Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Parts used: Flowers and leaves
Benefits and uses: Yarrow is a beautiful and incredibly useful plant that grows practically everywhere. If hikers and other avid outdoors people knew only one plant, yarrow should be it. When fresh plant material is placed on an open wound, it stops bleeding almost instantly. It can also increase circulation when taken internally or used externally to promote blood flow in bruises or varicose veins.
Yarrow’s healing abilities have been known for an immeasurable amount of time and have even been made famous in Greek myths of Achilles; yarrow, also named Achillea, is the magic potion said to have protected Achilles so well. Also called woundwort and other similarly devised names, yarrow has been used on battlefields to heal soldiers’ wounds as far back as we have sad tales of war. Yarrow is probably growing wild somewhere in your backyard, but during the dormant season, keep enough dried on hand for whatever emergencies may arise. It can be powdered and sprinkled on wounds, not only to stop bleeding but also to dull pain, and as an antiseptic herb to prevent infection.
Yarrow’s abilities are not limited to wounds however. Taken internally, it can open pores for cleansing and to release a fever. Yarrow is frequently used as a tea at the first sign of a cold or flu. The tincture or tea can be used for bladder infections. Yarrow is anti-microbial, astringent, anodyne, and reduces inflammation.