Yarrow: A Medicinal Herb with Countless Uses

Medicinal herbs

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a very common herb that has been used since ancient times for its benefits. Today, it can be found all over the world. It’s named for the Greek hero Achilles, who legend says used the herb to bind the wounds of his soldiers. Yarrow is easy to grow and thrives in sandy soils, and you may even find it growing wild as a weed. Yarrow flowers bloom in various colors, but generally have all of the same properties.

Flowering yarrow herb

Yarrow Growing Tips

Light is required for germination, and seeds are tiny, so barely press into soil and do not cover. 

Direct seed outdoors in fall or cold stratify seeds prior to starting indoors. 

Bottom water or mist seeds to prevent displacing seeds. 

Harden seedlings off after well-established and transplant to a spot with full sun and well-drained soil.

Days to germination: 14-28

Planting depth: 0

Plant Spacing: 18-24"

Soil Temperature: 65-75°Light Requirements: Full Sun

Is Yarrow Tea Good for You?

Yarrow tea is made from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the yarrow plant. Sometimes people use the root as well, which is best after a few years of growth. Yarrow tea is rich in antioxidants and nutrients, with Vitamins A and C, potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and niacin. It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Additionally, yarrow leaves and flowers make a nutritious and delicious addition to salads. 

Medicinal Uses of Yarrow

There are many studies on the medicinal benefits of yarrow, but most of them haven’t made it to human trials yet. Traditionally, yarrow has been used for the following: 

  • Topical application may help reduce bleeding in minor wounds and nosebleeds. 
  • Yarrow tea could be used as a sedative or relaxant to reduce anxiety and stress. 
  • Yarrow powder or infusions may help relieve digestive issues. 
  • Respiratory support for relief of symptoms of common colds and flu. 

How to Use Yarrow

Leaves and flowers can be steeped in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to make yarrow tea. Use about 1-2 teaspoons of yarrow in each cup of water. In addition to tea, yarrow can be ground into a fine powder or made into herbal remedies. Yarrow powder can be added to smoothies, juices, or foods for easy consumption. Ointments, tinctures, and extracts can be used topically on injuries.

Is Yarrow Safe?

While most people can use yarrow safely, there are a few people who should avoid its use. Consult your healthcare provider for personal advice about the safety of yarrow for your situation. Do not use yarrow if you have an allergy to plants in the ragweed family, as you may also be allergic to yarrow. It also has possible interactions with lithium, some blood thinning and high blood pressure medications, medicines to reduce stomach acid, and drugs that cause sleepiness or have a sedative effect. Lastly, pregnant and breastfeeding women should also use caution.

Other Benefits of Yarrow

Yarrow also provides benefits to the garden. It’s easy to grow, withstands both drought and rainy conditions, and it grows easily in poor soils. The scent of yarrow repels mosquitoes and deer, but its blooms attract pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden. The roots help with erosion control, and yarrow is an excellent companion plant that helps other plants resist disease. 

It’s easy to see why so many choose yarrow as their favorite “must-have” medicinal herb for their garden. We think you’ll fall in love with this wonderful plant!

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