This week, we'll be looking into the medicinal world of yarrow. The Latin name for this plant is Achillea millefolium. Its other names include: Achilee, Band Man's Plaything, Bauchweh, Bloodwort, Carpenter's Weed, Common Yarrow, Devil's Nettle, Devil's Plaything, Green Arrow, Noble Yarrow, Nosebleed, Old Man's Pepper, Rajmari, Roga Mari, Sanguinary, Soldier's Wound Wort, Staunchweed, Thousand-Leaf, Wound Wort.
Yarrow derived it's Latin name from the Greek hero Achilles. His mother, Thetis, attempted to make her son invulnerable by dipping him into the river Styx. Afraid to let the infant go completely his heel remained vulnerable where his mother had held him, the part that has become known as the 'Achilles heel'. She also wished to make him immortal by the power of fire, but Achilles father, Peleus, disrupted her ritual and so she fled back to her father, leaving the infant to his father. Peleus gave him to Chiron who had a great reputation for educating young boys in the art of archery and healing. Achilles went on to become one of the greatest, and almost invincible warriors, but in the end he died of a mortal wound to his Achilles heel. He was said to be a great student of the healing arts and yarrow was his special ally. He used it to staunch the wounds of his fellow soldiers, thus yarrow became known as 'Militaris'.
Native Americans made broad use of yarrow. The stalk was chewed or stewed to induce sweating to “break” fevers and colds. They also pounded the stalks into a pulp to be applied to bruises, sprains, and swelling.
Yarrow is a common weed native to the Northern hemisphere. The plant commonly flowers from May through June. Common yarrow is frequently found in grasslands and open forests. Yarrow is an upright perennial that one to several steps up to 3 feet in height. Its leaves are evenly grown on its stem, with leaves at the middle and the base of the stem being the largest. Its flowers grow in clusters of daisy-like white or lavender flowers at the top of the stalk.
Yarrow has an ancient relationship with mankind, and has many uses, but yarrow's main effect and what it is most famous for is its ability to aid in the healing of wounds. Yarrow also helps with circulation, aiding in breaking fevers by causing sweating, and aiding in digestion.
Yarrow is most often taken by tea, tincture, and poultice or by being added to lotions, oils, or salves.
Ailments which indicate treatment with yarrow include: Fever, cold, anxiety, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, toothache, insomnia, nightmares, circulation issues, inflammation, pain, menstrual cramps, urinary disease, kidney disease, rheumatism, bleeding wounds, cuts, and scrapes.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
It is not recommended to take yarrow if you are pregnant or breast-feeding; if you are taking a narcotic; or if you are going into surgery.
Latin Name: Achillea millefolium
Medicinal Actions: Diaphoretic, Astringent, Tonic, Stimulant, Mild aromatic, Anti-Inflammatory
Indications: Fever, cold, anxiety, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, toothache, insomnia, nightmares, circulation issues, inflammation, pain, menstrual cramps, urinary disease, kidney disease, rheumatism, bleeding wounds, cuts, and scrapes.
Contraindications: While pregnant or breast-feeding; concurrently with prescription drugs or psychiatric medications; going into surgery.
Whispering Earth- Yarrow
- Shrimp with Yarrow and Baked Lemon -
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh yarrow leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
24 large shrimp—shelled, deveined and cut almost in half lengthwise down the back
Preheat the oven to 450° and light the grill, if you're using one.
In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil and garlic.
Cut the pointed ends from the lemons so they will sit flat, then halve them crosswise.
Set them flesh side up in a glass or ceramic baking dish and spoon 1 tablespoon of the sugar on each half. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sugar is melted and the pulp is soft. Preheat the broiler, if using.
Sprinkle the chopped yarrow inside the shrimp and pinch closed.
Brush the shrimp with the garlic oil and season with salt and cayenne.
Grill or broil the shrimp 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.
Squeeze some of the lemon juice over the shrimp and garnish with the yarrow sprigs.
Serve at once with the baked lemons.