Using yarrow in various forms can have countless health benefits, but it is important to understand how to use it before you can enjoy its effects.
What is Yarrow?
Yarrow is a perennial herb scientifically known as Achillea millefolium, and nearly every part of the plant is useful from a medicinal standpoint. Native to many areas in the Northern hemisphere, the use of this herb dates back thousands of years – even to ancient Greek legends. There are many common names for this herb, including old man’s pepper, the nosebleed plant, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, and Thousand-seal, among others. Both the leaves and flowers of the yarrow plant are edible, as are the stalks, which can be crushed into a topical salve.
Yarrow leaves have a peculiar smell that is slightly spicy or peppery, particularly when they are crushed to release their aromatic compounds. Native Americans and ancient Britons used this herb extensively, and it is also present in Chinese traditional medicine, largely as an astringent substance. However, it remains one of the most versatile and recommended herbs in natural healing around the world.
Nutrition Facts of Yarrow
The nutritional profile of yarrow includes a variety of flavonoids, rutin, and tannins, as well as coumarins, saponin, cineole, lactones, eugenol, terpineol, and other antioxidants. Furthermore, this herb can provide iron, phosphorous, and sulfur from its leaves.
Health Benefits of Yarrow
The many health benefits of yarrow include the following:
- Faster healing of wounds
- Blood clotting
- Maintaining periods
- Reducing inflammation
- Lowering high blood pressure
- Regulating asthmatic symptoms
- Reducing anxiety
Let us discuss them in detail below.
Famed for its ability to heal all of Achilles’ wounds in Greek myth, this herb is known to speed the healing process of topical wounds.
When used in moderation, this herb is able to stimulate blood-clotting, making it quite valuable for acute injuries; however, in excess, this herb can act as a blood-thinner in the body, so caution should be taken.
This herb has long been used to reduce inflammation in various parts of the body, including symptoms of arthritis, gout, and irritable bowel syndrome. Both topical and oral use can help to relieve these issues.
Uses of Yarrow
There are many impressive uses of yarrow, including in cooking, as an herbal substitute, in vinegar oils and for cosmetic use, among others.
- Soups – The peppery smell of this herb makes it a very popular flavor addition to soups, stews, and curries.
- Cooking Herbs – It can generally be compared to rosemary and oregano and is often added to dishes with those spices.
- Sautéing Food – When you sauté food, it can take on many of the flavors from the herbs around it, so people often use this as a sautéing complement.
- Infused Vinegar – If you want to make slightly peppery vinegar, you can infuse the oils with this herb by letting it steep for a few weeks in the vinegar.
- Salads – While not a common “salad green”, yarrow herb can be added to salads for a spicy bite.
- Cosmetics – When the stalks of yarrow are crushed, the oils that are released can be added to various cosmetics to enhance their astringent effects on the skin.
- Tea – Yarrow can be steeped in hot water to release its wealth of antioxidants and active ingredients for a peppery brew.
Side Effects of Yarrow
While there are many positive benefits of yarrow, there are a number of side effects to consider, including the following:
- Bleeding disorders
- Blood pressure problems
- Topical inflammation
- Increased urination
Since yarrow can slow blood clotting in some cases, so for those with bleeding disorders, it can be dangerous, as well as those undergoing surgery. Negative interactions with drugs that induce drowsiness, treat high blood pressure, reduce stomach acid or thin the blood may also occur, so speak with your doctor before adding this herbal remedy to your health regimen.