Yarrow: Weed or Medicine For The Soil and Our Bodies?

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is an amazingly useful plant in the garden and in the home, although it’s commonly considered a weed and often ripped out. I was out wandering in my garden today and drawn to the lush new growth and abundance of flowers. 

I have yarrow planted close to my verandah, in my medicinal herb section. I was aware it had great medicinal benefits but to be honest, I haven’t being using it this way much.  I regularly harvest young leaves for salads and soups (apparently it was a very popular vegetable in the 17th century.)

I have mostly been using Yarrow, a hardy perennial from Eurasia, as a plant to benefit the garden system as a whole:

I have read too that it can be grown to clean up contaminated soil (lead), but in this case of course, you would need to dispose of and not use it for food, mulch, compost or medicine. 

I can't believe that for so many years however I've been largely overlooking Yarrow’s full benefits because I had been seeing it with gardener’s eyes. I decided it was time to find out more. 

Today, science credits yarrow for its benefits to almost every organ in the body. Ancients knew - yarrow was one of the earliest herbs used as a medicine. It was found in a Neanderthal burial site in Iraq from around 60,000 BC. There’s a myth that yarrow was given to Achilles by the centaur Chiron so he could use it on the battlefield. Its Latin name, Achillea millefollium, reflects this tale. Roman soldiers too took it with them to the battlefield too.  Common names include soldier’s woundwort, herba militaris, Knight’s milfoil, carpenter’s grass and nosebleed.

Below is a summary of what I gleaned from my research about it's medicinal benefits. I'd be very interested in hearing how you use Yarrow.

For Wounds 

Yarrow’s most famous and most ancient use is for wounds, typically as a poultice. It can:

For children

For Skin

For Women

For Colds and Flu

For Allergies

For Pain Relief

For Circulation

For Digestion:

For Urinary Systems:


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