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Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

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Yarrow tea

Add  1-2  tsp dried or fresh yarrow tops to a cup of boiling water, cover to preserve oils, steep for 10-13 minutes, strain and serve. Add honey or a slice of lemon if desired.

Gypsy Cold Care

Rosemary Gladstar’s tea for boosting immunity and lowering fevers

Ingredients

  • 1 part elderflower
  • 1 part peppermint leaf (children may like spearmint instead)
  • 1 part yarrow flowers and leaf

Directions

  1. Combine herbs and store them in a glass jar when not in use. To make the tea, in a glass quart jar, pour boiling water over 4-6 Tablespoons herbal mix, filling the jar to the top.
  2. Allow to steep covered for 20-30 min. Strain herbs and return them to the earth/compost.
  3. You can refrigerate your excess brew and heat it up to drink water.

Yarrow Compress/Poultice

Ingredients

  • Yarrow flower/leaf
  • A washcloth or clean cloth
  • Bowl or basin
  • Boiling water

Directions

  1. Pour boiling water over the herb, and let it steep for 10 minutes.
  2. When the brew has cooled to body temperature or a bit hotter, dip the cloth into the liquid and apply it topically to the skin to aid healing.

Yarrow Infused Oil

(Note: This is not essential oil. Plant infused oils use the whole plant, less than it takes to make essential oils and safer. Plant infused oils give you the benefits of the plant and are more sustainable and eco-friendly.)

Topical use straight or with beeswax added to make a salve. Apply for bruising, especially with blood pooling underneath.  Skin conditions such as helping to heal inflamed wounds, rashes, burns, stretch marks, and scars. It can be used topically as a rub for varicose veins and applied to hemorrhoids.

Ingredients

  • Yarrow blossoms and leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Jar (be sure you have the right sized jar for the amount of yarrow you will have…)

Directions

  1. Pick the plant you need on a dry, sunny day. Do not pick when wet from rain or dew. Do not wash the plant going into the oil. If there is dirt, brush it off with a stiff dry brush. Basically, keep any moisture from going into the infused oil you are making. Avoid any plant, flowers etc that may be sprayed or need roadsides. If a plant has mildew, is black or otherwise diseased or soiled, discard it from use.
  2. Coarsely chop the plant up. Completely fill a clean, very dry jar with the chopped herb. Make sure the jar is full, packed but not so packed it is crammed.
  3. Slowly pour oil into the jar, poking with a chopstick or knife to release air and make sure the oil penetrates into all layers of the plant/herb. Be sure to add enough oil to thoroughly cover all the plant material and fill the jar to no less than ½ inch of the rim. Some oils may release air or seep, so a tiny bit of space is good. However, do not leave too much space.
  4. Go around the edges of the jar with a chopstick or knife to release all the air bubbles. Some people add a couple of drops of  Vitamin E or a finger pinch of slippery elm powder to keep the oil from going rancid. Extra virgin olive oil is less likely to go rancid anyway and penetrates the skin quickly  (beneficial as a topical for many conditions).
  5. Screw on a lid.  Label the jar with he name of the plant, the plant part used, the kind of oil used, and the date. Example: Yarrow, leaf and flower, olive oil, 24, May 2019.
  6. Keep the jar of infused oil at normal room temperature and on a surface that will not be ruined if the oil seeps out a bit from the lid.
  7. Decant (strain the plant off)  infused oil in six weeks. Sometimes there may be oil held in the plant as you are decanting. You can either squeeze the plant to wring out the oil or press it in a strainer to release more oil. Put the plant material back to the earth out of respect.
  8. Plant infused oils will typically last a year, sometimes longer, until the next season.

Avoiding Oil Problems

  • Make sure your jar is totally dry, to begin with. The presence of any moisture on the herb or in the jar encourages mold growth.  If the jar is not filled mostly to the top, mold will grow in the air space left.
  • Do not put infused oils in the sun and do not refrigerate them, as either can cause condensation inside the jar, providing the moisture necessary for colonies of mold.

Yarrow Tincture

Herbs prepared in vodka, brandy, or other liquors, or vinegar, are called tinctures or alcohol extracts. Dosage: Tincture dosage is widely variable. Experiment with caution and consult references.

