Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Yarrow

Today I would like to tell you a little about Yarrow. It is a lovely plant that you can find in many places. We find it in various places in our local woods.
This is what Yarrow looks like:


The latin name of Yarrow is "Achillea millefolium". The second part of the name "millefolium" has "mille" in there, which is thousand and "folium" which is leaves. You can see the little feather-shaped leaves, which looks like there are a thousand of little leaves on each leaf.

Yarrow is native to the temperate regions of the nothern hemisphere. You can find it all over Asia, Europe and North America. The common names of Yarrow include wound-wort and thousand-leaf.
Mind the word "wort" in wound-wort. This word used to be used for any type of useful plant, basically meaning "useful". There are may more plants that have wort in them. They have all proven their use over the centuries.

In the Greek mythology it is written that Achilles rubbed himself with the tincture of Yarrow to make himself resistant to arrows. Unfortunately he did not use it on his heels. Therefore leaving his heels vulnerable, which cost him his life in the end.

The uses of Yarrow:

Poultice
For wounds, rashes, etc., to aid healing, you can use a poultice of Yarrow. You take the fresh herb, grind it, put it on a sterile cotton cloth and put that on the wound. You can keep it warm, by putting a layer of wool over it if you like. 
For wounds Yarrow can be combined with Comfrey in the poultice.
Yarrow stops bleeding.

Tea
You use 3 fresh yarrow leaves and some flowers for better flavour, or use 1 teaspoon of dried yarrow. Add 225 ml boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes. For flavour you can use some additional honey or lemon juice. Drink while warm.
For digestive help, against menstrual cramps and colds you can use Yarrow in a tea. For digestive aid, mind can be added if you like. Some people do not like the flavour of mint. 
Yarrow loosens phlegm.

Tincture
You make the tincture by using a small sterile jar, to which you add fresh Yarrow leaves and flowers. To this you add alcohol, vodka or something similarly strong. Make sure there is little air in the jar. Shake it regularly. Add more vodka as needed. Keep the jar as full as possible so that it doesn't oxidise. Let it steep for 6 weeks in a dark place. After that use a cheese cloth to strain the flowers and leaves out.
You can use 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of the tincture, two to five times a day, for treatment of upper respiratory infection, heavy menstrual bleeding, cramps, or inflammation.
You should start slow, by taking it three times per day and increase or decrease as needed

Skin wash
When you have an oily complexing a wash with Yarrow tea can be beneficial. You use a cup of yarrow flowers and add that to 500 ml boiling water. Let it cool down and use it a tonic for your skin.
This wash can also be used for small scrapes, cuts and irritations.

Oil
You make the oil by using a small sterile jar, to which you add Yarrow leaves and flowers. It's best to pick the Yarrow a day or 2 before you make the oil, so that it can wilt a little. Put it in the jar, press down and add extra virgin olive oil. Add more oil as is needed to make sure the jar remains as full as possible.
Keep this in a very light place, preferably a sunny place, for about 6 weeks.
After that use a cheese cloth to strain the flowers and leaves out.
You now have a lovely massage oil. Keep it in a cool place.

Salve
To make a salve you use the oil and beeswax. You melt the beeswax on the hob and add the oil. For a small jar a teaspoon of beeswax is enough to make the salve. Experiment a little to get the consistency you like.
Pour the warm salve into sterile jars.
The salve can be helpful with skin irritation and small wounds and scratches.

This is just a bit of basics on Yarrow. There is much more to this wonderful plant.