I remember when my grandma would tell me stories about legends: Oddyseus, Hercules and my favorite: Achilles.
Grandma told me that whenever Achilles was injured in wars, he would treat himself with a concoction made from yarrow. Then, I thought yarrow was some kind of magical stuff sent by the Olympian gods. Nah, it`s a herb and if this herb was good enough for Achilles, I think we need to know about it! Don’t you?
So, what is Yarrow?
Yarrow, also known as Achillea millefolium is a perennial herb belonging to the Asteraceae family and a cousin to chamomile and chrysanthemums (popular herbs right?). This amazing herb is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. It has been on the “must use” list for centuries and has been used by various cultures all over the world.
You may have heard about this plant by some other common names, such as; thousand seal, devil’s nettle, common yarrow, milfoil, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, sanguinary, old man’s mustard, soldier’s woundwort, and thousand-leaf.
Basically, our ancestors used this herb to reduce inflammation, especially in the digestive tract. It served as a treatment for skin wounds and bleeding, and was also handy for treating insomnia and anxiety.
Oh well, before I say so much about all the Greek mythologies I know, let me tell you more about this awe-inspiring herb!
It Treats Wounds and Bleeding
Of course, this herb is most known for its ability to heal skin wounds. This is why yarrow has been used for natural wound treatment for ages.
It is also greatly reliable for stopping bleeding. Its powder can be applied into the nostrils to halt bleeding and numb pain. Yarrow is also highly antiseptic and prevents wounds from infections.
Yarrow does not only stop wounds from bleeding, it can also be used as first-aid for burns and ulcers.
Okay, I’m guessing the first thing you are wondering right now is; what is mastitis? Mastitis is a breast infection, prominent among breastfeeding women. Women with this condition are usually advised to alternate between the use of warm and cold water, as this helps relieve the pain. The super great news is that yarrow is great for treating the symptoms of this condition. Yarrow is super effective when it comes to alleviating the symptoms of mastitis due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Yarrow provides instant relief and helps treat sore nipples.
It Acts as a Sedative
Research has found that yarrow possesses anti-anxiety properties, with a similar effect to common prescriptions for anxiety such as diazepam (Valium).
It Decreases Inflammation
Yarrow is a powerhouse of nutrients! It is loaded with flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones that give it its anti-inflammatory and astringent abilities.
Traditionally, this wonder herb has been used to treat inflammation, ranging from tons of health problems, most importantly, inflammation in the intestines and female reproductive tract. Its extracts have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
This probably explains why some anti-inflammatory skin solutions have yarrow in them.
No More Gastrointestinal Disorders
This magical herb is quite useful for treating gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and cramps due to its antispasmodic property.
It Manages Blood Pressure
My oh my, if only Achilles knew all the great stuff this plant could do! Yarrow has also been found to ameliorate hyperactive cardiovascular and airway issues. In basic English, this herb lowers high blood pressure, relaxes blood vessels, and improves breathing (yeah, we are talking asthma folks)
It Detoxes Too
It is needless to say how important and healthy it is to detoxify the body, isn`t it? You know you can never go wrong with detoxification, which is why we are super glad about yarrow’s detox abilities. Yarrow contains some nutrients and acids that increase bile secretion from the gallbladder, thus, improving digestion and keeping gallstones at bay. And did I mention that it also improves your appetite?
Great for Nasal Health
Yarrow is good for decongesting nasal passages and may prevent the formation of mucus caused by sinus infections and cough. It also helps improve allergies caused by mold, dust, and dander.
It Relieves Pain
Yarrow contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve pain associated with arthritis or rheumatism. Go yarrow!
Regulating Menstrual Cycle
Another well-known ability of this magical herb is its effect on menstrual cycles. Yarrow has been found to encourage menstrual flow in women with delayed periods, and curtail blood flow in women with heavy flow.
For that Beautiful Hair
Did you also know that yarrow can be used to achieve beautiful and healthy hair? Adding yarrow into your hair cleansers encourages healthy hair growth.
It Helps you Have Flawless Skin
The extract derived from yarrow is known to be indispensably useful in skin treatment. It improves the appearance of the skin, leaving it smooth and supple. It also eradicates wrinkles and pores.
Oh yes! Good old’ yarrow also features in culinary ventures too. This herb is an excellent substitute for tarragon in recipes. The tender leaves of the plant can also be used in salads, soups and meat recipes.
Why is Yarrow so Amazing?
“Because Achilles used it?”
Yarrow is host to a variety of components and nutritional elements that help dilate the capillaries. Thus, lowering blood pressure. This herb is beneficial to all the systems of the body. And it is especially great for improving cardiovascular problems.
Is Yarrow okay for you?
Yarrow is generally beneficial to the human body. However, you may need to know some “not so awesome” features of this amazing plant.
- Orally ingesting yarrow can cause drowsiness and increase urinary activity.
- It may cause some allergic reactions on the skin. People with allergies to herbs such as daisies and ragweed will most likely suffer allergic reactions with yarrow. It is strongly advised to quit using yarrow in such cases.
- Yarrow contains thujone which when taken in large quantities can create a narcotic effect on the brain. It also contains coumarin, which has a blood-thinning effect. (Best to stay away from blood-thinning medications with yarrow)
- Yarrow may not be suitable for pregnant women. So, if you are pregnant, it is advisable to stay away from yarrow. Nursing mothers are also advised to abstain from the use of yarrow.
- This herb is usually not recommended or associated with pediatric use. Research has been unable to prove if yarrow is safe for usage in children. You may need to consult a doctor before administering yarrow to your children.
So, if you are not in any of these anti-yarrow categories, yarrow is just fantastic for you.
Let`s Take a Recap!
By now, you probably know that yarrow is a herb that’s been used as medicine for centuries. As a powerhouse of antioxidants, it is highly useful in treating a number of maladies. It is also great for healing wounds and treating internal and external inflammations.
The extract for the leaf of this herb can help treat mastitis in breastfeeding mothers.
Tea made from yarrow is excellent for calming anxiety, lowering blood pressure and difficulties associated with breathing. And it makes an excellent addition to your cosmetic and culinary needs.
Is it just me loving yarrow, or it is actually a super herb? I really think it is.