  • Choose the peak yarrow flowers/leaf top 1/3 of the plant usually.
  • Look through the plant material and discard any damaged parts.
  • Do not wash any part of the plant.
  • Fill a jar with yarrow , snugly but not crammed, nearly to the top with the plant material. Allow ½ inch space.
  • Then fill the jar to the top with 90-100 proof vodka ( vinegar, or the spirit of your choice). Make sure the plant is covered with liquid–no floating parts above the liquid.
  • Cap the jar tightly.
  • Label the jar with the name of the plant, the part of the plant used, the type of the spirit used, and the date. Example: Yarrow aerial flower/leaf, 90 proof vodka, June 5, 2019.
  • Top up the liquid level the next day.if the plant is not covered.
  • Allow plants and alcohol to mingle together for six weeks or more.
  • Decant the tincture (strain the alcohol off and return the plant to earth) and it is ready to use.

Also, Yarrow tincture diluted with a bit of water is a great cleaning spray for hands and for wiping down common areas and sickrooms.

Yarrow Natural Bug-Off

First, make your yarrow tincture as above. If you desire to, you can make a combination tincture by adding catnip After  6 weeks. Pour desired amount into a spray bottle.

If you have sensitive skin, it would be best to test this bug spray on a small area.

Yarrow Flower Essence

Ingredients

  • Untreated water/spring water, etc. Not tap.
  • Fresh yarrow flowers–(not after a rain or heavy dew) sunny and dry. If you forage, make sure the area is unsprayed, not too near a roadside,etc..
  • Glass bowl small to medium
  • Pinch vodka or brandy to preserve
  • Glass dropper bottle or spray bottle.

Directions

  1. Sit quietly in your garden or field and connect with the plant. Be sure and ask yarrow whether you may pick her blossoms for use as an essence, oil, or whatever you desire to make. Be sure and let yarrow know your intentions. Is this a healing remedy for you? Others?  How much will you need to take? Be mindful and respectful of the plant.  Offer the yarrow plants something in honor and thanks, like some water, a song, sage, tobacco, or cornmeal, healing stones, a strand of your hair,etc.. After you have established a relationship,  fill your glass bowl with water, pick the yarrow blossoms just below the stem, and let them float on the water. Cover the surface of the water with flowers. Place the bowl in sunlight for several hours (or when flowers begin to fade). Remove the yarrow flowers by hand, trying not to touch the water.
  2. Fill your glass bottles halfway with the spring water and an equal amount of vodka or brandy to preserve. This liquid is termed the “mother essence.” Dosage bottles are prepared by adding two drops of mother essence into a 1 oz. dropper bottle of water with several drops of brandy to preserve. With each dilution, lightly shaking the bottle releases the energy of the yarrow essence. This essence is used to
  3. Yarrow essence strengthens boundaries, both physical and emotional.. Especially good for those who are quite sensitive and absorb the stress around them. This remedy can help support teachers, health practitioners/healers, counselors, caregivers, and others who work in emotionally/energetically intimate situations.

Yarrow Herb Mouthwash

Yarrow promotes healing of mouth sores due to braces, surgery and overzealous teeth cleaning. Yarrow is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, circulatory stimulant and styptic. Sage leaves improve bleeding and receding gums, gingivitis and mouth sores.  Peppermint leaf is breath freshening and relieves gum inflammation

Yarrow flowers, garden sage, plantain leaf, Echinacea root (you may use thyme, peppermint  or rosemary leaf as a part also in place of or in addition to sage)

2 Tbsp Yarrow flowers, 2 Tbsp Plantain leaf, 1 Tbsp sage, 1/2 Tbsp Echinacea root  Brew as a strong tea, place herbs in a pint glass jar and add ounces of brandy or vodka to preserve.

You can also mix tinctures/alcohol extracts

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 40 drops  yarrow tincture
  • 10-15 drops echinacea tincture
  • 40 drops  plantain leaf
  • 10-15  drops sage (rosemary or thyme) tincture

Caution: Herbalists generally caution against the use of yarrow during pregnancy (although some suggest small doses may sometimes be appropriate)–but only under the guidance of an experienced herbalist or practitioner (Wood, 2009). Individuals sensitive to  Asteraceae family plants may experience an allergic reaction to yarrow.


Resources

Berger, J. (1998). Herbal Rituals. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

De la Foret, Rosalee. “Yarrow Plant.” Herbalremediesadvice.org, 2016.

Gladstar, Rosemary. (2012). Herbal Medicine: A Beginner’s Guide. North Adams, MA: Story Publishing

Wood, M. (2009). The earthwise herbal: A complete guide to new world medicinal plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Updated on Oct 10, 2019  |  Originally Published on Jan 1, 1970

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