Do you want to learn all about Yarrow? We have some great information for you.
Yarrow the Cold and Flu herb.
I first became interested in yarrow after hearing a quote from Brigham Young where he said “Fortunate is the person who knows how to use Yarrow in the Last days.” He is not the only one who has recommended yarrow for use, Dr. John Christopher, a well known herbalist and author of School of Natural Healing herbal reference guide said, “The home without yarrow will have death there-in when the plagues come.” Claudia Orgill author of Beyond Wheat and Weeds has put out a recipe for red plague that has yarrow as one of the ingredients, find the recipe here. Yarrow is an easy plant to recognize, so after learning that it was an essential herb for the last days I began to research it.
What is Yarrow and how do we recognize it?
*Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a hardy perennial and a potent medicinal herb. It is native to temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. it has finely divided, feathery looking leaves. Umbellate shaped flowering tops have numerous white 5-petaled flowers with yellow stamens. They are clustered on a long straight stalk. It’s pretty flowers attract beneficial insects to your garden, and the young leaves are edible, so you can add them to your salads. Early in the year the tender feathery leaves of Yarrow appear low on the ground, by the roadside, in meadows, pastures and just about everywhere. As the year progresses the flower shoot appears and the soft leaves become tougher. In June the first flower heads develop; pretty white clusters of flowers. Cultivated varieties can have different colored flowers, usually various shades of yellow, orange, pink, purple, and red.
According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
“Yarrow is a long-stemmed member of the sunflower family found in the wild throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It can be recognized by its highly segmented leaves (millefolium literally means “thousand leaves”), and the clusters of daisy-like white flowers at the top of the stalk.”
Yarrow grows abundantly in the mountain west. I have it growing all over my farm and often see it when I hike in the mountains. It will take over any area you plant it in, so give it room. When looking for this plant watch for the bottom leaves, they are fern like as shown in the following photo.
You can harvest from the wild or order seeds to plant and grow in an herb bed, or order the dried herb from a reputable source like Starwest botanicals or Mountain Rose Herbs, or Western Botanicals. NO mater the color of the flower all varieties are medicinal.
How To Grow It:
Yarrow is a perennial that grows best in hardiness zones 3-9. It will grow to 36-inches high and produce white flowers. It’s also easy to collect yarrow seeds after the flower heads have died, and sow them around your garden. Or you can buy seeds from Baker Creek, or Annie’s Heirloom Seeds Sow into the ground in early spring, or start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost. Yarrow thrives even in poor soil, but it does not like soil that stays too damp. The plant is easy to grow, and will survive, if not thrive, in many conditions, though like most plants, it would be happiest with full sun and well-drained soil. It does spread fairly readily, though not so fast that you can’t keep up.
Harvesting and Drying Yarrow:
All parts of yarrow are useful. The flower is most commonly used and should be gathered when it is fully open and but not yet turning brown or yellowish. The flower is higher in aromatic oils, whereas the leaves are higher in tannins. Leaves can be harvested any time of year but is most potent in spring and early summer. The root is used for pain including toothaches and is best harvested in fall.
When you find the flowering plants you can cut at the base or pull up the whole plant. Then gather it into bundles with an elastic or string at the bottom of the plant and hang it to dry away from direct sun light. You could also place the flowers or leaves loosely into a paper grocery bag and let dry, or let sit on a cookie sheet or in a basket. After the herb is dry remove the flower and leaf from the stem.
Medicinal use of Yarrow:
Yarrow does a lot of different things and can be used in a lot of different situations. As soon as I feel symptoms of a cold or flu, I make a tea and drink it throughout the day until symptoms subside. To make the tea use 1 tsp. to 1 tbs. per cup of water. Yarrow is a bitter herb, so I usually mix it with elder flower and peppermint to improve the taste, using equal quantities of these herbs. You can sweeten with raw honey. You need to drink at least 3 cups per day for the best results. Make sure you have a minimum of 1 tsp. of yarrow per cup of water. If you begin treatment soon enough you can prevent catching the illness, if not continue taking the tea through out the illness and continue for a couple of days after. This will shorten the illness and lesson the severity of the symptoms. It is also good for sore throats and is a decongestant, use for any condition with chills, constant nasal drip, congestion or mucous, or sensations of alternate cold and heat. Treat early and treat often.
