I belong to the family Asteraceae. My genus is Achillia and my species is A. Millefolium.
Millefolium means thousand leaved.
In the Middle Ages, yarrow was part of a herbal mixture known as gruit used in the flavoring of beer prior to the use of hops. In Sweden I am called “field hop” and I have been used in the manufacture of beer. Linnaeus considered beer brewed from me more intoxicating than those brewed with hops. Don can attest to this.
Yarrow stalks were traditionally used for casting the I-Ching.
A number of years ago Don shared beer made from my leaves with his friend Holger (who had crafted the beer) while they casted the I-Ching with my stalks.
One of my common names is Woundwort. Wort means herb. I was carried by warriors and applied to wounds to staunch the bleeding and sterilize the wound.
I have been known to stop bleeding, both internally and externally and I can reduce excessive menstrual flow.
I am helpful for cramping and may help ease menstrual cramps.
I am one of Don’s go to herbs for fever (hot people, hot conditions - Pitta). I prevent the body temperature from rising too high while allowing the fever to run its course.
Since I am good for violent bruises, cuts and bleeding I come in handy when your body may be a bit battered from an accident. Don recommends a warm bath with me to heal your wounds and calm your spirit
Besides being helpful for fever I also am a good anti-viral and useful during colds & flus, especially when accompanied by a fever.
Moderate antibacterial activity has been documented for a tincture of me against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtillus, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Escherichia coli, Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexnii.
As a woman’s medicine I regulate heavy or congested periods. I have been used for uterine fibroids which TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) considers stagnant blood. I am also helpful for varicose veins. For both of those conditions I am used in a sitz bath. Don’s study of the extracellular matrix validates that many herbs are more effective if used externally at the same time that they are being administered internally.
My flowers produce the dark, blue, essential oil, azulene, which is generally used as an anti-inflammatory, or a chest rubs for colds and influenza. This is the same essential oil found in chamomile.
Most herbalists, including Don, prefer the use of my flowers. My fresh or dried flowers easily surrender their healing properties to hot water and my taste, though slightly bitter, is pleasant to some.