The Cleansing and Healing Benefits of Yarrow
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), is commonly known as Bloodwort, Thousand-leaf, and Milefolia (in Spanish). Yarrow was made famous by Achilles himself during his battle for the Conquest of Troy. Lore says he used the benefits of yarrow to stop the bleeding of his soldiers. To this day, yarrow is still used externally for bleeding wounds.
This isn’t where its benefits stop. One of the most common drugs of choice in England for reducing fevers used to be quinine, but it was often replaced by yarrow for more mild ailments.
The Chinese have said that yarrow grows around the grave of Confucius, due to its importance. The Indigenous Piute (in what is now known as Utah and Nevada) and the Navajo (the largest tribe in North American to include northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah) all referred to yarrow as “wound medicine” and “life medicine.” Such a long and diverse history for such a small plant!
Healing Benefits of Yarrow
This herb has many uses. It naturally increases body temperatures during times of illness, without spiking fevers, along with stimulating free perspiration. This makes it helpful during colds and fevers. It has also been used over the centuries as a virus inhibitor and can break up a cold within 24 hours, if you don’t delay using it.
Yarrow can balance the function of the liver and pancreas, purify the blood of “morbid” waste materials, and assist our natural ability to remove congestion and various ‘diseases’ from the body. While removing congestion, yarrow has a very soothing and healing effect on the mucous membranes. So appreciated when you get that dry hacking cough!
Yarrow’s Nutritional Herbology and Effects on the Body
What’s the nutritional herbology of Yarrow? Along with being very high in chromium and tin (the natural kind our bodies need), it is also surprisingly high in natural fats (when fresh), potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, and vitamin C. Many of these are amazing for the immune system!
So, what effect does Yarrow have on the body?
- Alterative: Cleansing, stimulating efficient removal of waste products
- Antibacterial: Destroys or stops the growth of bacterial infections
- Anti-inflammatory: Reduces inflammation in the body
- Antiseptic: Combats and neutralizes pathogenic bacteria and prevents infection
- Antispasmodic: Prevents or relieves spasms
- Astringent: Has a constricting or binding effect (think of those battle wounds on Achilles’ soldiers)
- Diaphoretic: Causes perspiration and increases the elimination through the skin
- Digestant: Aids digestion, usually by providing enzymes from various sources
- Hemostatic: Stops the bleeding
- Stimulant: Increases internal heat, dispels internal chills, and strengthens the metabolism and circulation
- Stomachic: Strengthens stomach function
- Styptic: Contracts blood vessels
- Tonic: Restoring, nourishing, and supporting for the entire body
- Vulnerary: Assists in healing wounds by protecting against infection and stimulating cell growth
Over the years I have used the benefits of Yarrow for a variety of conditions:
- Bleeding wounds, deep & cutting wounds
- Viral infections, fevers, and general malaise during flu season! Especially with Influenza like we have now.
- Stomach issues such as loss of appetite, Indigestion, IBS, UC, and diarrhea, in some cases
- Menstrual conditions
- Urinary issues such as spasms and urine retention
CAUTION: Not recommended with pregnancy, bradycardia, nephritis, if currently taking any kind of anticoagulants, or if you are allergic to sesquiterpenes (found in the daisy family of plants)
Getting the Most Out of Yarrow
Now, while Yarrow is a wonderful herb, don’t get crazy with it, or really any herb. Our diets play a huge role in our health and should be our starting point. Think nutrient density, fiber, water, and physical exercise.
Each of us has a different story, so our current health depends on the person and the situation. If you have some health issues, ask your ND, Herbalist, or practitioner about using Yarrow or other herbs you are unsure of. They will be able to guide you about what works best for you. Remember, you can always set up a consultation with me here.
Or, if you want some quick benefits, try out these teas!
Cold & Flu Tea: This tea is great for the whole family, and necessary to have on hand during Cold & Flu season! It’s a gentle antibacterial and antiviral blend to promote wellbeing. Get it here.
Sniffle Blocker Tea: Winter is still here! This powerful, yet soothing, blend of herbs is a go-to to fight off seasonal bugs. It’s great as a daily tea and gentle enough for long term use, so you can block those sniffles before they happen. Try it here.
*For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. (Because why would we want to do that?)