Botanical Name: Achillea millefolium
Species: A. millefolium
*Achillea albida Willd.
*Achillea alpicola (Rydb.) Rydb.
*Achillea ambigua Boiss.
*Achillea ambigua Pollini
*Achillea anethifolia Fisch. ex Herder
Common Names: Yarrow, Boreal yarrow, California yarrow, Giant yarrow, Coast yarrow, Western yarrow, Pacific yarrow . Also known as Bloodwort, Carpenter’s weed, Common yarrow, Hierba de las cortaduras, Milfoil, Plumajillo.
Habitat : Achillea millefolium is native to Europe, including Britain, north to 71°, and east to western Asia. It grows on meadows, pastures, lawns etc. on all but the poorest soils.
Achillea millefolium is an erect, herbaceous, perennial plant that produces one to several stems 0.2–1 m (0.66–3.28 ft) in height, and has a spreading rhizomatous growth form. Leaves are evenly distributed along the stem, with the leaves near the middle and bottom of the stem being the largest. The leaves have varying degrees of hairiness (pubescence). The leaves are 5–20 cm (2.0–7.9 in) long, bipinnate or tripinnate, almost feathery, and arranged spirally on the stems. The leaves are cauline, and more or less clasping.
The inflorescence has 4 to 9 phyllaries and contains ray and disk flowers which are white to pink. The generally 3 to 8 ray flowers are ovate to round. Disk flowers range from 15 to 40. The inflorescence is produced in a flat-topped capitulum cluster and the inflorescences are visited by many insects, featuring a generalized pollination system. The small achene-like fruits are called cypsela.
Bloom Color: Pink, White. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer.
The plant has a strong, sweet scent, similar to that of chrysanthemums.
Landscape Uses:Container, Ground cover, Massing, Seashore, Woodland garden. Succeeds in most soils and situations but prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position. Shade tolerant. Plants live longer when grown in a poor soil and also do well on lime. Established plants are very drought tolerant, they can show distress in very severe droughts but usually recover. It remains green after grass has turned brown in a drought. Plants succeed in maritime gardens. The plant has a very spreading root system and is usually quite invasive. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. Yarrow is an excellent plant for growing in lawns, meadows, orchards etc., it is tolerant of repeated close cutting and of being walked on. It works to improve the soil fertility. A very good companion plant, it improves the health of plants growing nearby and enhances their essential oil content thus making them more resistant to insect predations. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. ‘Pink’ (syn. ‘Rosea’) has very aromatic foliage and deep pink flowers. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. A good bee plant, it is an important nectar source for many insects. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Invasive, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.
Seed – sow spring or early autumn in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the divisions can be planted direct into their permanent positions. Divisions succeed at any time of the year. Basal cuttings of new shoots in spring. Very easy, collect the shoots when they are about 10cm tall, potting them up individually in pots and keeping them in a warm but lightly shaded position. They should root within 3 weeks and will be ready to plant out in the summer.
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.
Leaves – raw or cooked. A rather bitter flavour, they make an acceptable addition to mixed salads and are best used when young. The leaves are also used as a hop-substitute for flavouring and as a preservative for beer etc. Although in general yarrow is a very nutritious and beneficial plant to add to the diet, some caution should be exercised. See the notes above on possible toxicity. An aromatic tea is made from the flowers and leaves. An essential oil from the flowering heads is used as a flavouring for soft drinks
Yarrow has a high reputation and is widely employed in herbal medicine, administered both internally and externally. It is used in the treatment of a very wide range of disorders but is particularly valuable for treating wounds, stopping the flow of blood, treating colds, fevers, kidney diseases, menstrual pain etc. The whole plant is used, both fresh and dried, and is best harvested when in flower. Some caution should be exercised in the use of this herb since large or frequent doses taken over a long period may be potentially harmful, causing allergic rashes and making the skin more sensitive to sunlight. The herb combines well with Sambucus nigra flowers (Elder) and Mentha x piperita vulgaris (Peppermint) for treating colds and influenza. The herb is antiseptic, antispasmodic, mildly aromatic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, odontalgic, stimulant, bitter tonic, vasodilator and vulnerary. It also contains the anti-inflammatory agent azulene, though the content of this varies even between plants in the same habitat. The herb is harvested in the summer when in flower and can be dried for later use. The fresh leaf can be applied direct to an aching tooth in order to relieve the pain.
Due to the flavonoids they contain, yarrow flowers encourage circulation, lower blood pressure and help stop bleeding anywhere in the body. A couple of cups of hot yarrow, peppermint and elder flower tea is an old remedy for reducing fevers and treating colds, measles, and eruptive diseases. It also helps relieve urinary tract infections and stones. The tea benefits the kidneys. Cramps and rheumatism are treated with the tea, as are intestinal gas, diarrhea, anorexia and hyperacidity. In China, yarrow is used in poultices and to ease stomach ulcers. It is said to stop excessive blood flower especially well in the pelvic region, so is used to decrease excessive menstruation, postpartum bleeding, and hemorrhoids. Chewing the fresh leaves relieves toothache. Yarrow contains a chemical also present in chamomile and chamazulene, that helps relax the smooth muscle tissue of the digestive tract, making it an antispasmodic.
Compost; Cosmetic; Dye; Essential; Hair; Liquid feed; Repellent.
The growing plant repels beetles, ants and flies. The plant has been burnt in order to ward off mosquitoes. A liquid plant feed can be made from the leaves. You fill a container with the leaves and then add some water. Leave it to soak for a week or two and then dilute the rather smelly dark liquid, perhaps 10 – 1 with water though this figure is not crucial. This plant is an essential ingredient of ‘Quick Return’ herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. The fragrant seeds have been used to impart a pleasant smell indoors. An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used medicinally. The leaves contain from 0.6 to 0.85% essential oil. The leaves have been used as a cosmetic cleanser for greasy skin. Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the flowers. A good ground cover plant, spreading quickly by its roots.
Known Hazards: Extended use of this plant, either medicinally or in the diet, can cause allergic skin rashes or lead to photosensitivity in some people. Theoretically yarrow can enhance the sedative effects of other herbs (e.g. valerian, kava, German chamomile, hops) & sedative drugs. Possible sedative & diuretic effects from ingesting large amounts.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.