The Benefits of Yarrow
Yarrow, aka Achillea millefolium, is one of many natural herbs with a multitude of uses which makes it an essential for every home. This common “weed” is a member of the sunflower family and grows wild all over temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
This herb has a lot of segmented leaves with a large amount of little white or pale purple flowers at the top of the stalk. It has been used for hundreds of years by many cultures including the Greeks, several North American aboriginal tribes such as the Cherokee, Gosiute, Iroquois, and Mohegan tribes. It is still used today by many herbalists and can be found in several areas across Southern Ontario.
So, what is yarrow used for? So many things! Yarrow is a diaphoretic, hypotensive, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, antimicrobial, bitter and hepatic herb, which can be used to treat:
- Reduce the duration of colds and flu
- Topically for itching and rashes
- Chronic urinary diseases
- Incontinence of urine
- Appetite stimulant
- Digestive issues
- Intestinal hemorrhage
- Profuse or protracted menstruation
- Slow healing wounds
The 4 most common uses, however, are to treat fevers, colds and flu, wounds and urinary diseases.
Yarrow is a very effective and safe treatment for fevers. One of the biggest benefits is that it’s safe for young children. It works by improving circulation and relaxing the skin pores, which allows the body to sweat easily. Sweating out a fever allows the body to purge itself of the illness naturally.
Colds and Flu
Due to the fact that yarrow has astringent properties, it’s a great herb to help relieve the symptoms and duration of colds and flu. It works by moving the excess mucus out of the lungs and reducing the swelling in the nose and throat.
It’s important to note that when treating a baby or toddler for a fever, cold or flu, you cannot give them yarrow internally. It must be used externally. A yarrow bath is a very effective method of delivery. Make a strong yarrow tea, allowing it to steep for an hour. Fill the baby bath and add cool water until it’s a safe temperature. If the person is bedridden, soaking towels in the yarrow tea and then laying them over them is also effective.
Yarrow’s primary use has been to treat wounds. It was used on the battlefields during wars because of its powerful ability to stop bleeding. Yarrow is an anti-inflammatory, it helps relieve pain and has antimicrobial properties that will keep the wound clean. It’s fantastic to use on cuts, skinned knees, stop bleeding, mosquito bites and other minor wounds. Making a salve or balm from yarrow and keeping it in your first aid kit is a good idea.
Another medicinal use for yarrow is to treat chronic urinary diseases. Yarrow is a light diuretic and has antimicrobial properties, so it helps clear your urinary tract of infections, reduces inflammation and flushes it out. It’s very effective to use for various urinary issues including cystitis (for best results, use the fresh herb).
This common flower is fantastic for many different issues and it is easy to use. Whether you want to treat a fever, or you accidentally cut yourself while cooking and need to stop the bleeding, this herb will be there for you.
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