Yarrow is an all purpose wound healer, which is why it is a common ingredient for herbal salves. You could also make a poultice out of the leaves and put it directly on a minor wound. It will help to stop bleeding for minor wounds. Combine that with pain relieving and antibacterial properties and you have one powerful herb for cuts and scrapes. Use it for any inflammatory skin conditions. It can be used for rashes, itching or swelling. Yarrow is very soothing to sore skin. It has natural anti inflammatory properties that help with infection.
Use for any disease with skin eruptions like chicken pox or small pox. Take internally as a tea, and externally as a wash to help heal sores, dry up pus and fight infection.
Because Yarrow has pain relieving qualities it can help alleviate menstrual cramps. Drink tea 3 times a day. Yarrow also improves circulation and digestion and is great for the reproductive system as it balances women’s monthly cycles. IT can also be used for female yeast infections.
Yarrow can be used to stop hemorrhaging. It is often used with shepherds purse, another handy herb to help stop bleeding. Yarrow stops the bleeding instantly, with a large quickly formed clot, while Shepherds purse creates smaller clots that aren’t at risk of breaking loose like a large clot is.
use as a Fever Reducer during illness, it allows the pores to open up and induce sweating, so it will make you sweat or break a fever, whichever is needed. If you are sick with any infectious disease, or have a viral illness, you should be doing something with yarrow. Yarrow is a powerful virus inhibitor. It is great for upset stomach and intestinal issues. Drink hot tea to break a fever.
It relieves kidney problems; infections and mucous from the bladder. Use it when you need to pass gallstones or kidney stones.
Yarrow relieves joint soreness and stiffness caused by gout.
From the book Herbs to Know Kathy says “If I had just one herb to always keep with me to treat illness and wounds, or whatever ails me, It would be yarrow. . . It is easy to identify, very versatile in the conditions it treats, and can be found almost anywhere. Yarrow has been called the soldier’s Wound Wort because it takes care of all the needs a soldier might have. It is an anticeptic and it knits wounds closed. . . It is great for fighting infections such as colds and flu. Because it is a drying herb, it is great for head colds, bronchitis as it clears excess mucus from the lungs and the nasal passages. It is also good for stomach and intestinal upsets. . . It helps with skin rashes and chapping… it has been used to disinfect water when no other sources were available. Yarrow is my favorite herb.”
How to prepare the herb for use:
To make tea use; 1 tsp – 1 Tbs of the dried herb per cup of water. Heat the water to boiling. Let cool a touch, add the herb or herbs and let steep covered for 20 min. I always add others herbs to yarrow tea because yarrow is very bitter and adding a little peppermint improves the taste. I then sweeten with some raw honey to taste. Brigham Young’s favorite children’s remedy for colds and flu and reducing fever was yarrow, elder flower, and peppermint combined in a tea. Make sure you have at least 1 tsp of yarrow per cup of water for your tea. Remember to always cover the tea when steeping it.
Tea can also be used as a wash. Just make the tea without the sweetener, let cool, strain, and soak a cloth in the tea, apply to the skin where needed.
