Yarrow Materia Medica
Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Flowering plants can be 1-3 feet tall. Leaves are long, narrow, feather like, bipinnate, and arranged spirally along the stem. Stems slightly hairy. Flowers are usually white, but can be shades of pink or yellow as well. The flowers form in many clusters and come together in an umbel shape at the top of the stem. When rubbing the flowers between your fingers you will unlock yarrow's distinct sweet, earthy, medicinal smell.
Cooling, drying, protection, elements of both fire and water, fierce yet nurturing. A warrior of justice is the best archetype to describe this plant in my opinion.
Styptic, vulnerary, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, diuretic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial.
Yarrow is best picked in the heat of the summer, after the land has experienced a period of hot and dry conditions. You will find the most potent plants growing along dry hillsides with full sun exposure. The flowers and leaves of the plant can be used as infusions in the form of teas, tinctures, vinegars, or oils.
My Personal Experience with Yarrow
The ways I personally use this plant are numerous, as it is by far my absolute favorite, but I will list a few here briefly. When sick with cold/flu, I love the way this plant supports my body in breaking fevers. I will drink it as a tea or steep it in a hot bath to soak in (the latter I've done to support babies with fevers). Yarrow is a fantastic plant to use as a facial/yoni steam as it may purify the tissues of toxins and promote healing. The most common way I use this plant is for support during my menses. I tend to have a stagnant start to my cycle and with yarrow's actions as an emmenagogue, it gently encourages the start of my bleed. Because of its astringent and antispasmodic properties, it also helps my body to ease excessive cramping, and to normalize the flow of bleeding. Yarrow is also my favorite herb to keep on hand in my backcountry and home first aid kits due to its styptic, vulnerary and antimicrobial properties.
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