Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a common wildflower with medical properties and a rich folklore, which should be welcome in any garden. It belongs to the large sunflower family, Asteraceae, and is quite closely related to chamomiles. The most striking feature of Yarrow is the feathery fern- like leaves with finely cut segments which are quite characteristic. The name millefolium indicates the many segments of its foliage. It is sometimes called Milfoil and Thousand Weed. 

Wild Yarrow Leaves, Credit Stillblog

From June to September, the flowers appear which range from white through yellow to pale lilac. They look like tiny daisies, in flattened cymes (loose terminal heads). The whole plant is covered with varying degrees of closely pressed white silk- like hairs. The stem is angular and rough.

Yarrow has a reputation as a wound healer (vulnerary). This is borne out by its generic name; Achillea. When the warrior Achilles was injured in his weakened ankle, Yarrow was used to treat his wounds. The ancients referred to Yarrow as Herba Militaris, the military herb. The classic herbalist John Gerard tells us it is the same plant with which Achilles stanched the bleeding wounds of his soldiers. Yarrow makes an excellent wound healing ointment, with beeswax and olive oil. Essential oil of Yarrow is a beautiful pure blue colour on account of the component Chamazulene. It is particularly beneficial for allergies, skincare, stress-related conditions and insomnia.

Chamazulene: Chemical Structure (left); Essential Oil (Right)

Photograph credit: Kristof Hegedus

 

Used internally Yarrow acts as a soothing relaxant to counteract cramps and spasms. Yarrow can bring on delayed menstruation, soothe painful periods and menstrual cramps and reduce excessive bleeding. Its bitter principles also support the digestive system admirably. Yarrow is even an effective anti-inflammatory and diuretic in cases of urinary infections, such as cystitis. A combination of Elderflower, Peppermint and Yarrow tinctures can be taken in equal parts to induce a sweat during the onset of colds & flu. Some individuals however are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family and may develop allergic reactions, so please only use under the guidance of a naturopath or medical herbalist. It also interacts with certain drugs.

 

Depending on the outlook of the gardener, Yarrow can be seen as an invasive weed of grass lawns, or as a welcome perennial of the flower border, rock garden, or wildflower meadow. When encouraged, yarrow plants grow 2- 4 ft tall, but low-growing varieties are also available. The main advantages of Yarrow as a garden plant are; (i) low maintenance, (ii) reproduces readily from seeds or by division, (iii) good for cut flowers and floristry, (iv) many varieties of form and colour are available (v) attracts butterflies & other insects, and (vi) Yarrow is highly durable and tolerates dry spells, low soil fertility and a variety of soil types. Although Yarrow thrives in hot, dry conditions and low soil fertility, it does not tolerate wet soils very well so this should be kept in mind during site selection. If you are interested in horticulture of wildflowers, ADL has many suitable courses to help.

 

Achillea millefolium: Summer Pastels from Thompson & Morgan

 

References

 

Griffith-Jones, Joy. Schimacher, E.F. A Virtuous Weed. Blond & Briggs Publishers,1978

 

Grieve, Mrs M. A Modern Herbal. Dorset Press, 1992.

 

Mills, Simon Y. The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine. Arkana Publlishers, 1994.

 

Lavelle, Christine and Michael. The illustrated Practical Guide to Wildlife Gardening.

Anness Publishing, 2007

Blog article written by Andy Patterson

 

LEAVE A REPLY

BLOG CATEGORIES

MOST POPULAR

September Newsletter 4 2022: With Cat-like Tread!

Cat Psychology and Training 100 Hours With our Cat Psychology Online Course, you’ll learn to understand cat psychology and apply that knowledge to manage and influence the behaviour of cats. Learn to understand how cats think and the relevance of cat psychology to people. How cats communicate; and formulate an understanding of possible ways that

Read More »

September Newsletter 3: Don’t be a counselling fraud, be a Freud!

Counselling and Psychology 600-Hour Online Higher Advanced Diploma Counsellors and psychotherapists are in high demand; learn the skills and training required through distance learning with ADL’s Counselling and Psychology Online Course. The industry is currently worth in excess of £60 billion in the UK alone, so if you believe you have the attributes to become part

Read More »

September Newsletter 2 2022: Don’t go selling coals to Newcastle!

Sales Management 100-Hour Online Certificate Course For any company or organisation to succeed financially, it must have a desirable product. This product must be of need to a large proportion of the general public. Advertising, using all available media outlets, should get the message across. But the most important link after the manufacturing and advertising

Read More »

Diploma vs Certificate?

The Benefits of Transitioning from a Certificate to a Diploma? Autumn is now fast approaching.  It’s a great time of the year to start making plans for your future and to evaluate what direction you might want your career to go. Those long winter nights provide the right atmosphere for study, to expand your knowledge,

Read More »

SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top

REQUEST A CALLBACK

To speak to one of our course advisors, please enter your name and phone number below and click the "Please Call Me" button. We will call you back as soon as possible!

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.

CONTACT US

required fields are marked with *

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.