Yarrow

Achillea millefolium: In Greek mythology, Achilles was a demi-god, a hero, and the greatest warrior in all of Greece, for whom yarrow had special significance. In some interpretations of Homer’s Iliad Achilles is reputed to have used yarrow (also known as woundwort) to heal battle wounds in the Trojan war. Yarrow has been used as a blood coagulant, for pain relief, and as an antibiotic.

“The identification of yarrow with Achilles is old and strong, but elusive” (http://khkeeler.blogspot.com/2014/04/plant-story-yarrow-achillea-millefolium_6.html)

Yarrow is part of the Asteraceae or daisy family. It grows naturally in a range of habitats, including grasslands, open forests and alpine regions, throughout Europe, northern and western Asia, and most of North America.

  • Yarrow is a drought tolerant, hardy, perennial herb
  • Feathery leaves and many small white to pink flowers in flat clusters
  • Grows to 60cm
  • The low growing, spreading habit makes it useful as a groundcover
  • Can be planted to prevent soil erosion
  • Seeds germinate in 10-14 days at 18-22°C
  • Best grown in partial shade (to protect it from very hot summers)
  • Moist, well-drained soil (but can tolerate poor soil)
  • It can be susceptible to mildew

WARNING: Remember that yarrow has a lot of look-alikes! It can be misidentified with poison hemlock/water hemlock, tansy, queen anne’s lace and others! Always be certain of what you are looking at before you touch, smell, or ingest, and don’t be afraid to reference an experienced herbalist or researched text.

Yarrow with pink flowers

Uses:

  • Flowers and Insects
    • Ideal for encouraging beneficial insects, including ladybirds, hoverflies, bees, butterflies and predatory wasps
    • Cut flowers used in floral arrangements
  • Medicinal Properties
    • Blood coagulant- poultice or powder
    • Used sparingly in salad- very bitter taste!
    • Yarrow combined with equal amounts of peppermint and elder flower is a traditional tea used for colds and flu
  • Compost and soil improver
    • Biodynamics Compost Prep 502
      • Yarrow flowers are placed in a stag’s bladder
      • Stimulates potassium, silica and selenium activating bacteria and helps combine sulphur with other substances
      • Remedies weaknesses in flowering and fruiting and strengthens the plant against insect attack
    • Scatter a few yarrow leaves in layers through the compost bin help to activate and break down the compost

References:

https://www.mountainhedgewitch.com/theveilblog/monthly-wort-yarrow-part1

https://www.theseedcollection.com.au/Yarrow

https://greenharvest.com.au/SeedOrganic/HerbSeeds/Herbs.html

https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/herbs-for-fever/

https://biodynamics.net.au/product/yarrow-502-compost-preparation/