Yarrow

I’ve always been attracted to this plant. The first thing I ever learnt about it I read in a book about native (to the UK that is) wild flowers. It also landed me in what could have been to others a mess and what turned out to be an embarrassment to my school, but look at all the monkeys I give about embarrassing my school!! (In sensible words that just means I don’t care.) We were on a medieval day trip and one of their actors was telling us about the wall he was building in the castle. One of the teachers made a remark about the large tankard he was drinking from being ale of some sort and the awesome actor guy said it was actually yarrow tea, to keep him healthy and strong. To this I couldn’t help saying something along the lines of “I hope you didn’t pick that yourself, for picking yarrow will make you feminine and beautiful”, and something else about magic or witchcraft I can’t remember. For the rest of the day I was dubbed ‘the witch’. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, my history teacher was worried about how a year 7 came across such a thing. Haha The very same history teacher told me I wasn’t allowed to cast tarot in school. :/ Reasonable, actually. School is not a very appropriate place for tarot. It was my friends who were the most peeved because they ended up not being able to get tarot readings!! XD

Traditional Uses

Yarrow was said to have grown from the rust from Achilles spear when he was healing the wound of a fellow warrior. (and just thinking about that sent my mind off in a whir about Brad Pitt… ) It was once known as ‘nose bleed’, for its ability to stop bleeding. It has been used in salves and ointments for millenia to treat wounds. It also contains salicylic acid, one of the most traditional headache cures.

Uses Today

I would like to say a lot of science will back this up but I can’t find vast amounts of research into the herb. Yarrow is effective for flu and fevers; make a tea with yarrow, peppermint and elderflower for the best mix of effects. Yarrow is still considered effective for both internal and external bleeding. It is also said to help with menstrual problems, as is nettle so if one doesn’t work try the other. Yarrow is also a bitter tonic, which means it aids digestion and appetite.

I don’t know much about gardening it because it’s not a popular plant in gardens in my area so I’ve only been growing it since last year. I noticed some uprooted by someone skidding through a hedge. What are the chances? So I rescued it and put it in my garden… being a wild plant I’m not entirely sure if that’s legal (…?). Anyway, I thought it had died last year and forgot about it. So when I saw these little feathery leaves growing up I thought they might be another weed that I’d left in. Out of curiosity I left them alone, to see what they’d grow into. It was only on Sunday when I was writing the blog about Yellow Dock that I remembered what I’d planted! Lucky I didn’t uproot them!

Despite having hardly ever used it, this is one of my favourite herbs. I just feel very much drawn to it.

Yarrow Info

The tiny white flowers grow in little bunches on the end of tall green stalks. It has feathery leaves and grows in meadows and sometimes in verges and hedges. It’s native to humid countries and spreads easily by root. Pick and dry aerial parts (leaves, stalks, flowers) in the summer, but all of the plant can be used for remedies.

A touch of Witchcraft

This is an air element plant. It’s also attributed to the Goddess Venus, which is most likely why picking it is said to make you beautiful. (I’ll try find the original poem which is meant to be said as you pick it… there was something about lips as sweet as strawberries and full round hips…) It is also attributed to Mars, probably because of its great uses on the battlefield. (When both these deities come together, typically this means great passion!) Used with other herbs, its said to boost all love magic and divining with it will tell you if your love is true, or your true love’s name. Yarrow stalks were once used in I-ching instead of coins. Throw into a fire to add to pyromancy or any divination ritual with a bonfire. Add some to your dream pillow for prophetic dreams.

IF USING THIS HERB FROM THE WILD, MAKE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE PICKING. IF IN DOUBT, REFRAIN!

Rowan

x~x

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Deborah DeLong
    May 16, 2012 @ 17:16:30

    I always have yarrow growing in my yard!! 🙂

    Reply

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