Alcohol tincture: To make your tincture with alcohol you will use a glass jar, fill it loosely with the herb, then poor 80 or 100 proof vodka over the herb until it is completely covered. This should be a ratio of about 1:10 by weight. That is 1 part herb to 10 parts vodka. Stir or shake well and sit in a place out of direct sunlight. Always check your tincture after 24 hours to make sure all the herb is covered with liquid. Any exposed parts will probably mold and ruin the entire batch. Add more alcohol at anytime if the mixture looks dry or if some of the herb is sticking up out of the liquid. Let it sit for 2 weeks, shaking it every day. Then strain and discard the herb. The discarded herb can be added to your compost. You can use an ordinary kitchen strainer or a cheese cloth to strain the herb. A tincture stored in a cool place in a glass jar will keep indefinitely, remaining as potent as the day you made it. Use a plastic lid if possible to avoid evaporation and corrosion on the lid. This can be put in amber dropper bottles for use. Your dose will be in drops, not teaspoons, usually 10-20 drops. After an alcohol tincture is made it will last forever. They are easier to administer and are more convenient than tea. When using a tincture get a couple of tablespoons of hot tap water, add 10-20 drops of the tincture and drink it down. The hot water burns off the alcohol. It is best to take the tincture with food as to prevent an upset stomach. Depending on the severity of the problem, tinctures should be taken 2-5 times per day.
This funnel set also comes in handy when filling your tincture bottles. Stainless steel funnel set
It is recommended that you use non-synthetic vegetable glycerin. Never use a glycerin made from animal by-products. Glycerin has the ability to break down and remove certain chemicals and preservatives from the body. The sweet flavor makes it especially appropriate to use for children. When diluted, glycerin is demulcent, emollient, soothing and healing. undiluted it is an irritant and difficult to use because it is so thick. Glycerin tinctures only have a shelf life of 1-3 years. To make a glycerin tincture you will need to dilute the glycerin with distilled water, use 60% glycerin to 40% water. If some alcohol is tolerable use 10% alcohol 50% glycerin and 40 % water.
To make a glycerin tincture use a ratio of 1:10, that is 1 part herb to 10 parts diluted glycerin. Stir the glycerin and water together thoroughly first, then place the herb and liquid in a canning jar. Place a tight lid on the jar and cold pack can it, like you would do when canning fruit. The water needs only come to the neck of the jar. Leave the caner with the water lightly boiling for 2 hours. Remove the lid a couple of times while it is cooking to stir the tincture. Remove the jar from the water and let cool. Strain and store the same as an alcohol tincture. Glycerin is a heavy medium, even diluted, and with a tight fitting lid the medical properties cannot dissipate into the air. Tinctures made this way are very potent and effective. Glycerin tinctures have the advantage of being ready to use in a few hours instead of two week. This is a great advantage.
I use this vegetable glycerin.
To make a soaked oil place the herb in a glass jar and cover with olive oil. Let sit for 2-4 weeks. Strain and use as needed. Other quality oil could be used instead of olive or as a combination or more than one.
To make a salve use 1 part beeswax to 3 parts soaked oil. Place in a glass jar, inside a sauce pan, heat the pan on medium heat until the wax is melted. Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools. Add a small amount of vitamin E oil (optional). Keep a lit on the salve when not in use. This is great for skin conditions and wounds. Use as needed.
To make a poultice, chew or grind the leaf and pack it on the wound. Cover with a bandage, change at least twice daily.
Caution: Yarrow should be used with caution during pregnancy, or as part of a blend. Excessive use has been known to cause spotting, and the astringent qualities can make it a mild aborficent. Use with caution.
Other Uses for Yarrow:
Yarrow is a nutrient accumulator. According to Edible Forest Gardens, its deep roots mine the subsoil for potassium, phosphorus, and copper, making yarrow a nutrient-rich mulch. Yarrow is often grown in fruit tree guilds to enhance fruit production.Yarrow can also be chopped and used as mulch around the garden, or added to the compost bin to boost its nutrient content.
I want to thank Machelle Littlefield at the Healers Art for all the information she shared with me about herbs. I am grateful that she put together a group order for herbs and put together an Herb Binder that I have found very useful.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one. None of my statements have
been evaluated by the FDA. Do your own research before trusting mine. Pray and ask the Father if the information here in is true and how you should use it. Trust in him and all will be well.