a "life medicine", and chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches.

Several tribes of the Plains region of the United States used common yarrow. The Pawnee used the stalk for pain relief. The Chippewa used the leaves for headaches by inhaling it in a steam. They also chewed the roots and applied the saliva to their appendages as a stimulant. The Cherokee drank a tea of common yarrow to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep.

During the excavation of a 40,000-60,000 year old Neanderthal tomb, pollen from yarrow (among other herbs) was found.

Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the flowers.

Cultivation: Succeeds in most soils and situations but prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position. Shade tolerant. Plants live longer when grown in a poor soil and also do well on lime. Established plants are very drought tolerant, they can show distress in very severe droughts but usually recover. It remains green after grass has turned brown in a drought. Plants succeed in maritime gardens. The plant has a very spreading root system and is usually quite invasive. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. Yarrow is an excellent plant for growing in lawns, meadows, orchards etc., it is tolerant of repeated close cutting and of being walked on. It works to improve the soil fertility. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. 'Pink' (syn. 'Rosea') has very aromatic foliage and deep pink flowers. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus

Propagation: Seed - sow spring or early autumn in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the divisions can be planted direct into their permanent positions. Divisions succeed at any time of the year. Basal cuttings of new shoots in spring. Very easy, collect the shoots when they are about 10cm tall, potting them up individually in pots and keeping them in a warm but lightly shaded position. They should root within 3 weeks and will be ready to plant out in the summer

Companion Planting: Yarrow has insect repelling qualities and is an excellent fertilizer. Add a handful of yarrow to the compost to speed up decomposition. Also attracts predatory wasps and ladybugs. Increases essential oil content of nearby herbs.

The growing plant repels beetles, ants, and flies. The plant has been burnt in order to ward off mosquitoes. A liquid plant feed can be made from the leaves. You fill a container with the leaves and then add some water. Leave it to soak for a week or two and then dilute the rather smelly dark liquid, perhaps 10 - 1 with water though this figure is not crucial. This plant is an essential ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost.

A very good companion plant, it improves the health of plants growing nearby and enhances their essential oil content thus making them more resistant to insect predations





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