Yarrow ( Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow likes compact, disturbed soil and thrives in many areas and can be a common complaint in many gardens as it spreads fairly quickly, but it has many usages and can be a great herb for its healing properties and wild ways. It has a long history known for its many medicinal and wild food uses, used for centuries as a healer of wounds, especially in battle. It has pain relieving properties and acts as an antibacterial warding off infection and aids in blood clotting. When seriously injured with a deep open wound, yarrow is used to stop bleeding and to promote healing. Drunk as a tea, yarrow can heal internal bleeding and is helpful in balancing the menses. Yarrow is a beautiful dried cut flower and can hung around the home in the summer to ward off pesky insects or crushed and sprinkled on the ground where people or our pets tend to congregate, mosquitoes, black flies and tics tend to avoid the scent of yarrow. Yarrow can also be thrown into a warm bath, infused into an oil, used as poultice or salve, tea and tinctures. As a tea, yarrow can reduce a fever, acts as an expectorant, helping to rid our bodies of phlegm and congestion and gargled to ease sore gums and throat and to treat an infected tooth. A chewed yarrow leaf packed around the tooth will draw out infection and ease the pain, handy to know when a dentist is far away! When yarrow is infused in oil, it can be used to heal inflamed red skin, calming abrasions and rashes. The best time to harvest yarrow is between June and October when in bloom and to dry flowers upside down in a dry, cool area away from direct sunlight. When picking yarrow flowers, it is best to only harvest the white flowers as the multi-coloured yarrow is a hybrid and may have different medicinal properties. Happy harvesting!